Joshua VanDyke and his girlfriend Sheena Ann Cornwell shared their home with three dogs — Oliver, Mr. Tinker Train, and Lillie, a Pit Bull mix — along with ferrets, reptiles, turtles, and fish, according to DesMoinesRegister.com.
Today, one of those dogs, Lillie, is dead. Authorities believe that Cornwell killed her by stringing her leash and collar up to a rafter in the garage and hanging her.
It started Saturday evening, when VanDyke returned from work to find his girlfriend agitated by Lillie’s barking. Cornwell had put the dog in the garage. He said that Cornwell was often irritated by the dog, reporting that Lillie was ruining her life.
“(Sheena) had complained about the dog before, but she never abused her,” VanDyke said. “She wanted to get rid of her, but she never said anything about doing something violent to her.”
“Cornwell put Lillie in the garage sometimes so she didn’t have to listen to her bark,” he continued. “I told her she could call the Animal Rescue League and they would take the dog for free, but she didn’t listen.”
According to a Des Moines police report, Cornwell then went back into the garage to deal with the dog. She returned 10 minutes later and told VanDyke, “She’s dead, I killed her.”
“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it,” said VanDyke. “I’ve never seen or experienced anything like that.”
VanDyke called police, and they took Cornwell into custody. Police believe she had been drinking.
“She did not appear to be remorseful. She said she saw nothing wrong with her actions,” officer Greg Catron said. “She didn’t think there was anything wrong with the way she put this dog to death.
“This is the first time I’ve seen a dog strung up like that. The dog deserved better than that.”
Sgt. Jason Halifax, a Des Moines Police Department spokesman, told ABCNews.com that she could face as long as two years in prison and a maximum fine of $6,250 if convicted. He said that Cornwell admitted to hanging the dog and “didn’t know what the big deal was.”
Police say Cornwell told them that she hanged the dog because the 15-year-old Pit Bull “was old and was going to die soon anyway.”
“She’s a nasty person,” Halifax said.