Local couple charged with animal neglect

Local News

A Bettendorf couple is facing charges after a dog died from neglect and abuse.

Dennis Stewart is charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals. Police arrested him Thursday and he bonded out of jail.

His wife, Vanessa Bruyntjens, is charged with animal neglect.

Bettendorf police say she turned herself in Friday but was not booked in jail.

Local 4 News first brought you the story of Emmanuel in December.

Stewart brought him to Kings Harvest Pet Rescue after claiming to find him under a tree. The dog was immediately taken to a vet to be treated, but he died.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Rochelle Dougall, assistant director at Kings Harvest Pet Rescue. “Reports show that he was kept in a garage and never let outside so he was probably living in his own filth and didn’t receive proper food and nutrition for 6 months to a year to be in this condition.”

What seemed like a man trying to do a good deed by bringing a dog to the shelter he claimed was found by a tree was not the case.

“I was in contact with that gentleman the whole day, telling him and updating him on news and thanking him for bringing the dog to us, so it was a complete shock to the system to find out that it was his dog and he had known about this for a while,” she said.

In this instance, she said she’s glad there are repercussions for people’s actions.

“It’s been a really satisying conclusion to know that there were charges made and an arrest made. And I know that it hasn’t gone to trial in any way, no one settled, we don’t have an outcome yet, but this was, this made a really big impact on not just our shelter, but our community.”

An incident like this isn’t the only one.

“Way way too often and the worst part about these cases is that there’s always something to be done before it gets to that point,” Dougall said.

That’s why Dougall wants people to know Kings Harvest Pet Rescue will help in any way they can.

“There are resources available and you have help and it’s just laziness that you’re not seeking it, so don’t be complaisant in that you know seek help and do the right thing by the animal because they cannot speak up for themselves. We have to do, so you have to do the right thing.”

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