Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Sandpoint woman cited on animal cruelty charge

Staff Writer | September 29, 2023 1:00 AM

A 20-year-old Sandpoint woman was cited on a charge of animal cruelty and had her dog taken away from her after officers received a video of her aggressively beating her animal as well as admitting that she does this repeatedly.

On Sept. 20, Sandpoint Police officers spoke to a man who shared a video with them of a woman yelling at her dog. The video allegedly shows the woman going offscreen while yelling the dog’s name, then multiple loud thumps can be heard. The woman — later identified as Lilly Brunner — leads the dog onscreen before beginning to aggressively hit the dog with an object that was later discovered to be a garden spade. Officers counted Brunner hitting the dog 17 times in a row on camera.

“Each time she hits the dog, [Brunner’s] arm comes behind her head as far as she can and uses her full strength to hit the dog,” an officer wrote in the probable cause affidavit.

In the video, Brunner allegedly claims she’s done hitting the dog with the spade, but then continues hitting it.

“On the last hit, the dog yelps in agony,” an officer wrote in court documents.

After she stopped hitting the dog, court records contend that Brunner then picked up a running garden hose and began spraying the dog in the face, suffocating it.

“The dog makes a noise as if it is gasping for air,” court records read.

Officers counted Brunner hitting the dog 26 times on camera before the video ends. When officers went to speak to the owners of the house, they told law enforcement that Brunner rents the basement from them and this is not the first time they have witnessed her abusing her dog. Court records contend the homeowners stated the dog is locked in a kennel all day and barks constantly.

After getting home Sept. 20, one of the homeowners heard Brunner screaming and went to see what was wrong. They noticed dog poop in the dog’s kennel outside and Brunner yelling at the dog.

“[Brunner] then grabbed the dog’s head and [the homeowner said] she smashed [the dog’s] head into the concrete,” court records said.

The homeowner allegedly reiterated to officers that Brunner was not rubbing the dog’s nose in the poop, “but rather ‘hammering’ the dog’s head into the concrete.” Court records contend that homeowners told officers Brunner then allegedly threw the dog on the ground, held it down with her knee, and began hitting it.

When officers spoke with Brunner, she allegedly denied ever holding the dog down with her knee and claimed she was yelling at the dog because it got into the poop she was trying to clean up. She allegedly told officers she only spanked the dog three times with the spade as a punishment for pooping.

Officers noted the dog was very skittish and seemed scared of Brunner while they spoke with her. When asked about the dog’s injuries, Brunner allegedly told police they were from the kennel, but after some investigation, officers wrote in court documents that they did not believe that to be the case. Brunner was shown the video officers were sent after she alleged she only spanked the dog three times.

“[Brunner] stated this happens when the dog soils its kennel,” an officer wrote in the probable cause affidavit.

Brunner denied the officers’ request to let them take her dog to the animal shelter and find it a loving home. However, due to Idaho Code, officers were able to remove the dog from the home anyway. The dog is now at the Better Together Animal Alliance.

Brunner was cited with one charge of animal cruelty and released.

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