Sheena Ann Cornwell, 28, was arrested on Saturday, April 6, for using a collar and leash to hang a 15-year-old rescued Pit Bull in the garage of the Ohio home she shared with Joshua VanDyke, because the dog was “sick and old,” according to FoxNews.
Joshua VanDyke said he arrived home Saturday from his job as a restaurant manager to find his girlfriend very upset over the fact that one of the couple’s rescued dogs, Lillie, was barking inside the garage.
A few minutes later, police say, Cornwell went into the garage where Lillie was and used the Pit Bull-mix dog’s collar and leash to hang and kill her.
“(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,” according to the Des Moines Register
He said Cornwell rescued Lillie four years ago. “She was a self-proclaimed animal lover. It was all she talked about, how much she loved animals,” he said.
Sheena Ann Cornwell reportedly works as a home health care aide.
VanDyke told police the couple had been in a live-in relationship for over four years and had multiple animals in the house, including ferrets, reptiles, turtles, fish and three dogs: Oliver, Mr. Tinker Train, and Lillie.
He said Lillie was a 15-year old Pit Bull mix who had medical issues because of her age and Sheena sometimes put Lillie in the garage “so she didn’t have to listen to her bark.”
“Lillie had lost some weight, but she was still playful,” he told the Des Moines Register. “I came home on Friday, and Sheena was playing in the backyard with all three dogs, throwing a ball for them.”
However, VanDyke said that Cornwell would sometimes tell him Lillie was ruining her life.
“I told her she could call the Animal Rescue League and they would take the dog for free, but she didn’t listen,” he told the Des Moines Register.
Van Dyke said that when he came home and heard Lillie barking, Cornwell came into the house, “She wouldn’t talk to me,” he said.
According to a police report, Cornwell then returned to the garage. She reportedly emerged approximately 10 minutes later and allegedly told VanDyke, “She’s dead, I killed her.”
VanDyke said, he rushed into the garage and saw the Pit Bull hanging by her collar and leash from a rafter and he called 911.
Cornwell reportedly told officers Lillie had been annoying her and the other dogs, and Lillie reportedly tried to bite her as Cornwell was hanging her.
Des Moines Police Officer Greg Catron said “She did not appear to be remorseful. She said she saw nothing wrong with her actions. She didn’t think there was anything wrong with the way she put this dog to death.”
Sheena Cornwell was released from the Polk County Jail two hours after she was booked on Saturday.
VanDyke said he allowed her into the house with a police escort late Saturday night so she could gather some of her belongings, according to FoxNews.com.
Cornwell's boyfriend told police he wanted to get a restraining order against her and told the paper that they are no longer together, Fox News reported.
Sgt. Jason Halifax with the Des Moines Police Dept said Cornwell is charged with one count of animal torture. If she is found guilty, a judge may rule that she is forbidden from owning animals.
Lillie’s body will be sent to Iowa State University for a necropsy, and police expect they will find she died by asphyxiation, Halifax said.