WARNING: Some may find content in the video above disturbing.
WAUKEE, Iowa — Neighbors are demanding police confiscate a Waukee man’s dog after they captured and shared videos allegedly showing him mistreating his pet.
In the videos, a man can be seen pulling and throwing an object at a dog. The man in the videos is Waukee resident Zac Brooks. He said the reality is not what people are alleging. “I don’t abuse my dog at all. I do not hit my dog at all,” Brooks said. He claims he lost his temper after his dog destroyed some expensive blinds.
“My dog is with me all the time. It was a caught up in the heat of the moment type of deal. Whatever she chewed on was something very expensive, I was very upset. I took it out of context and that was it,” said Brooks.
Since the video was posted online by a neighbor, Brooks said both he and his family have been threatened.
“I am receiving death threats … My family is receiving threats and my business is being attacked. It is becoming way more than what it should. I’m not saying that people don’t have the right to be upset. To the extent of what it’s come to, I don’t feel like it’s necessary,” said Brooks.
The Waukee Police Department said Brooks was charged with animal neglect, which is a simple misdemeanor charge, because his dog’s kennel did not have food, water or bedding when officers were called to check on the animal.
“We’re doing our best to follow the law to our ability to do what we can do. It’s not that we don’t care, but we can’t override the law either,” the Sgt. Mackenzie Sposeto with Waukee Police Department said.
However, a Waukee City Council member wants the law to change.
“Iowa is still one of the worst in animal cruelty laws in the country, and us as a country we’re still not that great. Iowa has a chance to be a leader to protect domestic companion animals, and I think that Iowa needs to do that,” said Anna Bergman, a member of the Waukee City Council.
The Animal Rescue League of Iowa believes the dog should be taken away from Brooks.
“Based on the fact that law enforcement brought neglect charges, they would have more than enough to bring removal proceedings as well,” said Colin Grace, director of legal and strategic initiatives at the ARL. “The civil disposition process, the removal proceedings, have a lower standard of proof relative to the criminal proceedings. So if they think they have enough for the animal neglect charge, we would request that they they bring removal proceedings as well. But absent that, we would ask the owner to voluntarily relinquish the animal.”
Brooks said he is cooperating with police, but he is not willing to give up his dog. “I never physically hurt my dog. So for me to give my dog up, no,” said Brooks.
WHO 13 reached out to Dallas County Attorney Chuck Sinnard for comment. He sent the following statement.
“I can confirm for you that I filed a petition for disposition of a threatened animal with the court this morning … Asking the court to set a hearing to make a determination that the dog belonging to Zachary Brooks is a threatened animal and upon making such a determination, to order disposition deemed appropriate for the welfare of the animal.”Dallas County Attorney Chuck Sinnard