Iowa man accused of strangling small dog - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa man accused of strangling small dog

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Dustin Rickels Dustin Rickels

UPDATE: A dog is alive and back with it's owner after it was allegedly strangled over the weekend. 

The dog was taken to the Monticello Vet Clinic after it was found in bad shape by officers. 

A doctor at the clinic confirms for KWWL the dog is alive and doing well. 


31-year-old Dustin Rickels is being charged with animal abuse after officers say he admitted to strangling a dog until it was limp. 

According to the criminal complaint out of Jones County, the sheriff's office received a call around 9:30 Saturday night about a post on Facebook that said Rickels strangled a dog belonging to Krystal Keppel. 

A post circulating Facebook by Keppel reads in part, "I don't really know how I'm going to explain my son's dog is dead because my boyfriend killed it."

It goes on to say, "I said go get the gun... which you couldn't have done anyway because you are a felon and cant have guns in the house!!"

The complaint says officers arrived and spoke with Keppel who told them she witnessed Rickels strangle the 8 pound Shiatzu/Maltase mix and then take the dog away. 

Keppel told officers the dog's name was Khloe. 

The complaint goes on to say officers found the dog in the back yard of the home left alone and severely hurt, bleeding from it's eyes. 

Officers say the dog's right eye was out of its socket and that Keppel began to cry when she reunited with it. 

According to the complaint Keppel told officers Rickels should go to jail. 

Officers found Rickels sleeping inside of the home, when officers spoke with him he told them the dog had been pooping and peeing in the house and that it chewed up a retainer. 

Authorities say he admitted to strangling the dog until it felt limp, but he did not respond when they asked him if someone else hurt the dog's eye. 

Rickels told officers he was trying to put the dog out of it's misery because Keppel said she wanted to shoot it. 

In addition to animal abuse Rickels is facing animal neglect and animal torture charges.

He is being held at the Jones County Jail. 

The dog was taken to be cared for at a vet clinic in Monticello, we are working to confirm whether the dog survived. 

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