Monticello man accused of strangling dog until it went limp; dog found alive, bleeding from its eyes

He faces several animal abuse charges

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SCOTCH GROVE — A Monticello man is being held in the Jones County Jail on charges of animal abuse and torture after a Facebook post tipped off authorities about him strangling a dog.

According to criminal complaints, a Jones County deputy was dispatched to a residence on 116th Avenue in Scotch Grove at 9:28 p.m. Saturday after the sheriff’s office received a call based on a Facebook post stating that Dustin Rickels, 31, of Monticello, had strangled a dog to death.

According to the complaint, the deputy was dispatched for a welfare check for the dog and preschool-aged child at the residence.

Upon arrival at 11 p.m., the deputy said he spoke to the owner of the dog, Krystal Keppel. She told the officer she witnessed Rickels strangling the dog before he took it away, but the child was not at the home at the time. Keppel said she didn’t know the condition of the dog, an 8-pound Shih Tzu/Maltese mix named Khloe, and said Rickels would not tell her where he had put the animal, according to the complaint.

In the complaint, the officer states he found the dog alone and uncared for in the backyard of the residence. The dog was alive as the officer approached but appeared to be “very scared and timid;” its eyes were visibly bloodshot and bleeding, with its right eye having been popped out of its socket, according to the complaint. As Keppel was reunited with the dog she began to cry, according to the complaint.

The officer found Rickels asleep in the home, according to the complaint. Rickels admitted to strangling the dog “by the neck until it went limp,” after it had defecated and urinated in the house and eaten a retainer, the complaint states.

Rickels was arrested and the dog was taken to the Monticello Veterinary Clinic for emergency care, according to the complaint.

Rickels is charged with animal abuse, animal neglect leading to death or serious injury and animal torture, first offense, all misdemeanors.

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