Reward Fund Growing in Waterloo Animal Cruelty Case

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

WATERLOO, Iowa — A brutal animal cruelty case this weekend is motivating animal lovers in Waterloo and beyond to do something about it. And that "something" is a $2,000 reward (so far) to find out who put a dog in an animal carrier and abandoned it to starve to death along a roadside.

Waterloo city workers found the dead dog half covered with its own feces early Saturday morning in the 2700 block of Independence Avenue. It was along an access road to the city's sewage treatment plant. Once animal lovers heard the news, the reaction was swift.

Diann Helmers loves animals and spends her own time and money finding homes for abandoned or stray pets at Agape Fosters Animal Rescue. It's a shelter she operates from her own home in rural Grundy County north of Reinbeck. She also works with Waterloo Animal Control to deal with abandoned animals found there. She wasn't quite ready for the photos she saw Saturday morning.

"I saw the pictures come across my email and I was horrified. It was so close to home and I have a soft spot for Great Danes and this dog appeared to have Great Dane in it," Helmers said.

Helmers launched an online campaign Saturday to catch whoever caged the dog and starved it to death. The money began rolling in and she created reward posters that have gone up on the eastern edge of Waterloo.

While some living along Independence Avenue hadn't heard what happened, others had and wanted justice.

Michael Brustkern said "it's brutal. I've got two dogs myself and I love my dogs more than anything in the world. If you can't take care of it, don't buy the dog or don't take the dog — let somebody who wants it take care of it."

Helmers said people do abandon pets and let them go out in the country. But even that cruelty pales compared to what happened along Independence Avenue either late Friday night or early Saturday morning in Waterloo.

"I save animals from death," Helmers said adding "how anybody could put this dog in there to cry and suffer and beg and then starve is just beyond anything. I call this an evil act. It's not neglect, it's past that."

Helmer said animal lovers really want to catch this owner and they'll pay to find someone who knows something.

Anyone with information about the case can contact Waterloo Animal Control at 319-291-4440.
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