Man gets 18-month prison sentence for beating Shih Tzu with belt, leaving it severely injured
A Matteson man was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison for beating a Shih Tzu dog with a belt at a Woodridge home, leaving it severely injured.
Irmani Lewiel, 27, of the 0-100 block of Churn Road, pleaded guilty in May to one count of aggravated cruelty to animals, according to the DuPage County state's attorney's office.
Authorities say that on Sept. 5, 2020, the Downers Grove VCA Arboretum View Animal Hospital called Woodridge police to report that 7-year-old Bella had been abused. The dog's owner came home from work and found Bella lifeless in the corner, authorities said.
County prosecutors said Lewiel, the owner's boyfriend, was at home with Bella when the dog went to the bathroom on the floor. Lewiel then "whooped her in the mouth" five times with a belt, according to the state's attorney's office.
Bella suffered five broken ribs, two broken eye sockets, bruising around her pelvis and two broken and bleeding teeth that prevented her from closing her mouth, authorities said.
Bella recovered from her injuries. She and another dog were forfeited by the owners, and adopted by another family, officials said.
"In DuPage County, animal cruelty is taken very seriously." State's Attorney Robert Berlin said Tuesday in an announcement of the sentence. "What I find particularly alarming in this case is the amount of pain and suffering Mr. Lewiel inflicted upon a small, defenseless dog. Thankfully, Bella has recovered from her injuries and is living comfortably with a loving, caring family."
Lewiel will have to serve at least half his sentence before being eligible for parole.