WILLERNIE, Minn. (WCCO) — Ever since she was a little girl growing up in Ireland, Gemma Barry has been a dog person.
That’s what drew her to adopt Froto, a sweet 2-year-old Bichon Frise, a couple years ago.
“He was the most darling little boy in the whole world. I just had him groomed a few weeks before that for Christmas and he looked lovely,” said Barry.
Earlier this month, Barry got home from work as a volunteer greeter at Roma Restaurant and knew something was wrong.
“He was just lying there like a wet rag. He was just shaking,” said Barry.
She immediately rushed him to the vet, who revealed the dog had been strangled, suffering from broken ribs and a punctured lung.
The dog had to be euthanized.
“He was in a little oxygen tent and I put my hand in the hole and he licked my hand and he wagged his tail.”
At the time of the attack, the house was locked, leaving only one person who could have been responsible for the attack: a man who was renting out a room in the house.
“Froto’s barking did get to him, it did annoy him and I knew that because I heard him shouting at Froto a couple of times,” said Barry.
Gemma is beloved in the Willernie community and many are feeling the loss of Froto, too.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help her pay for the emergency vet bill.
One person even made sure Barry had a new four-legged friend, a Pomeranian named Marley, to keep her company.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating this incident.
An investigator tells WCCO-TV they have a suspect and are working with the County Attorney’s Office to bring charges.
Cruelty to animals is a felony in the state of Minnesota.