By Mary McGuire

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.

Mary McGuire

  1. Karen Macalus Kissner says:

    Please do a story about all the LOST animals that are taken in to homes and raised as their own. This is not fair to the Animal nor the Family that is searching for them. Their are many LOST Daily- as they are searching to find their way home they are picked up. Please list these contact # For the Retrievers (218) 940-7615 Pawboost- Lost Dogs of Minnesota – (612) 642-1364

    Any one of them will check the list of Missing Animals reported Missing and help to Re-unite this pet with their Families. If there hasn’t been any reported then they can keep the animal for their own. There are so many Families searching, Posting, with broken Hearts unable to Locate their
    babies. Please Give the Found Pet a fighting chance to get back HOME!

    Karen Kissner

    I two have been Searching for my Lost Female Toy Poodle – Zoey 9 Years old since August.
    We desperately Need your HELP!