CHICAGO (CBS) — Sarah Manos says her boyfriend killed her dogs while they were quarantining, and now, a Cook County Judge is ordering more than $160,000 in damages.
CBS 2’s Tara Molina spoke to Manos, who was surprised by the judge’s order. She says she hopes this sends a message to others.
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This is a message about animal abuse and cruelty and how serious it is – because the man now ordered to pay more than $160,000 in damages wasn’t charged by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office when this first happened.
We want to warn you the details in this story are graphic.
“I look at these pictures and these memories and I have so much love for my dogs,” Manos said.
The dogs were Bichon-mixes – 6-year-old Kirby and 13-month-old Daisy.
“They both had more love than you could ever imagine to give,” Manos said.
Manos called them her best friends. Apart from her new boyfriend de ella, at the time, Mathew Berry, she said says the two pups kept her company de ella while isolating during the height of the pandemic in 2020.
Until she says Berry killed them.
“He tortured my dog Kirby for 14 hours, until Kirby died in my arms from blunt force trauma,” Manos said, “and he killed my dog Daisy by kicking her and injecting her with a substance that resulted in her death just a couple of hours later.”
Police confirmed abuse was the cause of both deaths. Manos secured an order of protection against Berry and filed police reports, but the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office didn’t find evidence against Berry sufficient for animal cruelty charges.
She felt she wouldn’t get justice for these two – until now.
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Cook County Judge Thomas Donnelly just ordered Berry to pay $162,338 and change in damages for the killing of Kirby and Daisy.
Here’s the judge’s breakdown:
- More than $4,000 for veterinary expenses
- Just under $1,500 for the purchase prices of the dogs
- More than $12,000 for mental health services
- More than $5,000 for attorney’s fees
- $100,000.00 for specific acts of intentional cruelty and torture- citing state statutes
- And more than $38,000 for additional emotional damages.
“This fight was worth it,” Manos said.
However, she added, “He, to this day, still denies it.”
She thought of the idea of him not paying the money ordered.
“To me, it’s the principle of the whole matter,” Manos said. “It’s now documented in court that he’s wrong and he’s liable for this. And so, the money is great, but for me, it was all about the principle of it.”
So, what happens if he doesn’t pay? We checked and action can be brought against him to collect. Manos’ attorney, Anna E. Morrison-Ricordati, explained:
“Although Mr. Berry did file an appearance, and was present at all of the Court appearance dates (conducted remotely via Zoom), he did not provide any answer to the complaint and did not challenge damages. At the January 10, 2022 prove-up, Sarah Manos presented documentation and testimony in support of the damages she sought and the Court awarded her those damages. If Mr. Berry does not pay, then action can be brought against him to collect.”
Sarah knows the number will get attention — but she hopes what’s behind it is what you’ll remember.
“I hope by sharing my story it educates people about domestic abuse and animal abuse and to know the warning signs and to get help,” Manos said.
The State’s Attorney’s Office said the evidence related to this incident was insufficient to meet their burden of proof to file felony charges and they worked with Manos to secure a conviction against Berry for violating an order of protection and was sentenced to one year’s probation in October 2020 This is the full statement from the State’s Attorney’s office:
Statement from Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office:
“When information is brought to the CCSAO, prosecutors consider all available evidence, the facts, and the law to determine whether criminal charges are appropriate. As prosecutors, we have an ethical obligation to bring charges when there is sufficient evidence to support a charge.
“The evidence related to this incident was insufficient to meet our burden of proof to file felony charges. Prosecutors in our Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Division worked with the victim to secure a conviction against the offender for violating an order of protection. In October 2020, the offender was sentenced to one year’s probation.”
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We attempted to reach Mathew Berry for a response to this a number of times today- we still haven’t heard back.