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Animal rights advocates demand stricter penalties for neglect cases, pit bull Emmanuel

King's Harvest shelter organized a protest for the pit bull who died in December from internal bleeding and severe injuries.
Credit: Jenny Hipskind
After a pit bull named Emmanuel died in 2019 from neglect, animal rights advocates are calling for strict penalties Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 for Dennis Terrell Stewart, 38, and Vanessa Marie Bruyntjens, 39, of Bettendorf, who are both charged with one count of animal neglect.

MOLINE, Ill. — King's Harvest Pet Rescue, No Kill Shelter organized a protest for the pit bull they named Emmanuel who died in December from internal bleeding and severe injuries.

The protesters gathered outside Scott County Courthouse at 8 a.m. Thursday demanding the harshest sentencing for Dennis Terrell Stewart, 38, and Vanessa Marie Bruyntjens, 39, of Bettendorf. 

Online court records show they are each charged with one count of animal neglect in connection with Emmanuel's death. 

Police said the two didn't provide proper medical care to their dog, formerly named King, who developed a twisted stomach.

Stewart brought the dog into King's Harvest in severe condition, saying he was found in Scott County Park.  He had lacerations, bruises, dragging wounds, low body temperature and weight; the shelter said these injuries were a result of severe abuse and undernourishment. 

A police report indicated that Bruyntjens and Stewart couldn't afford medical care to correct the dog's stomach. 

Court records show that both Stewart and Bruyntjens have pleaded not guilty. Both are due back in court on March 18 for a pretrial conference. 

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Credit: Jenny Hipskind
After a pit bull named Emmanuel died in 2019 from neglect, animal rights advocates are calling for strict penalties Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 for Dennis Terrell Stewart, 38, and Vanessa Marie Bruyntjens, 39, of Bettendorf, who are both charged with one count of animal neglect.