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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Monday, September 7, 2020

Bond Set for Cook County Man Accused of Beating Dog with a Belt

State files petition to remove second dog from home pending trial

 DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and Woodridge Chief of Police Brian Cunningham announced today that bond has been set for a Cook County man accused of beating a seven-year-old Shih Tzu with a belt sending her to the veterinarian. Lewiel Irmani, 25 (d.o.b. 8/4/1995) of 52 Churn Road, Matteson, appeared in Bond Court this morning where Judge Joshua Dieden set bond at $20,000 with 10% to apply. The State had asked for a bond of $150,000.  Irmani has been charged with one count of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, a Class 4 Felony. 

On September 5, 2020 at approximately 7:30 p.m., officers with the Woodridge Police Department received a call from the Downers Grove VCA for a report of an abused seven-year-old Shih Tzu dog named Bella. Upon their arrival, officers learned that the owner brought Bella to the hospital with her boyfriend, later identified as Irmani. It is alleged that when Irmani’s girlfriend arrived home from work on September 5, she found Bella lying lifeless in the corner and immediately told the defendant to take her and Bella to the vet. It is alleged that while Irmani was home alone with Bella, she went to the bathroom on the floor of the home at which time Irmani “whooped her in the mouth” five times with a belt. Following an exam from the veterinarian, it was determined that Bella suffered from three rib fractures on the right side and air pocketing under the skin as well as rib fractures on the left, a fracture to the left eye socket, a bleeding broken incisor tooth, bruising around the dorsal pelvis and a bleeding back molar tooth broken in the gum line so that Bella could not close her mouth and can now only take food or water via a syringe. Bella was treated for her injuries and both she and the couple’s other dog are secured at Naperville Animal Control.

 “The fact that someone would strike a defenseless animal is incomprehensible,” Berlin said. “What is particularly alarming in this case is the allegation that Mr. Irmani struck Bella numerous times with a belt causing extremely serious injuries. We take charges of animal cruelty very seriously and anyone accused of such acts will face serious felony charges. Thanks to the outstanding care Bella received however, while she still has a way to go, she appears to be on the road to recovery. I would like to thank the Woodridge Police Department for their work on this very disturbing case. I would also like to thank Naperville Animal Control, the Downers Grove VCA Arboretum View Animal Hospital for their assistance and the care they gave to Bella. I would also like to thank Assistant State’s Attorneys Alyssa Rabulinski and Denis Cahill for their efforts on this upsetting case.”   

“This complaint of animal cruelty is taken very seriously by the Woodridge Police Department,” Cunningham said. “I’m pleased that the person allegedly responsible is being held accountable for his actions. I am also very proud of our officers’ efforts, especially Officer Begy, and of the care being provided to help the dog, particularly by VCA Arboretum View Animal Hospital and our partners at Naperville Animal Control.  The Woodridge Police Department also appreciates the collaborative efforts of the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Irmani’s next court appearance is scheduled for October 5, 2020, for arraignment in front of Judge Alex McGimpsey.  

Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendant’s guilt.  A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond