Man charged with Mokena torture, fatal beating of dog named Kirby

Mathew Berry

A Midlothian man has been charged with torturing and fatally beating his ex-girlfriend’s bichon frise mix dog named Kirby in Mokena.

Mathew Berry, 29, was briefly jailed on June 16 after prosecutors filed felony charges of animal torture and aggravated cruelty to animals in the June 23, 2020 incident.

Prosecutors alleged in a criminal complaint that Berry tortured a male bichon frise mix named Kirby and beat the dog to death by punching it.

On June 23, 2020, Berry and his ex-girlfriend, Sarah Manos, went to Hecht Park in Mokena, where he began beating, strangling and punching Kirby, according to Mokena Interim Police Chief Brian Benton.

Berry had Kirby on a leash and dragged the dog through a pond at the park, until the dog was unconscious, Benton said.

“The dog sustained serious injuries as a result of these beatings,” Benton said.

Kirby was taken to an animal hospital in Orland Park, and Berry and Manos were told to take the dog to another hospital, Benton said. Manos had claimed the dog died in her arms.

According to a Midlothian Police Department report, Manos and Berry brought Kirby to a forest preserve in Midlothian after visiting the Orland Park animal clinic. Berry had further abused the dog at the forest preserve, the report said.

The Midlothian police report said there was not sufficient evidence to charge Berry.

Manos filed a report with Mokena police on Jan. 4.

In January, Manos won a civil judgment in excess of $160,000 against Berry in Cook County, after she sued claiming he inflicted serious injuries to her two bichon frise mix pets, Daisy and Kirby, and that he intentionally caused her emotional distress.

Manos said she met Berry in April 2020 through the dating app Bumble. According to her lawsuit, a month and a day after they connected, Daisy the dog died.

In the hours leading up to Daisy’s death, the lawsuit said, Manos saw Berry feeding the dog fruit and shortly after the animal was lethargic.

Berry told Manos he was going to “inject a ‘morphine-like’ ” medication into Daisy’s right hind side, the lawsuit said. “Immediately thereafter, Daisy became wobbly and unable to stand.”

Daisy later died at an animal hospital, according to the lawsuit.

Charges were not filed against Berry regarding Daisy because the events concerning the dog did not occur in Will County jurisdiction, said Heather Miller, executive assistant and project manager for Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office released a statement that said the office declined to file charges against Berry over the alleged abuse of Manos’ dogs because of insufficient evidence.