Her ex-boyfriend could be mean, said Sara Goff of St. Paul, but even she was surprised at how irrational Donald R. Dornseif could get about her English bulldog, Precious.
"Where'd you get that?" she recalled Dornseif saying when he first eyed the stocky pooch. "What do you want a dog for? I hate dogs."
That it was a gift from her current boyfriend probably had something to do with his angry reaction, Goff said.
On Thursday night, Dornseif threw Precious from a third-floor apartment balcony onto the sidewalk below, according to a felony animal-cruelty charge filed against him Friday, causing injuries that gave Goff no choice but to have the dog put down.
In the apartment with Dornseif at the time, Goff said, was their daughter, Mya, 6.
Also present were two of Mya's friends -- a 5-year-old girl and a 10-year-old girl.
The 5-year-old's mother, who was watching the children, had stepped away briefly and was on the balcony below, she told police. From the balcony above, Dornseif went on a rant about dogs.
Later, he'd tell police that Precious jumped from his arms and over the railing.
A police investigator, however, did not believe that story. Nor did Goff, who said Friday afternoon that while Precious was excitable, her short legs kept her from jumping.
No, Goff said, she's convinced Dornseif threw the dog out of jealousy -- "and just to be rotten."
A broken neck, other injuries
Outside the apartment building in the 1300 block of Mississippi Street, stacks of Sheetrock were propped up alongside a sidewalk, with the corner of one sheet broken and crumbled. It was there, neighbors said Friday, that the dog landed. Initially, no one would go near her, fearful of how she might react, Goff said, but a boy scooped her up and brought her inside.
According to the complaint, Precious, 3 years old and 60 to 70 pounds, had several leg fractures, a broken neck and severe internal injuries.
Goff, who had owned the dog for three months, said: "She was like my baby. No matter how long I had her -- I loved her."
A police investigator, checking Dornseif's claim that the dog jumped, noted that the balcony railing was almost 4 feet high and that Precious landed nearly 10 feet away, the complaint said. The investigator concluded "it would be impossible for such a heavy, short dog to jump a distance of 8 to 10 feet from that railing without being propelled."
According to the complaint, the 5-year-old's mother also told police that Dornseif said to her during their argument: "Do you want to see the dog hit the sidewalk?"
Later, he denied having said it, police said. But he did admit that he had been drinking, the Ramsey County District Court complaint said.
Efforts to speak with the 5-year-old's mother were unsuccessful Friday. With the little girl standing nearby, the woman whispered to a visitor that the 5-year-old knew only that Precious's leg had been broken. Soon, the mother said, she would have to be told that the dog was gone.
Anthony Lonetree • 651-298-1545