Most people are horrified at the thought of an animal being abused and would report such an act if they saw it taking place. Therefore, it makes no sense to commit an act of animal abuse in front of onlookers who are likely to let everyone know what you have done, but that is exactly what one woman did and now she is paying the price. According to People, 26-year-old Michelle Sieber from Florida has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty after being caught on camera kicking and choking her dog. The incident was filmed by Vincent Minutello, who later uploaded his video to Facebook.
In the video, Sieber is walking her car across a parking lot towards her SUV. She is seen kicking the dog several times and yanking on the lead so hard that the poor dog’s paws are lifted off the ground, choking the dog in the process. It appears that the dog is having difficulty breathing after it is dragged around with the leash pulled so tight. When Vincent Minutello saw what the woman was doing, he began to film what he saw. He stood by and watched for around 30 seconds, before deciding to go across and confront the woman. NBC says that Minutello approached the woman and asked her to take it easy and give the dog a break.
The woman’s response to this was to laugh and ask him if he wanted it, claiming that the dog is up for adoption. Minutello goes on to say to the woman that she is choking the dog and hanging him, which Sieber is heard to deny. Minutello then says that he has seen her pulling so that the dog is hanging from the lead. Following the incident, Minutello uploaded the video to his Facebook page so that others could see exactly how this woman had behaved. The video quickly went viral, and the post accumulated more than 3,000 comments from people who had been shocked by what they had seen. The post going viral also attracted the attention of the police. This led to Sieber’s arrest on charges of animal cruelty. She was offered bail at $5,000, but no-one came forward to pay it for her release. Therefore, the booking information from the Pinellas County Sherriff Office says that she is being held in lieu of the bail.
More information about Sieber has been revealed since she was arrested. The WFLA of Tampa, an NBC News affiliate, reports that Sieber is the daughter of Rea Sieber, a Tarpon Springs Commissioner. In an email, Rea Sieber has disclosed that her daughter has suffered some traumas in recent years and that she has suffered from a mental illness for around seven or eight years. She also said that her daughter was living in an RV, which is often parked behind the wine shop that is owned by Rea Sieber. Rea claims that her daughter needs help, but that she is not a bad person. Rea Sieber also revealed the impact that the video going viral and being arrested by the police has had on her daughter’s life. Since the incident, Michelle has become the victim of harassment and people have been shouting nasty comments to her.
She went on to say that the revelations had also had a personal impact on her. Rea claims that both she and her business have been attacked. She also says that her integrity has suffered as a result of her daughter’s actions and the fact that the incident has been made public. Rea goes on to say that there have been many lies slung about, including that she can use her influence to get Michelle out of jail. However, according to Rea, that is not the case and she cannot bail her daughter out. She has spoken to Michelle since she was arrested, and she knows that Michelle is being assigned an attorney. For now, Rea can only wait to find out the fate of her daughter. There is nothing more she can do for now.
The police have also spoken about the incident. They described how they arrested Sieber near Clearwater after they were contacted about the incident by Vincent Minutello. They described Sieber as being a transient woman who is residing in a caper-type vehicle with two dogs. The police also made it clear that although Sieber is seen kicking the dog, it had not suffered from any injuries in the incident. Rea Sieber has denied that her daughter is living in the vehicle. She says that Michelle parks up behind her wine business at night but does not she there. Instead, she sleeps at either Rea’s home, her father’s home, or the homes of her friends. Police have said that the allegations against Sieber extend beyond what is shown in the video, which has been viewed by people from across the globe. Apparently, Minutello’s girlfriend also saw Michelle Sieber throw the dog into the back of the RV. However, this is not seen on the video, so there is no evidence of this other than the witness statement of Minutello’s girlfriend.
Following Michelle’s arrest, her dogs were seized by the police. They have since been handed over to animal control officials, who are caring for the dogs until a decision is made about their future and a new home has been found for them. The Evening Standard reports that Minutello has thanked everybody for the support they have shown and for sharing the video, which has been shared more than 2,000 times. He hopes that sharing the video will help to raise awareness of animal abuse. He has urged people not to resort to violence because of the video. He wants people to focus on the positives that can come from the video and not the negative.