Man charged with punching donkey and posting video

Lucas Dietrich
Lucas Dietrich

A man accused of posting a video of punching a donkey in the head is now charged with acts of animal cruelty.

Collinsville police said they were alerted Monday that someone had posted a video on Twitter that depicted a person punching a donkey on the side of its head. Only the arm and hand of the person were visible, but the donkey appeared to be inside a stable with a green, metal fence.

Investigators were able to identify the donkey as Amore, a 13-year-old female donkey that has been at Willoughby Heritage Farm and Conservation Reserve in Collinsville since September. Farm supervisor Carol Frerker said Amore is doing just fine and hasn’t needed veterinary care. Amore is one of the animals that visitors to the farm can approach for touching or brushing, Frerker said.

“They’re there for the public to pet, to see and touch,” Frerker said. “It’s few and far between that ... something malicious happens. The main goal is to connect people to the animals and learn respect and appreciation for the animals, and 99 percent of the time that happens.”

The video was posted to Twitter by user @LucasJDietrich, which police identified as belonging to Lucas Dietrich, 18, of Collinsville. According to a statement from the police, Dietrich cooperated with investigators, and the video was located on his phone.

Frerker said there are volunteers on-site most of the time when visitors are around, but no one witnessed the alleged punching. Lt. Brett Boerm of the Collinsville Police Department said that as far as they know, Dietrich wasn’t trespassing. “It’s a public farm,” he said. “Anybody can walk into the barn and look at the animals.”

Dietrich has been charged with cruel treatment of animals and depiction of animal cruelty, both class A misdemeanors. Madison County Circuit Judge Richard Tognarelli set bail at $50,000. Dietrich posted bond and was released from custody.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald