A Florida woman has been arrested on charges of animal cruelty after she was allegedly caught on video kicking and choking her dog.
Michelle Sieber, 26, was arrested after the video was posted to Facebook by a bystander. In the video, which was viewed by PEOPLE, Sieber appears to kick the dog while they are walking in a parking lot towards her SUV. On several occasions, Sieber seems to pull the leash so tight that the dog is lifted off its front paws. The animal appears to be struggling to breathe.
The man who filmed the incident, Vincent Minutello, watched Sieber for about 30 seconds before confronting her.
“Hey, can you go a little easy on that dog, please?” he can be heard saying in the clip. Sieber laughs and asks Minuttello if he wants the animal, who she alleges is up for adoption.
“You can’t do what you’re doing,” he responds. “You are choking him. You are hanging your dog. He is sitting there by his neck and he can’t breathe.”
Minutello posted the video on Facebook, where it was subsequently shared more than 2,500 times. Sieber was later identified from the video and arrested on a charge of felony animal cruelty. PEOPLE confirms that she was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on $5,000 bond.
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Arrest records do not list an attorney authorized to speak on her behalf. She has not yet entered a plea.
According to WFTS-TV, police say that the dog in the video did not appear to sustain any injuries. Two dogs were taken from Sieber, and are now in the custody of animal control.
Seiber’s mother, Rea Sieber, spoke to WFLA and said that her daughter has been misunderstood. “She’s been through a lot of trauma in the last few years,” Rea told the station. “She needs help, but is not a bad person.”
After Sieber’s arrest, Minutello urged his followers not to threaten the woman with violence. “I really hope everyone can focus on the positive that is coming from this video and not the negative,” he wrote. “Violence and threats are completely against the message I am hoping to spread.”