Case Snapshot
Case ID: 32
Classification: Bestiality, Mutilation/Torture
Animal: cat, dog (non pit-bull)
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Wednesday, Apr 9, 1997

County: Rock

Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 7 files available

Defendant/Suspect: Barry Herbeck

Case Updates: 3 update(s) available

On April 9, 1997, the police were called to Herbeck's, (age 35), home when a former live-in girlfriend told them she found cat entrails in the garbage disposer. About a month prior to that she came home to find a dead cat in the hallway. The girlfriend further went on to state that the man's 8-year-old daughter told her that he had killed the family puppy.

Nellie a female black cat was found in the home and autopsied showing evidence that the cat had been sodomized, that both her back legs and her neck had been broken and she had massive abdominal injuries.

The 8-month-old puppy, Nikko, was wrapped in duct-tape around his mouth and nose and sealed in a small plastic container until it starved to death. The rotting corpse of the female German shepherd was found stuffed in a container on Herbeck's porch. Several other dogs disappeared into Herbeck's home but have never been seen again. He also admitted putting other dogs in the same container where Nikko was left to die.

Herbeck claimed he killed numerous cats since January 1997. He claimed by killing the cats it helped him cope with stress and anger he experienced from past abuse he was subjected to as a child. Further he killed the animals to release pent up anger he suffered from being physically abused by his stepfather and sexually assaulted by a neighbor.

Herbeck has a 20-year criminal history, including convictions for 1st degree sexual assault on a 6-year-old (his stepdaughter), misdemeanor battery, burglary and theft and felony theft. He has been on probation 4 times, continuing to victimize and abuse his daughter by making her witness his perversions and murder of the animals.

On the day of his arrest, 4 adult cats were found with their necks twisted in trash containers outside Herbecks home.

Herbeck confessed to killing Monkey, Harley, Morris and Butterball by punching them, twisting their necks and throwing them against the wall until they died.

Herbeck took his son and daughter along to get the animals after answering "Free to good home" ads. A Janesville man called police after seeing Herbeck's picture in the local paper to report he thought it was very unusual that the kids didn't show any excitement about getting a new cat from him. After seeing the picture in the paper he figured that the kids showed no excitement because they probably knew what was going to happen to the cat.

It has been estimated that Herbeck may have killed as many as 20 cats. He further admitted to police that he committed "an act of sexual gratification involving his sex organ and the anus of a black cat" after he killed the cat around Valentine's Day 1997.

His trial was scheduled for May 13, 1998 but he pleaded "no contest" on May 5, 1998 to five felony counts of animal abuse, resulting in death, and one felony count of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Previous to that hearing, he had also been charged with one count of obtaining sexual gratification from an animal, and the death of Nikko.

The felony charge for killing Nikko was dismissed because the dog's carcass was destroyed. The misdemeanor charge of bestiality was also dismissed as part of the plea bargain agreement because a white substance found on Nellie's body could not be identified.

Herbeck was sentenced on July 6, 1998 to twelve years, 2 years in prison for each of the six counts he had been charged with, the longest sentence for animal cruelty in the history of the United States. The minimum time before he can apply for parole is 4 years. He was ordered to have no contact with his 8-year-old daughter, 10-year-old son, his ex-wife or his former live-in girlfriend.

When he was arrested in April 10, he had custody of his children, despite his earlier conviction for sexually abusing a 6-year-old.

Herbeck, a carpet installer, was sentenced in Rock Country Circuit Court in Janesville, Wisconsin to receive 10 years in prison for killing five cats and additional two years for possessing a shotgun for a total of 12 years in prison. This made judicial history, as the two years per cat sentence is the equivalent to Wisconsin's maximum term for vehicular homicide in cases of negligence or causing a child's death through neglect.

Update: April 2001: Because Herbeck (Offender # 109551) was sentenced before the state's "truth in sentencing" provision went into effect, he was eligible for parole on July 3, 2001.

His parole was denied. He is scheduled for mandatory release in 2006.

Herbeck is in prison at the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, WI.

Case Updates

Barry Herbeck was scheduled for mandatory release in 2006.

Last Name: HERBECK Custody Status: Out of Custody
First Name: BARRY W Reason: Active Community Supervision
Date of Birth: 07/06/1961 Race: White
Offender ID: 00109551 Gender: Male
Update posted on Aug 2, 2006 - 8:21PM 
Barry Herbeck was up for parole on July 3, 2001.His parole was denied. He is scheduled for mandatory release in 2006.
Update posted on Jun 10, 2004 - 5:22AM 
Barry Herbeck In Waupun, Wisconsin, Barry Herbeck, " received" a 12-year prison term for animal abuse in May of 1998.

In February of 1997, police found the bodies of five cats and one dog in Herbeck's home. Nellie was one of the cats who was found. Nellie's body was found with her rectum stretched to 1.5 inches in size , both of her back legs were broken, her neck was broken and she had severe abdominal injuries. The other four cats, Morris, Butterball, Monkey and Harley were dead, with their eyes bulging from strangulation, and they had broken bones, jaws and necks.

Herbeck admitted to sodomizing, torturing and killing Nellie, and torturing and killing Morris, Butterball, Monkey and Harley.
Update posted on Jun 10, 2004 - 5:20AM 


  • The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • The Animal Lobby Inc.
  • Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • The San Diego Union Tribune

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