A former Park Ridge attorney accused of throwing his wife’s chihuahuas off the balcony of her West Town home said in court Wednesday that Cook County prosecutors’ account of the Christmas Eve altercation was “full of inaccuracies.”
Jerald Jeske, 51, was ordered held on $10,000 bail on charges of aggravated animal cruelty, for allegedly throwing his wife’s 16- and 14-year-old chihuahuas off her second-story balcony after the couple quarreled over the dogs as they returned from a Christmas party.
Jeske’s wife told officers that before Jeske attacked her pets, he slapped her twice inside her car, and told her, “You love your dogs more than you love me.” The woman said Jeske also told her, “I’m going to kill those dogs,” according to a police report.
Jeske, an attorney for a Houston energy trading firm, said he had only $80 to put toward to the $1,000 bond he would need to secure his release. If he is able to post bond, Judge Stephanie Miller said he would be barred from contact with his wife, and any animals, at least until his next court hearing on Jan. 31.
Wearing a puffy black vest over a sweatshirt and pants, Jeske said he had been unable to reach his attorney or relatives during the 48 hours he had been in custody, but had asked a law firm in Chicago where he had worked previously to send an attorney to the hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse. No one from the law had showed up.
Jeske had a sour expression on his face as he listened to Assistant State’s Attorney Erin Antonietti’s account of the quarrel that left the 16-year-old chihuahua dead and the 14-year-old dog missing.
Jeske told Miller that Antonietti’s “report” was “full of inaccuracies,” but the judge cautioned him to allow the assistant public defender she had appointed to speak for him. After conferring with his lawyer, Jeske did not elaborate.
Jeske and his wife of 18 months were returning to her home in the 1200 block of West Grand Avenue, and were arguing, Antonietti said. A few blocks from the house, the woman told Jeske to get out of the car. He refused, and when they arrived at her house, he snatched the woman’s keys and ran into the house, locking the door behind him, Antonietti said. The woman went to a neighbor who had a spare key, and when she returned, she could hear the “screeching” of a dog in the back yard. When she reached the back of the house, she saw the 16-year-old chihuahua on the ground, still breathing but bleeding and one eye dislodged from its socket, Antonietti said.
“The victim took the dog into the house and put it on his bed,” Antonietti said. The dog died after police arrived at the house. Throughout the hearing, Antonietti referred to Jeske having killed two dogs, but also said the woman’s 14-year-old chihuahua could not be located and her German shepherd appeared unharmed.
Police found Jeske on the top floor of the house, and he was taken into custody. He told them he’d gotten into an argument and locked his wife out of the house, Antonietti said. Jeske’s wife had surveillance cameras in the house that showed Jeske throwing the two dogs “out of the back door,” Antonietti said.
His wife told the arresting officer that Jeske hit her twice with an open hand, but reports indicate charges were not filed because she later told a detective that he “never made physical contact” with her.
The report also indicates that Jeske was taken to the hospital for treatment of an “abrasion” to his lip. The report also lists Jeske as living at an address in Park Ridge, though his lawyer said he has lived in Houston for the last three years.