Portland man get more than three years in fatal animal cruelty case


A Portland man has been sentenced to more than three years in prison after a jury found him guilty of killing his girlfriend’s dog.

On Jan. 23, Yuri Keitser, 37, received a 41-month sentence in Clark County Superior Court for first-degree animal cruelty and intimidating a witness. The animal cruelty charge only brought a sentence of a year, while the charge of intimidating a witness constituted the 41 months, according to court documents.

Keitser was found guilty on both charges following a jury trial on Jan. 10. They stem from the 2020 death of a three-pound Yorkshire terrier owned by his girlfriend.

At about 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2020, law enforcement was dispatched to Keitser’s then-girlfriend’s home in the Sunnyside neighborhood north of Vancouver. She had called saying that Keitser had abused her 7-year-old dog, Romeo, so badly the dog had died, according to a probable cause affidavit for Keitser’s arrest.

The arriving sheriff’s deputy was brought to the master bathroom where the dog was laying next to his dog bowl, the affidavit stated. Keister had told his girlfriend a radio mounted on the wall had fallen on the dog, the woman stated.

One of the screws that held up the stereo was still hanging out of the wall while another was missing, according to the affidavit. Items that had been on top of the stereo were neatly placed on the counter, which didn’t match where they would be if the stereo had fallen.

The lack of drywall powder and the hole left in the wall also didn’t look like the stereo had fallen by itself, the affidavit stated.

Alongside an animal control officer, the sheriff’s deputy checked on Romeo, who “was very stiff already indicating he had been dead for a couple hours,” the affidavit stated.

In video footage of the master bedroom from around 2:30 p.m. that day, Romeo was heard “screaming in pain” along with “a few thuds,” according to the affidavit. Neither the dog nor Keitser were visible in the footage at that time.

Eventually Romeo’s noises stop and Keitser is heard breathing quickly, the affidavit stated. He carries the dog in his hand into view of the camera before entering the bathroom. Other footage showed Keister attempt CPR on Romeo as Keister moved frantically around the home.

At one point Keitser turned around the bedroom camera, obstructing the view, the affidavit stated. The sheriff’s deputy heard a noise likely to be the stereo being removed from the wall.

Keitser then ran downstairs and packed up various items before leaving at about 3 p.m., the affidavit stated. He sent multiple texts to his girlfriend where he stated he tried to resuscitate Romeo and said the radio fell on him.