They were drawn to each other by their love for dogs.
Sarah Manos, a 27-year-old high school teacher, owned Daisy and Kirby, mixes of the Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise breeds.
Mathew Berry, a 28-year-old driver for a medical transportation company, had a German shepherd named Zip.
They met on a dating app, and it seemed like a perfect match, but their relationship soon turned hellish, Manos says in a lawsuit filed today against Berry in Cook County circuit court. In it, she says that, over the next two and a half months, Berry tortured and killed her dogs as he became increasingly controlling and jealous and threatened violence.
Her suit accuses Berry of violating the Illinois Human Care for Animals Act and seeks an unspecified amount of money for emotional suffering.
“Mat and I originally connected on how much we loved our dogs, as he said his dog was the No. 1 thing in his life, too,” Manos said in an interview. “I had thought that somebody who loves a pet that much must be a good, kind, caring person.”
In an interview, Berry denied he was abusive to Manos or harmed her dogs and said, “I think she’s doing this for attention.”
Some of Manos’ allegations are similar to those made by a former girlfriend of Berry when he was 17 and living in Grayslake. In 2010, that ex-girlfriend obtained an order of protection against him in Lake County circuit court that accused him of striking her in the face, demanding to read her journal, ordering her not to try out for a softball team and threatening to kill her and her parents.
“His violence is escalating and I am afraid of him,” she told the court.