Jury finds Minneapolis woman guilty of burglary and killing owner's dog


Sentencing update Dec. 13, 2018: Elizabeth Osterbauer was sentenced to 23 months in prison, Thursday but she will not have to serve it as long as she does not violate the conditions of her three-year probation. She will, however, have to serve 180 days in the Hennepin County Workhouse, beginning next month.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Marta Chou denied a request from Osterbauer’s attorney that she receive a stay of imposition, meaning if she was successful on probation, her felony convictions would be reduced to misdemeanors. They also asked for no jail time.

“I do believe this is a very serious offense,” Judge Marta told her. “To do anything less than 180 days would depreciate the seriousness of what happened.”

A Hennepin County jury convicted a Minneapolis woman of breaking into an acquaintance’s house twice and killing her dog, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday, Nov. 5.

Elizabeth Osterbauer, who will turn 26 next week, was found guilty Friday afternoon of two counts of second-degree burglary, one count of mistreating/torturing an animal and stalking. She will be sentenced Dec. 13. Osterbauer also faces felony animal cruelty charges in Rice County.

“We are pleased with the jury’s verdict and we hope similar justice is handed out in Rice County,” Freeman said. “Ms. Osterbauer was fixated on our victim and terrorized her by breaking into the home twice. Equally appalling, she stole a pet and tortured it to death in order to cause our victim even more pain.”

According to the criminal complaint and testimony in the week long trial, Osterbauer broke into a home in the 3500 block of Boardman Street in Minneapolis on June 6, 2016. The woman who lived there met Osterbauer through a dog rescue agency. Osterbauer had romantic feelings for the woman, which were not returned.

In the burglary, Osterbauer spread kitty litter all over the house and used it to plug the toilet so the water backed up and ran through several rooms and into the basement.

Osterbauer burglarized the same home about six months earlier on Dec. 10, 2015. Two witnesses said they saw Osterbauer take a dog from the house during that burglary, drive to a wetlands area, stomp on the dog and then drown it in the marsh.

Under the Minnesota Sentencing guideline, Osterbauer is likely to receive three years on probation and several months in the Hennepin County Workhouse.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)