RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — The Riverside County Department of Animal Services reported Saturday that two dogs were dead and a man arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty after he allegedly cut one of the dog’s throats.
Riverside County Animal Services responded to a call Saturday morning to assist Riverside Police in what was being investigated as a fatal stabbing of a dog.
A Riverside man, Rudy Jesus Barajas, 30, was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty.
Animal Services Officer Max Morales responded to the 4900 block of Hollyhock Lane in Riverside. Riverside Police were already on scene.
A 2-year-old, black and white pit bull named Devo, died while being transported to a local veterinarian by his owner. A second dog, a 10-month-old poodle mix named Spunky, died after it had been allegedly attacked by Devo.
At about 9:45 a.m., Devo’s owner came out of her house when she heard a commotion. She saw her pit bull with a neighbor’s dog, a poodle, in his mouth, according to Morales.
Three neighbors, including Spunky’s owner, — believed to be Barajas — were next to the two dogs, trying to get Devo to release the poodle.
Devo’s owner told Morales her dog was dragged by Spunky’s owner from the street to his house. Spunky’s owner is then accused of using a knife to slit Devo’s throat. Devo ran back to his owner and reportedly collapsed in the front yard.
A witness told the officer the pit tried to bite his wife’s son, so Barajas took the dog by the neck and dragged the dog inside the home, into the kitchen, and started to cut the dog’s throat.
According to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, California law allows a property owner to protect himself and his property — for example, their pet — when another animal tries to attack the property owner or a family member, or the animal attacks their pet. However, the willful killing of another person’s animal can result in felony animal cruelty charges.
Based on the information provided, Morales said he believed the stabbing of Devo was not necessary. The pit bull had already released the poodle, he said. And, by taking the dog into a house and stabbing the animal, it is prolonging an incident. In addition, Morales said he believed the stabbing appeared to have been performed out of spite toward the pit bull’s actions and the neighbor.
Riverside Police are investigating, said Animal Services.
“We full understand how upset someone can get when another person’s pet attacks their dog,” Animal Services Director Robert Miller said. “But no one has the right to take matters into their own hands, as what is being alleged in this particular incident. We intend to support Riverside Police to the fullest extent in this matter.”
He added the tragedy shows the importance of setting up secure boundaries.
“Dog owners, especially owners of dogs who may have more assertive tendencies, need to do everything they can to keep their pet inside their own property’s boundaries,” Miller said. “Tragic incidents, such as this one, can be better prevented when people have strong fences or tall walls or secure gates.”