RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — Authorities say a 30-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 2-year-old pit bull.
Officers with Animal Services responded to the 4900 block of Hollyhock Lane in Riverside on Saturday morning.
Upon arrival, they learned that a 10-month-old poodle mix had died after allegedly being attacked by a pit bull.
That pit bull was then stabbed allegedly by the poodle’s owner, who was later arrested on an animal cruelty charge, authorities said.
Authorities said the incident unfolded just after 9:45 a.m., after the owner of the pit bull saw her dog with a neighbor’s dog in its mouth.
Three neighbors, including the poodle’s owner, tried to get the dog to release the poodle.
According to a statement provided by the pit bull’s owner, her dog named Devo was then dragged from the street to the poodle owner’s property, authorities said.
“The poodle owner then used a knife to slit Devo’s throat,” an officer wrote, adding that the pit bull then ran back to its owner and collapsed in the front yard.
The dog was rushed to a veterinarian, but died while in transit.
The poodle’s owner was subsequently arrested and identified by authorities as Rudy Jesus Barajas, 30, of Riverside.
The stepfather of the suspect, Raul Romero, told authorities that the poodle was in its rightful property when the pit bull allegedly entered the yard, and attacked.
“Mr. Romero told the officer the pit bull tried to bite his wife’s son, so Mr. 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,” an officer wrote in his report.
Authorities said Barajas was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty.
California law allows a property owner to protect himself and his property, including a pet, but the willful killing of another person’s animal can result in felony animal cruelty charges, authorities said.
Authorities said, based on the information provided, the stabbing of the pit bull was not necessary as it had already released the poodle.
“We full[y] 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.”
The incident remains under investigation.