RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — A 37-year-old man was arrested Monday on suspicion of felony animal cruelty after allegedly stabbing a Chihuahua to death.

Alfredo Leon Ruiz, 37, was arrested Monday on suspicion of felony animal cruelty after allegedly stabbing a Chihuahua to death. (Courtesy: Riverside County Animal Services)

Alfredo Leon Ruiz, of Thousand Palms, was arrested by a deputy with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department after a tan dog was found dead in the backyard of another home, according to a release from the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

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Animal Services Sgt. Miguel Hernandez said the dog, whose age was estimated to be between 10 and 18 months, had been tossed over a fence into the backyard of that property. When the dog was recovered, it was already dead after suffering “severe injuries.”

“The dog was covered in blood and appeared to have large lacerations on its head and chest that appeared to be inflicted with a sharp object,” Hernandez said in the release.

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A witness told deputies that Ruiz appeared to be bashing the dog against an object and was waving a knife. The witness also told deputies Ruiz had made death threats against a neighbor.

“Life is tough sometimes but if this person did do this – to cause such terrible harm to a small, defenseless pet, to just snap – we all know this is not normal behavior,” Hernandez said. “I just hope I don’t have to see something like this ever again.”

The animal was taken to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms and will be stored in the shelter’s morgue until the investigation is completed, Animal Services said.

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The sheriff’s department was taking the lead on the criminal investigation.