West Covina Man Pleads Not Guilty to Felony Animal Cruelty Charges in Death of Roommate’s Chihuahua

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A West Covina man pleaded not guilty to a felony animal cruelty charge in connection to the death of his roommate’s Chihuahua, officials said Friday.

Mark Rivera Rodriguez, 35, was arraigned Thursday in the case, in which he is accused of fatally striking the dog, Alvin, by jumping down from a tree and landing on his head, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Rodriguez had threatened to kill the Chihuahua prior to the incident, prosecutors said.

The dog died Tuesday after Rodriguez allegedly dropped on him in the backyard of their West Covina home, according to the DA’s office. Alvin’s owner rushed him to the veterinarian, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

Rodriguez was arrested later that day in connection with the dog’s death. His bail has been set at $20,000.

Rodriguez faces a maximum sentence of three years in county jail if convicted as charged, officials said. He is scheduled to return to court March 27 for a pre-preliminary hearing, at which possible plea bargains will be discussed.

The West Covina Police Department continues to investigate the case.