A man was taken into custody Monday after allegedly stabbing a Chihuahua to death in Thousand Palms, officials said.
Alfredo Leon Ruiz, 37, was arrested on suspicion of felony animal cruelty, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services said in a news release Tuesday.
An investigation found that the dog, a tan male estimated to be about 10 months to about a year-and-a-half old, had been tossed over a fence and into the backyard of a property on Arbol Real Avenue.
The owner of the property did not know about the dog until informed by a Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy. The dog was already dead from severe injuries.
A witness told the deputy that a man waving a knife appeared to be bashing the dog against an object, Sgt. Miguel Hernandez of Animal Services said. The man also allegedly made death threats to a neighbor.
“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.
The dog was transported to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms and will be stored in the shelter’s morgue until the investigation is concluded, officials said.
Authorities took photographic evidence, and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department will lead a further investigation.
“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.”