Felony charges are expected to be filed Tuesday against a 30-year-old man suspected of throwing his dog down a razor wire on a Winchester cell phone tower and abandoning it inside a cell.
Robert Arturo Ruiz Jr. of Winchester was arrested Thursday and booked into the Byrd Jail in Murrieta on suspicion of animal cruelty and willful abandonment. Ruiz was held in lieu of $15,000 bail.
Animal control officers referred the case to the district attorney’s office for review.
According to Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh, sheriff’s deputies and officers tracked Ruiz to a residence in the 33000 block of Leon Road in Winchester, where he was taken into custody without incident.
She is suspected of dumping her 8-year-old dog, formerly known as “KO,” at a cell phone security perimeter near Flossie Way and Purroy Road on Dec. 15, leaving the dog without food, water or shelter in the area. .
“We were all extremely disturbed to see such a careless act done to an innocent animal,” Division of Animal Services Director Erin Gatiss told Freed. “This incident was very shocking.”
The video of the suspect’s arrest is available here.
Security camera footage of the alleged abandonment can be viewed here.
Wells said the 1-year-old female pit bull mix was located at Ruiz’s residence and the pet was seized and impounded at the San Jacinto Valley Animal University. It was not immediately known if the suspect would be able to retrieve the dog when and if he surrenders custody.
Welsh said Ruiz may have abandoned another dog, though authorities are still investigating that case.
KO, rechristened “Ken” by veterinary staff, was adopted by a woman less than a week after images of his abandonment went viral.
Fortunately, tower maintenance staff arrived at the location where the dog was abandoned within hours to find him dehydrated and with mucus oozing from both eyes, but otherwise normal, Welsh said.
Crews supplied the pit with water, he swallowed three bottles, and comfort before an animal control officer arrived and transported him to the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley, Wells said.
He said Ken required treatment for discharge from his eyes and the right one was the worst. There was no word on what caused the illnesses. According to jail records, Ruiz has outstanding misdemeanor cases pending in Superior Court for alleged driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license. There was no information about a possible previous conviction.