Man arrested for allegedly hurling dog over fence, abandoning him
A 30-year-old man suspected of hurling his dog over a razor-wire security fence at a cell phone tower in Winchester and abandoning him inside the enclosure was in custody Friday.
Robert Arturo Ruiz Jr. of Winchester was arrested and booked into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta Thursday on suspicion of felony animal cruelty and willful abandonment. Ruiz is being held on $15,000 bail.
According to Riverside County Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh, sheriff’s deputies and animal control officers tracked the suspect down to a residence in the 33000 block of Leon Road in Winchester, where he was taken into custody without incident Thursday afternoon.
Ruiz is suspected of throwing his 8-year-old dog, previously named “KO,” inside the hilltop mobile phone security perimeter near Flossie Way and Pourroy Road on Dec. 15, leaving the canine trapped inside the space without food, water or shelter.
“We were all extremely disturbed to see such a careless act committed against an innocent animal,” Department of Animal Services Director Erin Gettis said. “This incident was very shocking.”
A video clip of the suspect’s arrest is available at youtube.com/watch?v=2LlVA8LwQ_U&feature=youtu.be.
Security surveillance camera footage of the alleged act of abandonment can be viewed at youtube.com/watch?v=NQMZEVtEwbo.
Welsh said that a 1-year-old female pit bull mix was located at Ruiz’s residence, and the pet was seized, impounded at the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus. It was not immediately known whether he will be able to reclaim the dog when and if he posts bond.
According to Welsh, Ruiz may have abandoned another canine, though authorities are still investigating that case.
KO, who has since been re-christened “Ken,” was adopted by a woman less than a week after images of his abandonment were circulated.
Welsh said that, fortunately, tower maintenance workers arrived at the location where the dog was deserted within a couple of hours and found him dehydrated and leaking mucus from both his eyes, but otherwise OK.
The crew provided the pit with water — he gulped down three bottles — and comfort until an animal control officer reached the site and transported him to the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley, according to Welsh.
He said that Ken required treatment for the discharge from his eyes, with the right one in the worst condition. There was no word on what caused the ailments.
According to jail records, the suspect has pending unresolved misdemeanor cases in Superior Court for alleged driving under the influence and driving on a suspended license. There was no information on possible prior convictions.