Winchester suspect arrested for animal cruelty
WINCHESTER — Robert Ruiz Jr., 30, was arrested Jan. 12 on suspicion of willfully abandoning his dog.
A Riverside County Animal Services officer arrested Ruiz. A Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy transported the man to the Southwest Justice Center in French Valley where he was booked on an allegation of felony animal cruelty and a misdemeanor for the suspected abandonment.
Ruiz is suspected of hurling his dog over a fence at a cell tower in Winchester on Dec. 15. A video surveillance camera captured footage of the act where a man can be seen picking up the dog and tossing it over the 7-foot fence topped with razor wire. The dog’s back paws clip the razor wire as he somersaults to a hard landing on the dirt. That act is why Animal Services is seeking felony animal cruelty.
“We were all extremely disturbed to see such a careless act committed against an innocent animal,” Riverside County Animal Services Director Erin Gettis said. “This incident was very shocking.”
The dog, an 8-year-old pit bull mix, was examined and treated by Animal Services veterinary staffers. Employees nicknamed the dog Ken, and he was adopted on Jan. 5.
Officer Mike McGee responded to the cell tower on Dec. 15 shortly after maintenance workers discovered the dog. The cell tower is atop a hill near Flossie Way and Pourroy Road. Workers told McGee the dog was very thirsty. They provided the dog three bottles of water prior to McGee’s arrival and released the video footage showing the man’s actions.
McGee made the arrest Jan. 12 shortly before 1 p.m. at a residence where Ruiz was living in the 33000 block of Leon Road in Winchester. A 1-year-old, female pit bull mix was at the residence and believed to be owned by Ruiz.
Animal Services seized that dog and transported it to the county’s San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus.
Ruiz is suspected of abandoning a second dog that Animal Services officers are trying to locate.
Gettis praised the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for all its efforts during the investigation and the assistance during the arrest.
“There was some very good partnership with this high-profile cruelty investigation and we’re always thankful for that from our friends in law enforcement,” Gettis said.
- : RivCo Animal Services
- Suspect booking: RivCo Animal Services