RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. (KTLA) — A man has been arrested after authorities say he was caught on video tossing his dog over a fence at a cell tower in southern California.
Robert Ruiz Jr., 30, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of willfully abandoning his dog, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services said in an update.
He was booked on suspicion of felony animal cruelty and misdemeanor abandonment.
Ruiz was reportedly seen on video hurling his dog, an 8-year-old pit bull mix, over a fence in the Winchester area on Dec. 15, 2022.
“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,” officials detailed.
The dog, previously named KO, was examined and treated for mucus discharge from both his eyes. He was renamed Ken.
Officials believed a woman from Orange County adopted the dog, but shortly after, Ken was spotted on a rescue organization’s website and social media, John Welsh of Animal Services said.
The founder of Underdog Heroes Rescue told News 2’s sister station, KTLA, that the only way they could get Ken was to be dishonest.
She said that the pooch was also suffering from a respiratory infection and other health issues, and that a private adopter likely wouldn’t be able to care for him.
Based on the organization’s social media posts, Ken’s lungs are clear and he will be in his new foster home next weekend. He’ll be up for adoption after that.
Authorities were able to identify Ruiz because the dog was microchipped. He was being sought until finally being arrested before 1 p.m. Thursday at a Winchester home where he was living.
A 1-year-old female pit bull mix was found at the home and believed to be owned by Ruiz, officials said. That dog was seized and taken to a San Jacinto animal shelter.
Video from the arrest shows a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department deputy patting down Ruiz while an Animal Services officer tells him what he did was “very improper.”
Ruiz allegedly abandoned another dog that Animal Services officers are trying to find.
“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,” said Riverside County Animal Services Director Erin Gettis said, who previously called the incident “careless” and “shocking.”