After spending a mandatory 10 days quarantined in an animal shelter, a pit bull terrier has been returned to the kidnapping suspect who allegedly ordered the dog to bite his victim.
New Mexico resident Gabriel Garcia was arrested and charged with kidnapping, assault and criminal sexual contact for an incident that occurred at his house on May 31. According to the Huffington Post, Garcia “trapped a woman at his house,” “made sexual advances toward her, dragged her by her hair and threatened to kill her.” The Las Cruces News reports that Garcia met the woman at a party where he came into possession of her keys. She arrived at his house on May 31 to pick up her keys when the attack began.
In addition to the aforementioned threats, Garcia also allegedly ordered his pit bull terrier to bite the woman he was attacking after she was pushed down some stairs. The dog followed Garcia’s command to bite, but decided to chomp his owner rather than the victim. The woman escaped from the scene and police arrived to take Garcia into custody.
Garcia was released on bond, and ultimately reunited with his canine companion.
“From what I have heard, there was no reason to believe the dog would be in any danger in returning it to the owner. As for the owner, he has a right to have his property returned. Animals in New Mexico are considered personal property,” said Curtis Childress, Animal Cruelty Coordinator for the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office.
The shelter, not the police or the Animal Control department, was responsible for returning the pet to Garcia after determining that the animal was not a significant threat to society.