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Dragged Dog to Remain in AHS Protective Custody

August 9th, 2004, 12:48 PM
PHOENIX) – A dog who was tied to a pickup truck with rope and dragged on the pavement for nearly a mile on August 1 will remain in protective custody at the Arizona Humane Society – at least for now.

A Phoenix Municipal Court judge Friday upheld the seizure of the friendly female chow-mix by Phoenix police officers, and ruled that the injured dog should remain in protective custody in the AHS Second Chance Animal Hospital™.

Judge Richard Garcia stated that the dog will not be returned to her owner, Herminio Velesquez, because of her current medical condition; her need for on-going veterinary care; and for her own safety.

Velesquez had petitioned the court to regain custody of the dog pending the outcome of a possible criminal case.

Phoenix police officers seized the dog from Velesquez’s west Phoenix residence on August 1 after Velesquez and his wife allegedly dragged her for nearly a mile along the hot pavement, causing serious injuries to all four of her paws.

Phoenix Police Officer Donald Baniewicz said he responded to the call and, upon arriving at the scene, found a trail of bloody paw prints leading from the street to the backyard of the Velesquez residence. He said Velesquez told him that the dog had run away, and that he and his wife were trying to get the dog back home before going to church. The officer testified that when he asked Velesquez why he did not pick the dog up or put her in the back of his truck, Velesquez said “he didn’t think about it” and “he was going to church and did not want to get his clothes dirty.”

Dr. Raven Novak, the AHS veterinarian who treated the chow-mix when she was admitted to the hospital, testified that all four paws looked like “raw hamburger” and her nails were “torn off and bleeding profusely.” She said that after cleaning the dog’s feet and applying compression bandages, cauterization was necessary to stop the bleeding. She also testified to removing bits of asphalt, grass and dirt from the dog’s bloody wounds. Novak said the dog will require at least four more weeks of treatment. The dog’s bandages need to be changed every other day for the next several weeks, and she needs to remain on oral and topical antibiotics, as well as pain medication, for at least five to seven more days.

Ronnie McGuire, the AHS Emergency Animal Medical Technician™ who responded to the call, testified that he found the injured dog in Velesquez’s back yard and she still had rope around her neck. She was panting and bleeding but had no water and was not receiving any medical attention.

“She was lying on a patch of dirt,” he said. “I noticed her bloody, torn-up paws. It looked like the force of the ground had ripped the skin off of her paws.”

Velesquez could face felony animal-cruelty charges. If Velesquez faces criminal charges and is acquitted, he could get the dog back. If he is charged with - and convicted of, animal cruelty - he will lose custody. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on August 18 in Glendale Justice Court.

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