A man is facing animal cruelty charges in California after police say he bound a Chihuahua and reportedly kicked the dog repeatedly, according to a Santa Ana Police Department release.
The incident was reported on Sunday night, and police say they found the suspect, Jose Manuel Pantoja, standing over the dog at the scene. The dog was bound using wires and a bungee cord, police say.
“He basically used the dog as a soccer ball,” Cpl. Anthony Bertagna told the media, according to a video published by Los Angeles TV station KTLA.
Pantoja, 28, told officers that he did not own the dog.
On Monday, the dog’s owner was located and police learned that the dog was named Max. The Chihuahua had escaped from a longterm home through an open gate, police say.
Santa Ana Police posted a video of Max being reunited with his owner to Instagram on Tuesday: “After going thru a traumatic event Max🐾 is on the mend and has been reunited with his family!”
KTLA reports Max had a broken pelvis and multiple other injuries.
Owner Stephany Chavez was thankful to be reunited with her pet, the station reports: “I didn’t think I would see him again, but here he is,” Chavez told the station. “I’m just glad he’s OK and he’s not any worse than this.”
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