Police said Thursday they are investigating the recent torture killing and public display of a dog on the city’s east side.
Patrol officers were dispatched to the intersection of East De La Rosa and Morales streets at 1:27 p.m. Saturday after receiving the initial call about the incident, Del Rio Police Department Capt. Bill Rattay said Thursday in an interview about the incident and subsequent investigation.
“Officers were dispatched to the intersection for a deceased dog that was hanging from a stop sign at the intersection,” DRPD Senior Officer Dulce Gonzalez, the DRPD’s public information officer, said.
“Someone saw the dog, took a photo and posted it on Facebook before calling anybody. Then they called the police department,” Rattay added.
In a photo of the scene, posted on the Facebook page of the Animal Advocacy Rescue Coalition (AARC) of Del Rio several hours after the incident was called in to police, a brown dog with a white throat is seen hanging by the neck from a red rope tied in a classic “hangman’s noose” and affixed to a metal pole holding a stop sign and street signs.
“I got a text message about the picture on Facebook, and once I took a look at it, I called the supervisor on duty and told him what was going on and to make sure that we follow proper protocol to get everything done. Animal control was called out to remove the dog from the stop sign,” Rattay said.
Gonzalez said the dog’s body appeared to have burn marks on it.
“The street department was contacted, and they removed the sign, along with the pole, so we could process it. Animal control took custody of the carcass, placed it in a freezer, in case we need it later in the investigation,” Rattay added.
Rattay said he also contacted the police department’s on-call investigator, Michelle Salinas, who is now in charge of the case.
“The investigation at this point is still ongoing. We’ve received a lot of information, but I don’t want to go into too much detail because of the nature of the case,” Rattay said.
He said the crime being investigated is called “cruelty to non-livestock animals.”
“Until Sept. 1, 2001, it was not a felony, it was a Class A misdemeanor, but House Bill 653 and Senate Bill 1724, known as ‘Loco’s Law,’ went into effect on that day, making this offense a felony punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to two years in jail. The law was named after a puppy that had its eyes intentionally gouged out,” Rattay said.
“So that’s what we’re looking at, cruelty to non-livestock animals, under the torture section, which makes it a state jail felony,” he added.
“I want to thank the public for the help that has been given so far, and we appreciate all of the information that has come in. We would ask that they allow us to complete the investigation, and once that is done, our case will be presented to the district attorney for prosecution,” Rattay said.
Asked if he anticipated any arrests, Rattay said, “I would like to say, yes, as soon as we finish up the investigation, we’re going to arrest somebody.”
Rattay said members of the public who have credible, first-hand knowledge of the incident are encouraged to call the police department at its main number, (830) 774 2711.