ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Blackie the dog fell victim to a domestic dispute early Monday morning when police said its owner, angry after a fight with his girlfriend, dragged the animal outside his car for three miles, stuffed its body under some bushes and fled the scene.
Bernalillo County Sheriff’s officers said they picked up Raul Marrufo, 43, as he walked along Tower Road NW while wearing a bloody T-shirt.
A short distance away, police followed a drag trail to Marrufo’s car, a gold Chrysler sedan, which sat in front of a feed store with its driver’s side window open and a bloodied leash on the ground nearby, according to the criminal complaint.
Officers said they found the small, black dog’s body under some bushes around the corner of the feed store, the complaint said.
Police said Marrufo was having an argument with his girlfriend in front of their house along Bartolo Avenue when he told her, “I’m taking Blackie,” and put the animal in his car.
He returned to the house a short while later and threw the dog out of the vehicle, claiming he had no room for the animal, the complaint said. When he sped away, the man’s girlfriend told police that the dog “took off after” the vehicle, but she later realized the dog ran at first because it was attached to the car by its leash, according to the complaint.
The posted speed limit on Old Coors Road is 45 mph.
Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Sam White said while it is possible Marrufo did not know the animal’s leash was stuck in the car when he sped off, the man’s negligence pushes the case beyond what could be considered an accident.
“He tried to hide the body and left the scene,” White said. “Those aren’t actions associated with someone who just made a mistake.”
Marrufo — who is charged with felony extreme animal cruelty — at first faced a $5,000 bond when he went before a judge Monday, but Metropolitan Court spokeswoman Janet Blair said Judge Edward Benavidez was so “disturbed” by the man’s alleged crime that he increased the bond to $15,000.
However, Marrufo used his property as collateral to post bail and is now out on bond, according to online court records.
White said the sheriff’s office created a team of 10 specially trained deputies about two months ago to aid animal welfare officers crack down on animal cruelty. He said the team sees connections between animal cruelty cases and other types of crime.
“We found a significant correlation between people who cause cruelty to animals and people who cause different types of crime,” he said.
White said the team “saturates” areas known for high rates of animal abuse and other crimes, like domestic violence, in order to prevent animal cruelty.
The allegations against Marrufo are the second instance of extreme canine cruelty in the past week.
Police are investigating the case of Tula, a 3-year-old border collie that died Friday after being shot with an arrow north of Española.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal