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EPPD: Man strangled dogs with pair of jeans, bed sheet

Detectives with the Animal Cruelty Investigative Unit charged a man with two counts of animal abuse after discovering he strangled his family’s dogs.

Jacob Rodriguez, 27, is charged with Cruelty to Animals.

Police officers responded to a family dispute at a residence on the 3800 block of Tierra Aurora shortly before noon on February 7, 2019. Officers met Rodriguez’s father, who allegdly suspected drug-induced, erratic behavior caused his son to harm the family’s dogs. The father said he lived alone at the home with his son. The father also told police Athena, a pitbull, belonged to his son and Luna, a blue heeler, belonged to him.

The father said he arrived home after leaving for a few hours to get his vehicle serviced. The father noticed Rodriguez staring at Athena before Rodriguez allegedly began to stomp and choke the pitbull.

The father said he tried to intervene, but was unable to stop Rodriguez. Fearing Rodriguez would hurt him, the father took his dog Luna to the backyard. A court document states the father left Luna in the backyard and left the home to call police and seek help.

Officers arrived at the residence and Rodriguez answered the door when they knocked. Rodriguez initially told police everything was fine, but then let the officers into the house. Upon entering the house, officers found Athena the pit bull dead on the living room floor with a pair of jeans around its neck.

Inside Rodriguez’s bedroom, the heeler mix was found dead with a bedsheet tied around its neck, police said. “It was clear the bedsheet was used to strangle Luna,” a criminal complaint states, “(Rodriguez) was the only person in the residence when both canines died.”

A court document states the father told police his son had been experiencing erratic and strange behavior and desired prosecution for the killing of the two canines. Rodriguez was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility. His bond was set at $20,000.

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