NM Pound Returns Hero Puppy to Abuser

Gabriel Garcia of Las Cruces, NM was indicted by a grand jury last month on one count of first-degree kidnapping, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, battery, criminal sexual contact and assault. The indictment stems from a May 31 incident in which a female victim reported that she was held in Garcia’s home against her will while he physically assaulted her, made sexual advances toward her and threatened her with further harm if she told anyone about the crimes. At one point during the ordeal, Garcia allegedly ordered his 9 month old pitbull puppy to bite the victim but the dog bit Garcia instead. This allegedly further enraged Garcia further who grabbed a hammer and stepped up his threats.

The victim was finally able to escape the home and police arrested Garcia, who bonded out of jail. AC impounded the dog for a standard 10 day bite quarantine at the city shelter in Las Cruces. At the end of the quarantine, the pound gave the dog back to Garcia.

“From what I have heard, there was no reason to believe the dog would be in any danger in returning it to the owner,” [Curtis] Childress [Animal Cruelty Coordinator for the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office],wrote in an email. “As for the owner, he has a right to have his property returned. Animals in New Mexico are considered personal property.”

No reason to believe the dog would be in any danger from a violent twit who is likely holding a grudge against the dog.

“Animal Control had no cause to keep the dog,” Childress wrote in an email. “The decision to return it would have come from the animal shelter.” […]

Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley, the shelter that housed the dog, did not reply to a request for comment. Childress speculates that it’s “unlikely” the shelter hesitated to return the animal.

No hesitation.  Because a dog is exactly like a lamp.

The Las Cruces pound states on its website:

The Mission of the Animal Service Center of the Mesilla Valley is to provide safe shelter for all lost, mistreated, and abandoned animals of the Mesilla Valley and surrounding communities. The Center (ASCMV) utilizes all avenues available to it in placing each animal into a safe, loving and permanent home whenever possible. We strive to meet highest standards of humane animal care and to promote responsible pet ownership through public education and outreach.

Safe shelter for mistreated animals.  Safe and loving home.  Responsible pet ownership.

It’s not at all clear to me how returning the dog to Garcia is in any way consistent with the stated mission.  ASCMV had a dog who was being mistreated by the owner – and make no mistake, anyone who attempts to sic his dog on a victim he’s hoping to rape is mistreating that animal – but instead of protecting that dog, they returned him to the abuser.

This failure is the result of a culture of killing within our broken shelter system.  Animals are devalued to the point where anyone on the job who might care is broken down and made complicit and monsters who actually enjoy hurting animals are attracted to the job.  Within this backwards structure where animals are supposed to be protected but instead are killed for convenience on a mass scale, is it so surprising that no one would “hesitate” to return an animal to an abuser?  Because in the end, what’s the difference?

(Thanks Arlene for sending me this story.)

9 thoughts on “NM Pound Returns Hero Puppy to Abuser

  1. There’s also this from the article on the return, the rest of Childress’s statement:

    “We have taken many animals in that we did not return to the owners for various reasons, and [the shelter] would call the owners and tell them to come get them or they were going to kill [the pets],” he said. “We had to start getting court orders to stop this from happening.”

    So. Evidently in the past there had been attempts to hold pets involved in cases rather than return them to their owners, but the shelter wouldn’t cooperate – and threatened pets and owners – to the extent that multiple court orders were issued against them. And now it looks like rather than deal with it, they’re releasing pets back to their owners immediately.

    Court orders aren’t nearly as easy to obtain as implied in popular media, so I’m thinking this could well be the tip of a much larger crapsicle.

  2. The shelter may have complied with the law, but this is a living animal! I believe he’s in danger since he bit the owner! Please contact Lt. Ward to complain. Curtis Childers is a stupid SOB and should not be allowed to make decisions. Laws are often wrong and we need to look into this even if it’s just a dog! Lt. Ward is Childers’ supervisor and can be contacted at 1-575-525-8846! Law or not, I feel this animals’ law is at stake! When I contacted the Shelter, they said they never know why the dog is there and have no option but to return the dog is the owner claims it. Again, nobody cares about the dog, he’s not important! Please call. If we make enough noise maybe this action can be corrected! I am totally disgusted and furious!

  3. What a great relationship Childress – the Animal Cruelty Coordinator for the Sheriff Dept. has with Animal Control. THEY want to hold a dog for a case and the shelter calls the owner to come and get their pets or they will kill them. I haven’t worked in ONE county that has a Animal Cruelty Coordinator position! So they must have tons of cruelty cases – and this person Childress STILL has no working relationship with the shelter? So give the property back to the abuser because yes – the shelter will just kill it anyway.

  4. How long ago was the dog returned to this violent man (who should be in jail)?  Where is the dog now?    Jacqueline O’Connor POB 2552 Sierra Vista, AZ 85636 (520) 335-2499   The greatest menace to freedom is inert people. (Louis Brandeis, 1927) No one loves armed missionaries.  (Maximilien Robespierre)   If the good people don’t go into politics, the scoundrels surely will.       (Judge    Levi S. Udall).  Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power.  (Bradley Manning, 8/21/13)      



Leave a Reply