A Riverside man who slashed a pit bull to death after it attacked and killed his poodle was sentenced Friday to three years probation.
Rudy Jesus Barajas, 32, was convicted in February of two counts of animal cruelty and a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony.
Along with the probation term, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Prevost ordered Barajas to serve six months in a sheriff’s work release program in lieu of jail. Prevost additionally stipulated that Barajas not have contact or own any animals for at least one year.
According to the county Department of Animal Services, about 10 a.m. on Dec. 24, 2016, Barajas’ poodle was in front of his house in the 4900 block of Hollyhock Lane, near Pierce Street, roaming around the yard, when it was spotted by the 2-year-old pit bull — “Devo” — prompting the larger canine to trot out of its yard and onto Barajas’ property.
Devo attacked the poodle, clamping down on its neck and carrying it into the street, according to animal services Officer Max Morales.
Barajas, his stepfather and another man heard the poodle yelping and ran to its aid, using physical force on Devo in an attempt to free the small dog, Morales said.
The pitbull’s owner, a woman whose name was not released, heard the commotion and emerged from her house, witnessing Barajas pulling Devo onto his property, where the canine finally let go of the fatally injured poodle.
Witnesses told animal control and police officers that Barajas dragged Devo into his kitchen, grabbed a knife and slit the dog’s throat.
According to Morales, Devo staggered back onto his owner’s lawn and collapsed. The woman loaded him into her vehicle and headed for a veterinary clinic, but the pit died en route.
At the time, investigators stated that Barajas had the right to defend his pet and safely free it but not to employ deadly force after the poodle had been released.
Barajas was arrested without incident that afternoon and posted bail on Christmas Day.
Barajas has no documented prior felony or misdemeanor convictions.