Man Who Shockingly Abandoned His Dog in Broad Daylight Has Been Arrested and Charged, Police Say
"It makes me sick to my stomach."
A Texas man who was caught on video abandoning his dog in broad daylight has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty, police say. Ramiro Zuniga, 41, was arrested by Dallas police on March 11. He is accused of leaving his German Shepherd by the side of the road and driving off, even as witnesses shouted at him to stop, authorities said.
The video was captured three days earlier and went viral, attracting the attention of PETA, which offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Read on to find out more about the case, including how police tracked down the suspect and why this isn't an isolated incident.
Left By the Side of the Road
Police have connected Zuniga to a video released on Friday by the Dowdy Ferry Animal Commission, a local animal welfare organization that set up cameras in a spot that has become a dumping ground for animals. In the video, a man driving a white SUV pulls over to the side of the road, removes a young German Shepherd mix from the back, and leaves it there. He then drives away while witnesses shout at him. The dog briefly ran into traffic chasing after the SUV but was rescued by the DFAC and taken to Dallas Animal Services.
"It Makes Me Sick to My Stomach"
"That was an intentional dump and he did not want to be caught. And he did not want that dog, and he made that clear," the DFCA's Jeremy Boss told local station WFAA about the man in the video. "It makes me sick to my stomach when I see people that will take the time to take their dog, drive out here, and throw it out like trash like Dowdy Ferry is known for," he added.
PETA Offered Reward
The animal organization released the video on Friday. Soon after, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) offered a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the suspect's arrest. "Our dogs rely on us to protect them, but instead, this man dumped this dog on the side of the road, leaving him to chase after the car—and likely the only family he's ever known," says PETA Senior Vice President Colleen O'Brien, in a press release. "This is an egregious betrayal of a dog's trust, and PETA urges anyone who recognizes this dog or the man who abandoned him to come forward immediately."
Traced Vehicle Leads to Arrest
Police were able to trace Zuniga's vehicle to his home and executed a search warrant the next morning, CBS News reported. He was taken into custody and is being held at the Dallas County Jail. Zuniga has been charged with cruelty to non-livestock animals. According to Texas law, "abandoning an animal in the person's custody without making reasonable arrangements for assumption of custody by another person" is a Class A misdemeanor. The charge can be upgraded to a felony if the accused is a repeat offender.
"What a Monster"
Commenters on the DFAC's Facebook page expressed shock and dismay at the contents of the video. "Infuriating. Heartbreaking to see innocence running after the truck, hopeful," said one. "What a monster disposing of a beautiful dog like that… shameful," declared another commenter. "What a cruel individual, he has enough money for a decent car but couldn't take the poor dog to a shelter, makes my blood boil. Look at the poor soul run after him with his tail waggling," said another.
RELATED: 36 Latest Bone Chilling Details About the Idaho Murder Case
"They Have No Conscience"
Animal dumping is an ongoing problem in the area. According to WFAA, cameras set up by the Dallas Police and the DFAC captured a similar incident in November that is unsolved. In that video, a man in a dark sedan also left a German Shepherd by the side of the road. That dog was hit and killed by a passing car. "People that dump dogs, they have no conscience," Boss told the news outlet. "Either that or they have no brain. I don't understand the logic in doing it."