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Suspect Wanted For Fatally Beating Dog With Shovel Is Arrested

WHITEWATER ( – The suspect wanted for the fatal beating of a dog with a shovel last month has been arrested, according to authorities.

Efren Rodriguez Martinez was arrested in Coachella Wednesday on his 54th birthday.

Martinez is accused of using a shovel to beat a 3-year-old terrier mix named Rusty on June 8.

3-year-old terrier beaten with shovel
(credit: Riverside County Dept. of Animal Services)

The dog died two days later.

Animal Services said no one officially owned Rusty but that many neighbors shared in his care and feeding.

Authorities said Martinez has a prior arrest and conviction for first-degree burglary (in 1986).

A neighbor told officials last month that they saw Martinez toss the dog over his  back fence. The witness also told an Animal Services Officer that he heard the dog being hit and also witnessed the dog being hit moments later.

Related Link: Dog Beaten With Shovel, Dumped In Backyard Dies At Indio Hospital

Officer Kyle Stephens said he'd never seen a dog in such bad condition except for those that had been hit by a car.

"To think that a person caused the level of serious trauma to this innocent dog is mind blowing," he said.


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