FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – A California family is grieving the death of their 16-year-old Yorkshire terrier after they say he was killed by the hands of their pool technician.
A surveillance camera outside the Fresno home captured the dog alive, and then, within minutes, the suspect can be seen disposing of the dog’s body in a trash can near the curb.
After making a confession and turning himself in to the police on Thursday night, 23-year-old Aaron Cumpton is now facing a felony charge of animal cruelty.
Pictures that Kim Garcia’s family has of their beloved dog Artie are all that is left for them to remember him by.
Garcia described Artie as a loving companion who gave her family 16 years’ worth of memories.
“You know, I have to explain to my 4-year-old son that he’s not here anymore, and I don’t know how I’m going to explain that to him.”
Garcia said she’s been left with a devastating image burned into her mind – their family dog being dumped into a trash can caught on camera.
“I never thought my dog would be murdered, no,” Garcia said.
The Garcia family was on vacation in Dallas, Texas when Artie was allegedly killed. Their dog sitter noticed Tuesday evening that Artie had gone missing so Garcia checked her surveillance camera.
“You know, I got excited because I was like oh, cool, the pool guy got him, oh cool, he’s got him, or maybe he took him back to the business,” she said. “And then my heart dropped when I realized what actually happened.”
As she continued to watch her hope turned into her worst fear. Her pool technician was at the home when Artie had escaped from the backyard.
Video surveillance shows Cumpton grabbing Artie, then looking at Garcia’s house where no one was home.
“It took me a minute to register it but I was furious when I realized what he was doing.”
Cumpton then leaves the view of the camera for several minutes before he is seen again going to his truck to retrieve a cell phone.
Shortly after, Cumpton is seen carrying Artie’s limp body which he places inside the trash can.
“I obviously expected to lose him at some point,” Garcia said of her beloved 16-year-old pet. “I thought it would be to old age and a decision that we would’ve made, but that was completely taken away from us.”
Garcia said she is disgusted by what was captured on her surveillance camera and filed a report with the Fresno Police Department.
The officer in charge of the investigation called her after Cumpton made a confession.
“He wanted to come clean about the whole incident, he said he was forcing the dog into the doggie door when the dog nipped him, that anger caused him to strangle him and put my dog in the trash can.”
She said she now wants justice and not in the form of an apology.
“He said that he wanted to apologize by writing a letter to the family and I said we are uninterested in that.”
Garcia said she thinks Cumpton is “a monster.”
“I know he’s not going to get what he deserves because I know the way the law works, the repercussions are less, but clearly the person who did this is a monster,” she added.
Cumpton’s employer, Pure Water Pools provided this statement following the incident:
“We have since suspended the employee pending the results of the Fresno Police Department’s investigation. We will continue to work with authorities to ensure that this incident is handled appropriately and that justice is served.”
In the meantime, Artie’s painful absence is setting in.
When the Garcia family returned from vacation, Artie wasn’t there – his body had already been picked up by their trash company.
Garcia said she was saddened that she couldn’t give Artie a proper burial and held onto one sliver of hope that they will someday see him again.
“I love him so much, he’ll forever be in my heart, I’ll never forget him, and that hopefully, we get to meet again someday.”