Police: Man strangled dog to death; threw body in bushes

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LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) – A man is accused of hanging his Chihuahua with a leash and throwing its lifeless body into some bushes in Lake Wales, according to an affidavit.

Lake Wales police received surveillance video from someone who witnessed the incident, which occurred on Sunday in the 700 block of Miami Street.

Police said the video showed 36-year-old Cesar Cruz Sanchez pulling the dog by the leash while the dog resisted walking.

Police said Cruz Sanchez lifted the animal up by the leash and began shaking it violently. Then he wrapped the leash around the dog’s neck and lifted it into the air “with approximately one foot of slack from the leash,” the affidavit stated.

After “strangulating” the animal, police said Cruz Sanchez threw its body into some bushes near a pond. He looked back a couple times, but did not attempt to rescue the dog, police said in the affidavit.

Cruz Sanchez told police he was mad at the dog for laying down on some furniture. He admitted to lifting the Chihuahua by the leash and shaking and throwing it, but said he did not know whether the dog was dead or alive.

He said he felt bad, and wanted to go back to the pond to find the dog and repent for what he did, according to the affidavit.

Police said Cruz Sanchez was aware he could surrender the dog to Animal Control, but was not thinking clearly due to his anger and desperation.

Cruz Sanchez was arrested on one count of felony cruelty to a dog. He is being held at a Polk County jail without bond.

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