ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Police arrested a Round Rock man, accused of “knowingly and recklessly” torturing his dog, including running him over with his truck and dragging him nearly a mile by his leash.
According to official police documents, several witnesses observed 28-year-old Zager Yuseth Zelaya-Rubio drag his white Bull Terrier mix, “Champ”, down the street in Round Rock. Witnesses told officers the dog was “tethered to the vehicle” and the dog got caught up in the wheel well and ejected to the road.
Officers arriving on scene applied pressure to the dog’s wounds and used medical tools to slow the bleeding. The affidavit shows Champ also had bones protruding with large burns and lacerations throughout his body.
“It was severe, severe injuries and traumas, not only to its paws, but its hind legs as well,” said Officer John Schultz with the Round Rock Police Department. “Just because he’s an animal, that’s no different than the same care we would give a human being if we saw those injuries.”
WARNING: Graphic image of injury to dog’s paws below
Police believe Zelaya-Rubio was fully aware of the condition of his dog while he was driving and witnesses said they saw him physically react to the dog being run over. Officers confronted Zelaya-Rubio at his home where they said he lied about knowing where this dog was.
Zelaya-Rubio is facing felony cruelty to non-livestock animals charge.
According to the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter, Champ is now receiving 24-hour care by a private veterinary clinic. The WCRAS team will supervise Champ until an investigation is complete.
“Champ needs medical attention 24/7 and he needs a watchful medical eye and this is going to continue for a few days until we feel comfortable that he does not need that type of care,” said Misty Valenta, the community programs coordinator for the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.
Shelter officials say they are seeing an uptick of similar abuse cases. There are currently 40 pets within their care who are awaiting a resolution to cruelty investigations.
How you can help
The animal shelter is asking for donations to help with the around-the-clock medical care for these animals. You can make a donation to Jane’s Fund, the shelter’s medical fund, by clicking here.
Officer Schultz said that the Round Rock Police Department will also be helping with donations by partnering with the WCRAS. Within the next week, Officer Schultz said the Round Rock Police Foundation will begin taking in donations and all donations will be handed over to the shelter.
Clear the Shelters
KXAN is joining local animal shelters for the Clear the Shelters animal adoption drive this Saturday.
This is the fifth year for the nationwide effort. The goal is to encourage adopting pets that need a home.
On Saturday, participating shelters will waive or discount adoption fees. You can find a full list of the participating shelters here.