An Arizona man has been arrested after he allegedly starved his dog in a failed attempt to win back his ex-girlfriend, sheriff's authorities said.
Wiggles, a blond brindle pit bull terrier, was found by the sheriff's animal crimes unit severely emaciated. The dog had to be euthanized.
Maricopa County sheriff's deputies arrested Luis Moreno on charges of starving his dog, then allegedly using that graphic image to send text messages to his ex-girlfriend to try to win her back.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio called it a form of domestic violence.
Moreno and his live-in girlfriend had adopted Wiggles in 2008, sheriff's detectives said. In 2012, the couple separated but Moreno kept the dog.
Sheriff's investigators said that shortly after the breakup, Moreno began calling and texting his ex-girlfriend, trying to reconcile the broken relationship.
When his advances didn't work, Moreno used Wiggles as bait, MCSO said.
At one point, Moreno sent a text message that read, "Wiggles is dead. I hope you're happy b----."
After his ex-girlfriend called him back, Moreno claimed that the dog was fine, sheriff's investigators said.
At another point, Moreno had explained to his ex-girlfriend that Wiggles was again sick and that he didn't have the money to pay for what was needed, MCSO said.
His ex-girlfriend offered to help but when his request for a dinner date was rejected, he refused her help and said the dog was fine, sheriff's deputies said.
Moreno then sent a picture of Wiggles to his ex-girlfriend as a last-ditch effort to win her back, MCSO said.
"It is sick and bizarre, what some people do to animals, how they use and abuse them," Arpaio said.
Arpaio's Animal Crimes Detectives said they found that Moreno, after finally accepting that the relationship was off, had turned Wiggles over to Animal Care and Control as a stray.
Moreno was arrested at his job on Wednesday. Authorities said they found a plastic bag in his pocket containing marijuana.
He was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on charges of cruel neglect and possession of marijuana.
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