Phoenix police arrest owner of pit bull found living in garbage

Phoenix police.
Phoenix police.

Police arrested the owner of a pit bull that was found living in layers of feces, garbage and urine with no food or water on the back patio of the home near 43rd Avenue and Camelback Road, according to court documents.

Phoenix police officers arrested 21-year-old Xavier Rodriguez in his home on Sunday after responding to calls of an injured animal. Rodriguez was the owner of the pit bull.

When officers arrived at Rodriguez's home on Jan. 29, they found the gray pit bull, later identified as Drako, who looked very skinny and malnourished. Officers could clearly see his spine, ribs and hips and the dog had no muscle mass, according to court documents. The officers believed Drako's condition was the result of not being fed properly.

Officers began an animal cruelty investigation and detained Rodriguez, who also owned the home.

In an interview, Rodriguez said he had owned Drako for two years and began noticing a decline in the dog's health about a month ago, according to court documents.

Rodriguez said he believed his dog had a disease and tried calling an animal hospital but could not take Drako to get help because the medical bills were too expensive. He also claimed he fed Drako twice a day and only put him on the back patio to use the bathroom, according to a post-arrest interview.

Rodriguez also said in the interview that Drako is picky and doesn't always eat when fed, according to court documents.

When Rodriguez was arrested, officers found a black handgun in his left pants pocket. Rodriguez was prohibited from possessing firearms due to a prior incident, court documents said. Rodriguez told officers he was walking inside with the black handgun after retrieving it from the car for his wife, admitting he was a prohibited possessor, according to court documents.

Rodriguez was booked into the Cactus Park Precinct on suspicion of one charge of animal cruelty and one charge of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, according to police.

Drako was taken to an animal hospital for treatment after the arrest, according to police.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Phoenix police arrest owner of pit bull found living in trash, feces