PHOENIX - A Valley man accused of starving his dog to try to persuade his ex-girlfriend to return to him has been arrested.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says 38-year-old Luis Moreno was taken into custody Wednesday at his workplace in south Phoenix. He is now facing one count each of domestic violence and animal cruelty.
According to MCSO, ‘Wiggles,’ a pit bull terrier was adopted in 2008 by Moreno and his live-in girlfriend.
The relationship faltered in 2012 and the couple separated, with the dog staying with the suspect.
Sheriff’s detectives learned that shortly after the breakup, Moreno began calling and texting his ex-girlfriend trying to reconcile, and when that didn’t work, he resorted to using Wiggles as bait.
At one point, Moreno sent a text message that read “Wiggles is dead, I hope you’re happy…” then told his ex-girlfriend the dog was fine when she finally called him back.
At another point, Moreno reportedly told his ex-girlfriend the dog was again sick and he didn’t have the money to pay for the care Wiggles needed.
His ex-girlfriend offered to help, but when his request for a dinner date was denied, Moreno refused her help and said the dog was fine.
As a last-ditch effort to save the relationship, the suspect sent a picture of Wiggles showing the dog severely emaciated.
Animal Crimes detectives found that the man had turned Wiggles over to Animal Care and Control as a stray after accepting the relationship with his ex-girlfriend was over.
“It is sick and bizarre, what some people do to animals, how they use and abuse them,” stated Sheriff Joe Arpaio. “
Wiggles was severely emaciated and had to be euthanized shortly after being accepted to the shelter.