A man accused of killing a dog with a crowbar last month says he attacked the dog because it was killing his own dog, Chiko, a well-known Chihuahua and certified service dog.
Pat Jimenez, 55, of Santa Fe was arrested June 30 by Tesuque Tribal Police after neighbors said they saw him hitting a 7-year-old Dalmatian mix named Spike in the head with a crowbar. Jimenez was charged with extreme cruelty to animals and was released from the Santa Fe County jail July 11 on a $25,000 surety bond.
According to Jimenez, he was doing some landscaping work at the home of his sister, Tina Luchetti, off Peak Place in a small mobile-home park near Tesuque, when he accidentally left his sister’s gate open and then noticed that his 6-year-old applehead Chihuahua was missing.
Just down the road, Albert Garcia’s dog, Spike, had gotten ahold of Chiko, Jimenez said.
Garcia, who was not home at the time, said neighbors who saw Jimenez on his property did not hear any other dog whimpering. “My dog was tied up,” Garcia said. “My dog does not attack.”
Jimenez and his sister saw differently. Jimenez, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, ran onto Garcia’s property with what he says was a wrench to get his dog. Jimenez says he hit Spike on the head “two or three times” in order to get Chiko out of the bigger dog’s mouth.
“I didn’t mean to hurt that dog,” Jimenez said this week. “I want to tell [Garcia] I’m sorry, I didn’t want to hurt him.”
Jimenez said he then ran back to his sister’s property, and by the time he was there, Chiko had died in his arms.
Six years ago, a family member offered Jimenez the puppy for free. Jimenez figured he could sell the purebred dog for $500, so he took him.
“But when I first saw him, I said, ‘Oh my God, he’s cute,’ ” Jimenez said of the 4-pound puppy.
Jimenez had Chiko trained to become a service dog in Kansas, and Chiko became a well-known face around the Plaza. Jackie Rivera, business manager and operations manager for The Salvation Army of Santa Fe, said Jimenez and Chico volunteered for her for the past three winters collecting donations at various stores around town.
“No matter where we staffed Pat, they made allowances for Chiko,” Rivera said. “I was shocked and saddened to hear Chiko had died.”
Jimenez said tourists would line up to take photos with Chiko in his many costumes, some handmade by Jimenez. Luchetti said the two were inseparable and that Jimenez could always be seen riding his bike with a little box fastened to the back, carrying Chiko. “He was Pat’s right arm,” Luchetti said.
Jimenez, his sister and his brother-in-law immediately buried Chiko in Luchetti’s backyard after he was killed. Jimenez, Luchetti said, was “crying and going crazy.” Jimenez said he went back to Garcia’s property with the wrench in his hand and noticed that Spike was convulsing on the ground. Jimenez said he thought the dog wasn’t going to make it, so he hit Spike a few more times to put him out of his misery.
After that, he said, he went back to his sister’s home and told her “the police will be arriving soon.”
Garcia said this week that he still believes Jimenez may have entered his property to commit a burglary.
An earlier report of Spike’s death indicated Jimenez may have entered the property by jumping a fence, but both Jimenez and Luchetti denied this.
Jimenez has a criminal history that includes charges on two counts of battery on a household member and two charges of abandonment or abuse of a child. Court records show he was convicted of one battery charge stemming from a November 2010 incident. He also was convicted for driving driving while intoxicated in 2006.
Six other criminal cases listed in court records show that charges against Jimenez were either dismissed by prosecutors or by judges for unspecified reasons.
Jimenez spent 24 years in the state penitentiary and was an inmate during the prison riot in 1980, but he said his life changed when he got Chiko, and he has remained out of prison for 14 years. Phone calls to Jimenez’s public defender, Damian Horne, were not returned this week.
“He’s been trying to do good and has actually been succeeding, until now,” Luchetti said.
Garcia is still pained over the loss of Spike, whom he had owned for six years. He said Spike was a “very kind dog and very emotional dog.”
Contact Nico Roesler at 986-3089 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nicoroesler.