SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A 19-year-old Arizona student has been arrested and now faces animal cruelty charges after police say he abused his emotional support dog.
Netzer Villagomez, a student at Grand Canyon University, was arrested Sept. 22 after an Arizona Humane Society Animal Cruelty Investigator responded to reports of animal abuse involving a pug named Miso, an emotional support dog.
Miso was examined by an AHS veterinarian, who said she found two fractured ribs, a fractured pelvis, and fractured tooth. Blood work also revealed elevated liver values indicating acute injuries.
Police said Villagomez admitted to hanging Miso by its collar and leash, with all four legs off the ground, on two occasions for several seconds each time. Police say he also admitted to harming the dog on purpose.
Villagomez sent photos of the reported abuse to another person, police added.
Villagomez has been charged with Animal Cruelty, which went from a Class 6 to Class 5 Felony in Arizona last August. This means that such crimes cannot be dropped to a misdemeanor and may included jail time or supervised probation or treatment, according to the law. He's the first person to be arrested under the new penalties.
Grand Canyon University released a statement to 10News, saying Villagomez had been expelled following his arrest.
"GCU Public Safety became aware of an incident involving Netzer Villagomez and immediately took possession of his emotional support animal to ensure its safety. The animal was turned over to the Arizona Humane Society and Mr. Villagomez was removed from campus. Mr. Villagomez has since been expelled from the university following his arrest by the Phoenix Police Department. Phoenix PD is handling any further actions associated with this matter."
Miso will remain in AHS' care indefinitely, the humane society says.