Suspect in recorded dog beating calls pit bull his 'best friend'
Suspect claims it was a one-time beating that took place immediately following the dog snapping at his nine-day-old son.
The former York City man who was captured beating a dog in a video that later went viral said he knows he was wrong, and that he had momentarily lost his cool with the pit bull after it snapped at his infant son.
Luis Junior Cruz-Padro, 28, surrendered Monday to face a first-degree misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty. He was arraigned Monday and released on $15,000 unsecured bail. Cruz-Padro's preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 5 before District Justice Ronald J. Haskell.
Cruz-Padro, who was born in Puerto Rico but has been living in York since he was 4, said he acted out of instinct after Bugz, the 1½-year-old white pit bull seen being abused in the video, attacked his 9-day-old son. He said it was the only time he's ever hit the dog, who he'd been around since the dog was just 5 weeks old.
"I know I'm wrong for (hitting Bugz)," Cruz-Padro said. "He was my best friend."
Bugz, who Cruz-Padro did not legally own, was repeatedly punched, hit and whipped Dec. 12 in the back yard of 23 E. South St. in what Melissa Smith, executive director of the York County SPCA, called deliberate, repeated and prolonged abuse.
He suffered a broken rib and bruising to his side but will make a full recovery, she said.
Smith said she's relieved that Cruz-Padro surrendered and is taking responsibility for his actions.
Since the video of the beating went viral on Dec. 14, Cruz-Padro said he and his family have gotten many threats, including one man pointing a gun at him before the SPCA took the dogs away. He is currently residing at a home on Walnut Bottom Road in West Manchester Township with a friend to escape the threats.
A 2½-minute video of the beating prompted the York County SPCA, York City Police and a mob of concerned people to gather at the East South Street home, where SPCA Humane Society Police Officer Nicole (Boyer) Lawrence took Bugz, as well his 8- to 10-week-old daughter, now named Willa, into custody.
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