Deputies: Arizona man used starving dog as bait to win back ex

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A Glendale man is facing charges after authorities say he starved his dog to death and sent a graphic image of the emaciated canine to an ex-girlfriend to try to win her back.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said Luis Moreno, 38, was arrested Wednesday after he turned over his pit bull terrier named Wiggles to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control as a stray.

According to deputies, Moreno and his girlfriend adopted Wiggles in 2008. Authorities say the couple broke up in 2012 but Moreno kept Wiggles.

Police say after failed attempts to win her back, Moreno started to use Wiggles as bait and sent her a picture of the starving dog.

"In Wiggles case, it was organ failure," Animal Care and Control spokeswoman Melissa Gable said. "On top of that, she had tick fever and Valley fever. We found a medical foster so that she could hopefully try to rehabilitate outside of the shelter."

However, after two months of care, Wiggles had to be euthanized.

"It is sick and bizarre, what some people do to animals, how they use and abuse them," Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a news release.

Moreno is facing domestic violence and animal cruelty charges.

It was not known if he had an attorney.

"It's horrible," Gable said. "I think it's just so sad to try and use an animal as a ploy to get someone back into your life."