A Moreno Valley man accused of attacking his girlfriend and trying to strangle a sheriff's canine that intervened must stand trial on several charges, including battery and willful injury to a law enforcement dog, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Matthew Eric Ruvalcaba, 22, was arrested last Sept. 9 in the 24300 block of Carman Lane, near St. Croix Street, in Moreno Valley.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Thomas Kelly found there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on the canine assault count, as well as battery on a domestic partner, false imprisonment and two counts of resisting arrest. He scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for April 3 at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
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According to sheriff's Sgt. Chris Willison, deputies were sent to the Carman Lane address about 1:30 a.m. to investigate reports of suspicious activity in a vehicle.
Willison said deputies encountered Ruvalcaba inside the car, holding his girlfriend against her will. The woman managed to break away from the defendant as deputies attempted to subdue him, but when the victim bolted from the vehicle, Ruvalcaba chased after her, according to the sergeant.
"Deputies attempted to prevent the suspect from harming the victim; however, the suspect fought with them,'' he said.
During the ensuing struggle, a K9 unit arrived, and a deputy set loose his partner, a Belgian Malinois named Herbie.
"The suspect fought with Herbie and got a hold of Herbie's leash and attempted to wrap it around his neck to strangle Herbie,'' the sergeant alleged.
Deputies ultimately wrestled Ruvalcaba to the ground and handcuffed him. He was not injured, nor was the woman, whose name was withheld.
Herbie was taken to a veterinary clinic for an examination and was cleared to return to duty two days later, according to sheriff's officials.
Ruvalcaba, who is free on a $25,000 bond, has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.