A Riverside man was arrested after he slashed the throat of a neighbor's pit bull after it had fatally attacked his poodle, officials said.
The pit bull later died of its injuries.
At around 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, the pit bull's owner came out of her house when she heard a disturbance and saw her dog was holding a neighbor's poodle in its mouth by the neck, according to notes taken by Officer Max Morales of Animal Services.
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The poodle's owner, Rudy Jesus Barajas of Riverside, 30, along with two other neighbors, attempted to free the poodle from the pit bull's maw, according to Morales.
After the pit bull had released the poodle, Barajas dragged it into his house from the street and slit its throat with a knife, according to a statement given by the poodle owner to Morales.
The pit bull then ran back to its owner and collapsed. The owner took the dog to the veterinarian but it died on the way there, officials said.
Barajas' stepfather, Raul Romero, told Morales that "the poodle was in its rightful property when the pit bull entered the yard and attacked." He also said the pit bull tried to bite Barajas.
The poodle was still alive after it was released by the pit bull but subsequently died of its injuries.
The pit bull's owner, Carina Garcia, said she owns up for what her dog, Devo, did, but cannot forgive her neighbor for his actions.
"Maybe an apology wouldn't hurt because I think I owe them an apology too because of what my dog did to them," she said.
Barajas was arrested at his home in the 4900 block of Hollyhock Lane on suspicion of animal cruelty.
California law allows property owners to protect themselves and their pets when attacked. However, the deliberate killing of an animal can result in felony charges.
"He was always very joyful," Garcia said. "I lost what kept me happy and what reminded me of him."
Animal services concluded that the attack on the pit bull was not defensive and only prolonged the incident.
Barajas was booked on suspicion of felony animal cruelty at the Robert Presley Detention Center and was released after posting a $10,000 bail. He would not respond to requests for comment from NBC4.
Riverside County Animal Services said Garcia could also be cited for not having her dog on a leash.