Tick-infested dog’s death lands Mercedes man with animal cruelty charge

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Agapito Javier Alfaro

A 45-year-old Mercedes man was charged with animal cruelty Wednesday after police found his dog severely infested with ticks and malnourished, leading to the dog’s death.

Agapito Javier Alfaro was taken into custody Wednesday on the animal cruelty charge, according to a criminal complaint.

A police officer arrived at 619 N. Washington Ave. in Mercedes around 11: 34 a.m. Friday, Sept.1 in reference to a welfare check on a canine. At the residence, he observed a white dog chained underneath the porch of the residence. Although he observed the dog to have food and water it appeared to be thin and missing fur, the complaint said.

The officer was unable to contact Alfaro, the owner of the dog, due to the canine blocking the entrance.

Two other officers went back to the residence at around 3 p.m. the same day and determined the canine to be in “extremely poor health,” police said in the complaint.

The officers observed the dog to have missing patches of fur around his body, trembling legs indicating he could barely stand up and was infested with insects, including ticks.

They also found a small metal chain that was used as both a collar and to secure the dog from moving. And they found a small amount of food and water around the area.

The dog was taken into custody by animal control after the officers were unable to contact the owner.

At around 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5, an animal control officer informed police that the canine had died due to the extent of a tick disease.

The animal control officer explained the dog was heavily infected with ticks along the spine and under the ear area which indicated it did not have proper tick care, according to the complaint.

He also added that the canine appeared to be white and pale which indicated that the dog possibly had a low blood count that was similar to anemia.

Alfaro was taken into custody on Wednesday and released the next day on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.