Ralph Guerrero smiled Saturday as he joined dozens of people at the corner of G and Olive streets to protest animal abuse, a day after his dog was attacked with machetes and left for dead.
“I love seeing all this, all this love and support,” Guerrero said Saturday. “It’s reassuring to see that people care.”
A day earlier, Guerrero’s 1-year-old Siberian Husky, Lucious, was tied to a fire hydrant and slashed by two men wielding machetes, according to the Merced Police Department.
Authorities euthanized the badly injured animal, police confirmed.
Investigators arrested Myron L. Pattillo, 45, and Aaron W. Carney, 29, on suspicion of animal cruelty and robbery, both felonies, in connection with the attack Friday at the corner of Austin Avenue and Conestoga Drive. Both men remained in custody Saturday afternoon at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility. Pattillo’s bail was set at $105,000 and Carney’s was listed as $55,000.
Police believe the attacked was prompted when Guerrero’s dog bit a dog owned by Pattillo earlier in the day. Guerrero said he would have been willing to pay for any medical care for the minor injury to Pattillo’s dog, but said he wanted to see the injuries and “handle things the right way.”
Guerrero was not present when his dog was attacked. A friend of his family had taken the dog for a walk in the morning and the scuffle between the two animals happened, police said.
Merced police said Pattillo and Carney caught up with the man walking Guerrero’s dog and brandished machetes. They took the dog and used its leash to tether him to the fire hydrant and attacked, investigators said.
Brian Taylor brought his 3-year-old boxer, Jack, to Saturday’s rally in Merced.
“We’d adopted Jack from Last Hope. He’d been abused, couldn’t walk, had a rod in his leg and was real skinny when we got him,” Taylor recalled. “Someone had dumped him in an orchard. He’s much better now. He’s a real big baby and he never misses a meal.”
Taylor described Friday’s violent attack as outrageous and appalling.
“It just broke my heart to read the article about Lucious,” Taylor said. “It’s just wrong and people need to stick up for these animals.”
Taylor and others had signs reminding passing motorists of another deadly attack earlier this year in Merced that left a German shepherd dead after it was beaten with a baseball bat. Tony Clendenin, 52, and his son Samuel Clendenin, 24, have pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in connection with the Jan. 16 death on Massasso Court. Both men have said they were defending themselves.
That case is still pending in Merced Superior Court.
About 50 people attended Saturday’s rally in Merced. Amanda Hage, a co-organizer of the protest, said she was pleased to see so many people come out on a hot weekend afternoon.
“I think everybody is really fed up with these just extreme cases of animal abuse and violence,” she said. “And people need an outlet to express that frustration.”
Patty Sheets of Atwater expressed her fury with a sign stating “Only Cowards Beat Animals.”
“I’m so angry about this. It’s doesn’t take a man to tie up an animal and beat it and cut it and club it,” she said while waving her sign at passing drivers. “It takes a real sick creature to do that.”
Guerrero said the outpouring of kindness and support Saturday was comforting while he and his family cope withthe shocking violence that ended the life of a loved one.
“I think it lets people know, let’s people see that these animals are not just property,” Guerrero said. “I don’t think of my dogs as property, I see them as family. And they took my family member and murdered him.”
Dog Owner Speaks Out
Ralph Guerrero’s first interview with the Sun-Star, just hours after his dog was attacked by men with machetes.
Sun-Star staff writer Rob Parsons can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or firstname.lastname@example.org.