JEFFERSON Co., Mo. (KMOV.com) – The man arrested after a dog was found in a ditch with its legs and mouth bound with tape told police he thought law enforcement was monitoring his movements, according to court documents.
Paul Garcia, 39, of Barnhart was charged with animal abuse and armed criminal action in the case late last week. According to newly-obtained court documents, after being brought in for questioning, the suspect admitted to finding the dog underneath his truck while he was installing speakers on the vehicle.
After reportedly finding the dog, Garcia said he was concerned the dog may have had a camera attached to him, and law enforcement was monitoring his movements. Garcia said after finding the dog, he panicked and placed him in a bucket.
Court documents state that Garcia admitted to wrapping the canine’s muzzle and legs with tape. He also reportedly told officials he placed the dog in his vehicle and drove it to Highway M, where he pulled over and threw the dog out his window and onto the side of the road.
On Feb. 9, a Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy was on patrol and found the dog in the area of Old State Road and Schneider Road. The temperature was in the 30s when the deputy found the dog, and had been in the teens the night before.
The dog was on the side of the road for about 12 hours before he was found by a deputy, officials said. The animal was malnourished, and was suffering from a possible concussion.
A local animal hospital took the abused dog in for treatment. The Sheriff’s Office said he was doing much better and had become known at the hospital as “Jimmy.” Dr. Laura Ivan with Ivan Animal Hospital said she thinks Jimmy will be fine.
Authorities zeroed in on Garcia as a suspect after allegedly finding his fingerprint on the adhesive portion of the tape that was used to tie up the dog.
Friday afternoon, the sheriff’s office said they had found Jimmy’s owner. The owner, Kaitlynn Kofron, said the dog's real name is Flick. She said she is thankful that he survived. She also said his name might have to be changed to "Jimmy."
Todd Mahn, of Mahn Funeral Homes in De Soto, reportedly paid the dog's medical bills. The sheriff’s department thanked the public for help in spreading the story to help reunite the dog and owner.
Garcia is being held in the Jefferson County Jail on $50,000 cash-only bond.