Authorities in Riverside County are seeking a man wanted on felony animal cruelty charges for allegedly beating a dog with a shovel and tossing it over a fence into the desert.
The dog, a 3-year-old male terrier mix, was retrieved by animal services last week after a neighbor called 911 to report the incident in Whitewater, a remote area of Riverside County between Cabazon and Palm Springs. The dog died from the injuries two days later.
FOR THE RECORD
An earlier version of this article indicated the dog had died in the desert after being thrown over the fence. The animal actually died at a vet hospital two days later.
Riverside County authorities charged Efren Rodriguez Martinez, 53, with felony animal cruelty with an allegation of personal use of a weapon, according to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services. A warrant was issued for his arrest.
Martinez was at large after sheriff's deputies were unable to locate him Friday, said animal services spokesman John Welsh.
The dog didn't have an owner but was fed and cared for by several of Martinez's neighbors, according to the department.
If convicted, Martinez, who has a prior burglary conviction from 1986, could face up to eight years in prison, authorities say.