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Man, 28, admits to killing family dog

Madera Police Department

Ambrocio Hernandez.


Madera police arrested 28-year-old Ambrocio Hernandez on Monday night on charges of felony animal cruelty. According to the police, Ambrocio took a hammer and beat another family member’s 9-month-old lab mix puppy to death, in an alley behind their house in the 800 block of South D Street.

After his arrest Hernandez told officers he killed the the young female dog because she was pestering him and wanted to “play too much.” Police suspect he might have been in a meth induced psychotic state. Hernandez was also charged with possession of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and for driving without a driver’s license. He is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

The family said they were shocked when they came home Monday night to find several large pools of blood in their back alley and driveway, and their dog Linda missing. Officers followed the trail of blood and found the pup beaten to death and dumped in the trash bin next to the house.

Hernandez, a cousin, had recently been banned from the family property due to his extensive drug use and aggressive outbursts, and had been asked to leave the property earlier in the day, which he reportedly did.

Public information officer Sgt. Mark Trukki said officers were able to locate Hernandez and his vehicle a short time later.

“Hernandez had a large amount of blood, mostly focused around his hands and shoes.” Trukki said. “He was also in possession of a hammer which is believed to have been the weapon used.

During an interview Hernandez admitted to killing the dog.

MPD has had previous contacts with Hernandez, and on some occasions, he has been combative,” Trukki said.

The horrible incident sickened residents and police alike, and prompted news coverage from all five Fresno television stations. Hernandez was seen grinning and disorientated in a prebooking photo.

Kay Rhoads and Kirsten Gross, founding members of The Friends of Madera Animal Shelter (FMAS) volunteer group, also said they were horrified by the brutal beating and killing of the young family dog.

“I don’t know how anyone could do this to a friendly, happy family pet that only wanted attention ... wanted love and to play. This is the kind of depravity ... that drugs (can) cause. It’s sickening. This could have also been a child. Who knows ... what he could have done? We also are here speaking out to let the public know that our FMAS volunteer group has a standing $1,000 cash reward for information leading to any arrest with conviction in a crime of felony animal abuse. A $500 cash reward for an arrest and a conviction in a case of cockfighting,” Rhoads said. “We need our residents to help us look out for Madera’s animals. Please call authorities if you see something or know something is wrong.”

Kirsten Gross, also the director of Madera County Animal Services, said she hoped Hernandez faced serious consequences for his actions, which constituted one of the worst abuse cases the shelter had seen in recent years.

“Hopefully this won’t be just a slap on the hand for him.” Gross said. “This type of violent animal cruelty and abuse needs to be taken seriously because it is also a factor in domestic violence and (animal abuse often progresses to) the abuse of humans. This is just horrific ... what he did to this young animal, for no reason.”

The family was offered free of charge another, similar brown lab mix puppy about three months old from the animal shelter that had just been spayed, vaccinated and micro chipped, which the family accepted and took home Wednesday.

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