Police in Arvin investigate dead dog found inside animal control vehicle

Chihuahua found dead in truck

ARVIN, Calif. - The City of Arvin’s only-animal control officer has been arrested and faces a number of domestic abuse charges and now there's an investigation into the death of a dog found inside his work vehicle.

It’s unclear if the dog found inside that animal control vehicle was dead or alive when officer Timothy Garza was picked up by Bakersfield Police more than a week ago.         

On March 5th, Garza, a community service officer in charge of Arvin's Animal Control Unit was responding to a seriously injured animal call.

“He came in, took the dog and when he came back, as soon as he arrived the bakersfield police department detectives were waiting for him," said Louis Cobarruviaz, Chief-of-Police of Arvin.

Garza was arrested on suspicion of domestic abuse, assault with a deadly weapon and imprisonment after officers say he threaten his victim.  Co-workers say they're shocked over the allegations.

"Mr. Garza is very hard working.  In addition to being responsible for animal control he was transporting evidence and property to the courts.  He was supervising the work release program," he said.

Investigators say the dead dog found inside Garza's truck was reported by a city employee. 

"We're trying to determine who put the animal in there and when.  We've checked the police logs, we're going to ask each of the sergeants from the various shifts to ask the officers if they are aware of who or if they put the animal in there after it was deceased," he said.

The animal control truck is equipped with providing enough air for the animals and the police chief says no dog or cat are kept in the vehicle for any long period of time.

"As long as the motor is going and so forth, it does have air conditioning in the back as well as the front, and it's also ventilated so air can get inside it," said Cobarruviaz.

Arvin's animal control unit picks up more than 650 dogs and cats every year.

"It's a farming community and people are used to, in some cases, not securing dogs the way they should.  Some people are new arrivals, they haven't learned the laws or permits needed in the city,” he said.

Employees with public works in Arvin are now handling animal control.  Meanwhile, we did reach out to Garza, but he refused an on-camera interview with us.

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