A 22-year-old Hawthorne man has been accused of stomping a family’s 9-pound poodle to death during an argument about whether he could continue to live with the family’s granddaughter at their residence. Seth Estrada was arrested on Friday and charged with animal cruelty.
According to the Daily Breeze, the dog’s owner, Chuck Hayes, stated there had never been any problems with their pets until Estrada moved in with their granddaughter nearly a year ago. Suddenly the family’s animals were being injured, but the family dismissed it as accidents. When Hayes told Estrada to move out on Friday, the two argued. Later that day, Hayes said a neighbor told him, she heard Estrada punch the family dog named Rain three times; each time Rain cried out.
“Then I came home and I yelled ‘Rainy’ and she wouldn’t walk,” Hayes said. “I go, ‘what’s wrong Rainy?’ I stood her up, and she walked all crooked.”
Hayes cuddled with the dog for half an hour and when he left to pick his young grandson from school, he left Rain lying on a pillow in the house. As he went outside, Estrada ran out of the house with the dog in his arms bleeding. As he screamed at Estrada and took Rain back, the tiny dog, who slept with him every night, died in his arms.
Estrada told police he was trying to help the dog when the dog bit him. He said he accidentally fell backwards and stepped on the front of the dog’s face.
A necrospy of Rain’s body revealed the dog suffered multiple skull fractures, broken ribs, a collapsed spleen and internal bleeding – all considered intentionally done.
A further investigation is underway. Holly Hayes believes Estrada was responsible for the disappearance of one of her cats, stepping on another cat’s back and hurting its spine – the cat couldn’t walk for weeks. Another small dog in the home named Gracie had also been the victim of abuse when Estrada punched her in the eye because she bit him. And finally there was a dead cat found recently in the family’s driveway. The family allege Estrada broke the cat’s neck and threw it out of a second story window.
When interviewed by police, Estrada claims they were all accidents. He is currently being held in custody in lieu of $20,000. The Hayes family is seeking a restraining order against him.
(Photos via the Daily Breeze and family submitted photo of 9-pound poodle Rain)
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