An Oct. 29 trial date was set today for a Menifee man accused of fatally beating a neighbor's Chihuahua with a golf club.
Larry Edward Jaurequi is charged with felony animal cruelty and a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a dangerous or deadly weapon for allegedly striking the six-pound Chihuahua so hard that the foot-high animal flew through the air, suffering catastrophic internal injuries. Jaurequi faces four years behind bars if convicted; he is currently free on $5,000 bail.
If he’s found guilty on all counts, is the maximum time of four years behind bars long enough? (Click here to link to Michigan State University's Animal Legal & Historical Center, which provides information on states' laws regarding animals and cruelty.)
Consider the allegations against Jaurequi:
Lily, a poodle mix, wandered away from her owner's home and onto a cul-de-sac in the 28100 block of Summitrose Drive, near High Ridge Circle, where Jaurequi lives, sheriff's Sgt. Sergio Rodriguez said.
The 58-year-old defendant saw the dog and, with a golf club in hand, positioned himself next to the animal, according to Rodriguez.
"Without reason or cause, the male swung the club against the Chihuahua as if driving a golf ball off its tee," the sergeant alleged. "The force of the swing sent the animal flying through the air. The suspect was preparing for a second swing when he was stopped by people that just witnessed his acts."
Lily's owner, Barbara Hitchman, went looking for the canine and confronted Jaureqi when she found her fatally injured pet.
"I told him, 'You're insane. You're psycho. You need to be locked away,"' she recalled in a televised interview. "He said, 'Your dog shouldn't be loose anyway."'
Hitchman took Lily to a veterinarian, but the dog could not be saved.
If Jaurequi is found guilty, are four years enough, or should animal cruelty laws be tougher? --City News Service Contributed to the report.