Dog butchered, cats killed; SPCA investigating — (Richmond Review)

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Richmond Review

By Martin van den Hemel

Published: October 1SSRI Editor, 2011 2:00 PM

A dog was knifed to death, and two cats were killed on Oct. 7, allegedly by a Richmond man who recently spent three years in a U.S. prison after pleading guilty to trying to buy 150 kilograms of cocaine from an undercover agent.

A still-grieving Latia Del Riviero told The Richmond Review Thursday that her ex-husband ­who has not yet been charged, but remains under investigation by the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals­called her to his home at 9500 Garden City Rd. where she made the grisly discovery.

The pair co-owned the pets.

Del Riviero’s beloved 70-pound boxer Maza and two cats­ Pepper and Liston ­were all confirmed dead, SPCA’s Lorie Chortyk said Friday.

The dog suffered multiple stab wounds and trauma, but the cause of death of the two cats isn’t known, and is pending a necropsy, the results of which are expected this week.

Charges are being considered under both the criminal code and the prevention of cruelty to animals act, Chortyk said.

Del Riviero said her ex-husband had just two days earlier lost his job at a Richmond cabinet making firm.

He’d been battling depression since his release from prison, and Del Riviero suspects a combination of the prescription medication for his depression, and alcohol might have fueled his frustration and violence toward their pets.

Del Riviero explained that prior to the Oct. 7 incident, her ex-husband had requested that she take care of the pets because he needed to leave the city to pursue another job opportunity.

But she had other committments and couldn’t immediately take them, leading him to express some frustrations.

After her shift ended on Friday, she went over to talk to him about their pets, at which point he said: “It’s too late. They’re all in heaven.”

He then pointed at the freezer, where Del Riviero found their boxer, somehow stuffed into the relatively tiny space.

“She raised her head…her eyes were completely red…she was bleeding from her eyes,” Delriviero sobbed.

Del Riviero said she saw stab wound in her dog’s chest, and that it was bleeding from its eyes.

Del Riviero then called the police, resulting in seven police cruisers arriving at the home, red-and-blue lights blazing.

But despite her pleadings, police didn’t immediately retrieve the dog from the freezer, and it died shortly thereafter as a frustrated Del Riviero sat in the front yard.

An SPCA officer retrieved the bodies of the dog and two cats, which had been placed by the suspect in a rubbermaid bin.

The suspect, to this point, still hasn’t spoken to investigators.

But Del Riviero hopes her ex-husband gets the help he needs.

He doesn’t need to go to prison, but to a mental health hospital, she said.

In 2004, the suspect worked as a personal fitness trainer at Planet Fitness.

In March of that year, he was arrested by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration during a sting during which he and another man arranged to purchase 150 kilograms of cocaine using nearly $450,000 in cash.

He was arrested while the cash was sprawled out on a bed in a Colorado hotel room, on March 7, 2004.

He provided the muscle for the purchase plans, according to investigators, and he was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to trying to buy cocaine. His accomplice, who brokered the deal, was sentenced to nine years.