A Florida man has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty, burglary, and criminal mischief for allegedly killing his ex-wife’s dog in an act of revenge and threatening her new family.
43-year-old Delmin Echeverria reportedly drove to his ex-wife’s home in Palm Beach County, Florida, and slit the throat of her 3-year-old pit bull named Luna.
According to a Law and Crime report on Monday, October 2, 2023, the dog was found deceased but still warm in the backyard with a puncture wound under her jaw that was bleeding.
The ex-wife’s new husband told police that Echeverria called him and their 20-year-old son from a blocked number confessing to the crime.
On the call, Echeverria reportedly called them names, said he killed the dog, and threatened to kill the husband if he did not “return his wife to him.”
The new husband had previously reported Echeverria to the police for repeatedly calling and threatening him and his family.
He said Echeverria wanted his ex-wife back and was harassing them over it.
The 20-year-old son confirmed to police that Echeverria called from a blocked number saying he killed the dog.
Echeverria also told the son that his dad needed to give Echeverria’s ex-wife back to him or else he would kill their whole family.
Detectives believe Echeverria cut a hole in the backyard fence to access the property.
After fatally wounding the dog, he let her stagger between the yard and a neighbor’s yard until she died, prolonging her suffering.
Echeverria was arrested and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on a $13,000 bond.
He faces one felony count each of animal cruelty, burglary while armed, and criminal mischief over $1,000.
Echeverria appears to have killed the dog as a way to torment his ex-wife and her new family.
Threatening their lives is an extreme form of harassment and intimidation.
Too often, abusers will hurt pets as a way to control their human victims.
They know how beloved pets are to their owners and use that vulnerability to inflict pain and fear.
This case tragically resulted in the innocent dog’s death.
Domestic violence experts say one of the most dangerous times for a victim is when they separate from an abusive partner.
The abuser feels a loss of control and may escalate their behavior to regain it, as Echeverria seemingly did here.
Authorities fortunately took the threats seriously and arrested Echeverria before he could follow through on them.
But the new husband and son will likely feel the emotional impact of his intimidation for a long time.
Victims of domestic violence can feel like they constantly have to look over their shoulders even after leaving an abuser.
Hopefully, this family will get the support they need to heal from this traumatic experience.
Luna’s senseless killing is a sobering reminder that the fallout from domestic violence can impact entire families, including their beloved pets.
More must be done to protect victims and hold abusers criminally accountable.