7:30 p.m. update: A jury has found Kyle police officer David Salinas guilty of animal cruelty for life-threatening injuries to his fiancée’s poodle Frisco.
The felony conviction triggers a revocation of Salinas’ peace officer’s license.
Rather than be sentenced by the jury, Salinas agreed to two years probation and to surrender Frisco to a foster family under an agreement with prosecutors. He must also undergo a mental health evaluation and anger management. Salinas is forbidden from owning pets in the future.
11:30 a.m. update: The lawyer for Kyle police officer David Salinas said no evidence indicates Salinas caused the life-threatening injuries to his own dog.
In closing arguments Thursday in Salinas’ animal cruelty trial, defense attorney Gene Anthes raised several possibilities for what happened to Frisco, a half-deaf, half-blind 7-year-old poodle who suffered 17 broken ribs in April 2017. Anthes said the dog could have escaped from the patio of Salinas’ North Austin apartment or been struck by someone passing by the home.
The jury began deliberating at 10:50 a.m.
Salinas, 34, works in an administrative role with Kyle police. He faces up to two years behind bars for the state jail felony.
Travis County prosecutors said the defense’s theories are unreasonable and that Salinas likely became upset when Frisco relieved himself in the house. Medical experts testified the injuries are indicative of blunt force trauma from an unknown object.
“He got carried away and took it too far,” prosecutor Jessica Wolfe said. She added: “You don’t know what hit this dog. That’s fine. You know something hit this dog.”
Frisco was a gift from Salinas to his fiancee in October 2016. The dog still lives with the couple after a justice of the peace ruled in favor of Salinas keeping ownership of Frisco.
Another prosecutor, Christy May, called injuries to Frisco’s groin area “very curious.” The dog had a habit of urinating in the house, she said.
“Everybody has a breaking point,” May said.
Earlier: The felony trial in which a Kyle Police officer is accused of injuring his 20-pound poodle will continue Thursday with testimony from witnesses for defendant David Salinas.
Travis County prosecutors say the dog, Frisco, suffered 17 broken ribs and other life-threatening injuries in April 2017 while being watched by Salinas at a North Austin apartment.
Salinas, 34, who owns the dog with his fiancee, has pleaded not guilty to a single count of animal cruelty. He refused to surrender his peace officer badge under a proposed plea deal with prosecutors who were willing to dismiss the case.
Salinas, who works in an administrative role with Kyle Police, faces up to two years behind bars if convicted of the state jail felony.
When the proceedings ended Wednesday, prosecutors had rested their case after calling several medical experts to the stand who testified about the dog’s injuries. Many of them discredited a statement Salinas made to police that the injuries might have occurred as a result of Frisco attempting to slide through a porch railing.
Beginning at around 9 a.m., the defense will have a chance to present their case before both sides make final arguments.
The jury could begin deliberating Thursday.