A California man accused he was being framed by a “racist police department” after allegedly killing his dog with a poisoned syringe.
“It is a hate crime,” Sacramento County District Attorney Mike Feuer said at a news conference.
“A dog is a life.”
The suspect, 24-year-old Michael Smith, was charged with animal cruelty and attempted animal cruelty.
The dog, a pit bull mix named Chachi, was found on June 15.
Smith had previously been arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine and possessing a controlled substance.
Feuer told reporters that he believes Smith killed the dog because it was “the first dog that looked at him and said, ‘You’re gonna die.
You’re gonna get killed.'”
“That dog didn’t think of himself as a criminal,” Feuer added.
“That’s why it happened.”
The Sacramento Bee reports that Smith, a convicted felon who has previously pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, has been in custody since the dog was found.
The Associated Press reports that Feuer described the dog as “a black Labrador retriever” who had been trained to chase a rattlesnake.
Feuers spokesperson said that Smith “was on the streets when Chachi died.”
The Associated Times reports that the Sacramento Bee first reported the dog’s death.
“We don’t know what happened to Chachi,” Feuers said.
“I think the investigation is very difficult.”
Feuer and other officials have previously stated that the dog died from a mix of methamphetamine, the effects of which are not yet known.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department said it would hold a press conference Monday evening to release the results of a toxicology test that it had taken.