Convicted murderer arrested for shooting rescue dog ‘Symba’

TOLLESON, Ariz. (KTVK/CNN/CNN Newsource/WKRC) – A convicted murderer was arrested for shooting a rescue dog named “Symba.”

“I don’t know what he was named before. But he knows his name is Symba. It fits him. He’s a king,” owner Bridgett Ivy told KTVK.

Ivy told the outlet that “Symba” was like a child to her, adding that she had rescued him from an abusive home.

“He’s gotten to be part of the family. You know he’s sweet. As you see, he likes to lick on everybody.” Ivy explained to the outlet.

Symba is recovering after taking a bullet to his right leg.

“The first couple of days he was really depressed. Wouldn’t move, wouldn’t eat or drink,” Ivy told KTVK’s reporters.

The shooting happened last Sunday in Tolleson, Arizona. Ivy’s brother and roommate were walking Symba and another dog along the sidewalk, heading home. Ivy told the outlet that Symba darted after a group of people on bicycles.

Ivy said Symba turned around quickly, but 38-year-old Ruben Garza allegedly opened fire on the dog, shooting Symba from across the street.

“He could’ve shot my brother. He aimed at my brother. And the big white pit. But then he turned the gun on my dog,” Ivy told KTVK.

According to court documents obtained by the outlet, Garza fled the scene, but authorities found him inside a nearby home and arrested him.

Garza had been released from prison back in 2022 after serving time for second-degree murder and aggravated assault. Because of that, Garza was a prohibited possessor and should not have had a gun.

“He didn’t deserve that. I just feel really bad for him. That now he’s going to be one leg less,” Ivy told the outlet.

Because of the gunshot would, Ivy said Symba will need to have his leg amputated, but she told the outlet that she’s grateful that he’s alive and wants to give him the love he needs to feel better.

“He’ll get better. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take a lot of time,” Ivy told KTVK.