Man gets six months for abusing dog in Stafford; still facing child abuse charges

A local man was ordered Thursday to serve six months in jail for abusing a dog back in 2021 in Stafford.

Pedro Alexander Cruz, 30, of Fredericksburg, pleaded guilty in Stafford Circuit Court to a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutor Sarah Watkins reduced a felony charge and dropped another felony offense.

Because the conviction is a misdemeanor, Cruz will only have to serve half of the six-month sentence.

According to court records, deputies went to a Stafford residence on Aug. 24, 2021, in response to an allegation of animal abuse. They obtained camera footage of Cruz abusing a German shepherd that belonged to him and his wife.

A camera inside the home showed Cruz repeatedly punching the dog in the face, kicking the dog and choking it. His wife told her mother what she’d seen, and the mother contacted police.

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The mother confiscated the abused dog and others because she believed they were unsafe. She incurred $1,700 in expenses caring for the dogs before they were taken to other homes, court records state, and Cruz was ordered to make restitution to his mother-in-law.

Cruz is still facing child abuse and child cruelty charges stemming from alleged incidents that occurred a few months after the dog abuse. A trial on those charges is scheduled for March 13 in Stafford.

Keith Epps: