By AnneClaire Stapleton and Greg Botelho
(CNN) — Onyx was 9 months old, black and white, part dachshund and part chihuahua. She was a family dog, one that Mandy Malone kept in part to play with her grandchildren.
Until Onyx ended up in Malone’s freezer.
How did she get there? According to a criminal complaint filed in a Torrance County, New Mexico, court, the dog was stabbed in the heart and skinned. Parts of the animal were then buried in the backyard, while others were stashed inside a bag in a freezer.
“He had her marinating in Italian dressing in the fridge,” Malone told CNN affiliate KOAT. “…What could possibly go through someone’s mind to do something that sick?”
Authorities characterized the man they say killed the dog as Malone’s boyfriend.
Salvador Martinez was released Wednesday on bond tied to the felony charge of extreme cruelty to animals, Torrance County Sheriff Heath White said. The sheriff predicted he wouldn’t be free for long.
“He was already on probation for trafficking drugs and … violated his probation, so he’s likely going to be picked back up … and sent back to a federal facility,” White said Wednesday.
Martinez’s latest legal trouble began Friday, July 18, when sheriff’s deputies responded to a call at an Edgewood, New Mexico, residence. They found a gray plastic bag “containing some bones and meat (that) appeared to be a carcass of an animal,” the complaint said.
Authorities said Martinez admitted he had killed the dog, saying there was no food around and his girlfriend “told him to go ahead” and do it.
After killing the animal, skinning it and burying parts of it in the yard, “he said that he … found (a) recipe for dogs online” and found states where eating dogs is allowed, the complaint says.
New Mexico is one such place; in fact, there are no laws against eating cats or dogs in most states. In some cultures, it’s more widely accepted.
“But it’s the manner that it was done, and the emotional stress it put on the rest of the family, that led us to arrest him and charge him with animal cruelty,” White said.
Martinez could not be reached for comment and it was unclear late Wednesday if he had an attorney.
The girlfriend told the deputies that Martinez admitted killing the dog around noon of that day, explaining “it was all right to do this in New Mexico to feed your family.” She disputed the assertion that they didn’t have food in the house.
Malone told KOAT that Martinez had previously told her, “just out of the blue, ‘I’m going to barbeque one of your dogs.'”
But she didn’t believe it — then or now.
“Nobody knows what to think,” Malone said.
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