JEFFERSON COUNTY, Missouri -- A man who authorities say bound a small dog with tape and threw him in a rural Missouri ditch last week believed the dog was spying on him for the police, charging documents say.
Paul Garcia, 39, of Barnhart, Missouri, was charged with felony animal abuse and armed criminal action Thursday. Authorities say he wrapped electrical and duct tape around the mouth and legs of Flick, a black-and-brown dachshund, before dumping it.
A sheriff's deputy found Flick bound on the side of Old State Road M and Schneider Road in Imperial, Missouri, on Feb. 9. The animal was cold, malnourished and possibly suffering from a concussion, the sheriff's office said.
Investigators connected Garcia to the dog after they found fingerprints on the electrical tape. The prints matched Garcia in a law enforcement database, said Jefferson County Sheriff's Office spokesman Grant Bissell.
Garcia told police he found the dog under his truck while he was installing speakers in the vehicle, according to court documents.
He told detectives he was worried the dog had a camera attached to him and was concerned that law enforcement was tracking his movements, the documents state.
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Garcia told investigators that he panicked and placed the dog in a bucket before wrapping the animal in tape and throwing it out his car window, charging documents say.
The dog showed major improvement after a few days, Bissell said.
The animal was returned to his owner, Kaitlynn Kofron, at an animal hospital Friday.
Kofron, who lives near Garcia, showed the sheriff's office Flick's medical records dating as far back as 2009. She said Flick had run away.
Garcia's bond was set at $50,000 cash only.