New Mexico

Woman cited for firing gun to scare off pit bulls that killed pet

ARTESIA, N.M (KRQE) - A New Mexico mother says she was trying to save her pet. Now, she's facing charges for firing off her gun to scare away a pair of pit bulls that attacked her dog.

"He was just like laying over here, but he wasn't moving or anything," said Heather Baeza.

On the morning of Monday, April 30, Baeza says she was taking her puppy out to go to the bathroom with her 4-year-old daughter when she looked over to see her dog being mauled to death.

"I went over to my dog and he had a big split down the middle of his chest, I guess from where the dogs were kind of like, tearing him apart kind of," said Baeza.

Baeza then threw a big branch towards the dogs to scare them off, but they didn't leave.

"I went inside and I got my firearm and came back outside. I shot towards the ground," said Baeza.

The dogs ran off. She says she then called the cops.

"I kind of figured I was going to be in a little bit of trouble for firing off a firearm, but I didn't think I was going to be in this kind of trouble,” said Baeza.

They ended up giving her a citation for negligent use of a deadly weapon for firing within the city limits.

"You can't put other people's lives in danger, you can't put the possibility of injuring somebody in the process,” Artesia Police Department Commander Lindell Smith. 

"I don't think I should've been punished for that,” said Baeza. “What if they would came and attacked me and my daughter?"

Baeza said Animal Control came out too.

The dogs that killed her pet were never found.

"You know, whenever you get attached to an animal, it's like becomes one of the family members,” said Baeza.

She said she pled not guilty last week. Her trial could be as early as next month.

If found guilty, Baeza faces a possible 90 days in jail.


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