published Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Deputies: Arizona man used starving dog as bait

PHOENIX — A Phoenix man starved his dog to death and sent a graphic image of the emaciated canine to an ex-girlfriend to try to win her back, authorities said Thursday.

Luis Moreno, 38, was arrested Wednesday after he turned over his pit bull terrier named Wiggles to animal control as a stray when the ex-girlfriend refused all advances, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.

Moreno and his girlfriend adopted Wiggles in 2008, according to deputies. But by 2012, couple broke up, and Moreno kept Wiggles.

He began calling and texting his ex-girlfriend, trying to reconcile and when his advances didn't work, Moreno resorted to using Wiggles as bait, deputies said.

Moreno at one point sent a text message that read: "Wiggles is dead, I hope your happy (expletive)," authorities said

He then sent her a picture of the starving dog as a last-ditch effort to save the relationship.

"It is sick and bizarre what some people do to animals, how they use and abuse them" Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.

Wiggles was later euthanized after being turned over to animal control.

Moreno is facing domestic violence and animal cruelty charges.

It was not known if he had an attorney.

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