A man from Mission, Texas, dragged his helpless female German shepherd dog behind his motorized scooter for two whole blocks to the horror of his neighborhood. A local woman happened to be driving past at the same time; she caught the horrendous act of animal cruelty on camera.
Melissa Torrez was leaving her home when she spotted Mario Cardona, 61, dragging his dog behind his scooter. She bravely confronted him. At the sight of the dog being hauled along the rough sidewalk on her side, padding at the concrete in an attempt to regain her footing, Melissa whipped out her mobile phone and began filming.
She called the police and later uploaded her footage to Facebook, where it quickly provoked a furious response.
The video has racked up over 100,000 views on Facebook.
“I turn around,” Melissa told KGBT. “I see him dragging his dog from the middle of the street all the way onto the second drive way. I’m out of my car, yelling at him,” she explained, “asking him, ‘What are you doing? What’s wrong with you?'”
But Cardona kept going. He shouted across to the young woman to “mind my own business,” Melissa said. “It’s his dog, he can do whatever he wants.”
A distraught Veronica Torrez, Melissa’s mother, was deeply affected by the troubling footage. “All I see when I close my eyes is her little face,” she shared, “trying to gasp for air. So helpless!”
The struggle of the female German shepherd, named G2, hit Melissa hard. She told WTSP: “I was really upset. A lot of people told me I should have cut the dog’s leash, I should’ve taken the dog, [or] pushed him off his wheelchair.”
“I wanted to do all those things,” she admitted, “but I had to think with my mind and not my emotions.”
Melissa’s rational approach allowed her footage to end up in the hands of Lieutenant Jody Alan Tittle of Mission Police Department. Lt. Tittle spoke to KGBT and explained: “[Cardona] voluntarily came along. We know Mr. Cardona. He’s…” Here, the lieutenant struggled for words. “He’s a unique individual.”
This video is hard to watch, but it has landed a Texas man behind bars.
Veronica was overwhelmingly proud of her daughter’s actions. “I’m so proud of Melissa, that she exposed him in this way,” she shared, “that she actually confronted him. A lot of people just turn away,” Veronica continued, “they just pretend like they didn’t see.”
People had a lot to say about Melissa’s footage, however. Facebook exploded with an outraged commentary, including, “This is so wrong! The poor dog,” from one user. “That’s not how you treat animals. You take them for walks, not drag them by the collar.”
Others hailed Melissa as a hero for calling the cops and exposing Cardona on social media. The video footage quickly went viral, proving that for every public act of animal cruelty, there are thousands who will stand against it; here’s hoping Melissa’s gumption catches on.
He can be heard on video yelling 'It's my dog' when a woman confronts him
Hundreds of calls from concerned residents to the Mission police station provoked them into swift action against the animal cruelty complaint. Cardona was charged with a Class A misdemeanor, and a judge set his bond at $10,000. “We had the welfare of the dog to be concerned about,” Lt. Tittle said. “We had to nip it in the bud.”
G2 was taken into Animal Control’s custody the same day that Cardona was arrested. Immediate reports claimed that the German shepherd was healthy and doing well. But the best news? The dog was quickly adopted by “self-styled cowboy priest” Father Roy Snipes of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Mission.
Snipes, who knows Cardona, spoke with kindness about his parishioner. “There’s more goodness in him than he even realizes,” Snipes told KGBT. “But he’s a roughneck. I don’t think he ever really wanted to hurt his dog.”
To mark a new beginning, Snipes gave the dog a new name, “Ceniza,” and even planned to bring the pup into mass to meet his congregation.