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Chihuahua survives after being strangled by owner, police say

Canelo was found and has now been surrendered to Polk County Animal Services.
Credit: Lake Wales Police Department
Canelo, a 6-year-old Chihuahua, survived after being strangled by his owner.

LAKE WALES, Fla. — Lakes Wales Police are calling it a "silver lining" in an animal cruelty arrest -- the dog is alive.

On Sunday night, police say Polk County Animal Control received a call about an injured stray dog in Lake Wales. The man who called said he believed it was the same dog thought to have been killed and thrown into a small lake by Cesar Cruz Sanchez earlier that night, police said. 

The man also said he returned the dog to its owners.

An officer, along with animal control, went to the dog owner's house and met with the owners on Tuesday, June 9. Police were able to confirm Canelo, an approximately 6-year-old chihuahua, was alive and back at home. The owners later decided to surrender Canelo to Polk County Animal Control. 

In a statement, Lake Wales Police said, "Although we are sickened at the treatment Canelo received by his owner, Cesar Cruz Sanchez, we are happy Canelo is still alive and will be treated well at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Shelter."

36-year-old Sanchez was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty after he told police he strangled Canelo because he was angry at him after finding him laying in baby furniture, according to authorities.

Police found Sanchez after a man told police he saw someone walking down his street strangling a dog by its leash. 

In an interview with police, Sanchez admitted to pulling the dog up by the leash on Miami Street, shaking it and throwing it through some bushes in the direction of the pond. He told police he didn't believe the dog went into the pond.

The alleged abuse was captured on someone's home security camera. Police say Sanchez could be seen leaving the area, looking back several times.

Sanchez told police he wasn't sure if the dog was dead or alive but went back to find the dog because he wanted to "repent" for what he did, according to an arrest report.

Credit: Polk County Jail

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