Harris Co. driver accused of intentionally running over small dog

A 41-year-old Houston man is accused of felony animal cruelty in the death of a dog that he allegedly kept trying to hit with the truck he was driving. After two misses, he's accused of throwing the truck into reverse and running over the 2-year-old dog.

"She wandered in the door of the church," said Jose Trucios, who pastors Sobre de Roca Church. "We took her outside, but she came back again. After the third time, we let her stay," he said of the white dog he later named Paloma, which means 'white dove' in Spanish.

Paloma had apparently been a street dog before finding sanctuary at the church, which is on the same street where the dog was struck and killed.

On March 31, a business on the other side of the street was having its annual crawfish boil for employees.

"Some people saw a truck swerving toward our fence, which made us look up," said Andrew Ferguson, who was at the event. "They saw a dog trotting and trying to get away and the gentleman backed up again and pulled forward again and backed up again when I heard the squeal of the tires."

"You could see the vehicle jerk up and down like it had hit a rock or something," he said.

Moments later, witnesses saw the dog dying on the road.

"People were throwing water bottles at him from our side of the fence, trying to get him to stop, but he raced off," Ferguson said. "People had already written down his license plate number."

Witnesses called police and also spotted the truck later at a mobile home community off McGinty Street, where the dog was killed. Jorge Arturo Hinojosa, 41, was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty. The charging document states that Hinojosa admitted he was driving the truck, and "may have run over a dog that was chasing the truck."

The pastor said Hinojosa came to the church once to complain about the dog following his truck.

"He also said he needed to come to church because he needed to change some things," said Trucios.

Trucios never saw him again but said he did speak to Hinojosa's mother by phone. He said she called to tell him the dog's death was an accident.

"I feel bad for him because he was arrested," said the pastor. "I feel bad for the dog, too, after police told me what the witnesses saw."

He intended to bury Paloma on the church property, but said police told him they needed the remains for evidence.

Felony animal cruelty involving a non-farm animal has a maximum punishment of up to two years in state jail and up to a $10,000 fine.

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dogsanimal crueltyHarris County
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