Las Vegas dog owner accused of taping animal’s muzzle shut, killing it

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Man failed polygraph test, police documents say

Leonel Torres (KLAS)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The owner of a dog found with her muzzle taped shut last summer has been charged with killing it, court documents said.

Leonel Torres, 30, faces one count of willful or malicious torture, maiming or killing of a dog, cat or other animal, court records show.

Police responded to a neighborhood near the intersection of Vegas Valley Drive and Lamb Boulevard on July 23 for a dog that was found deceased with tape around its muzzle, documents said.

During their investigation, officers spoke with Torres, who lived eight houses down the road. He said the family dog, Cali, a large pit-bull, was missing. Torres walked down the street with officers, and he identified the deceased dog as his.

Investigators said Torres’ wife, with whom he shared the home, had last seen the dog alive when she left for work. Torres said he had fallen asleep, but had last seen Cali in the backyard. Officers looked at Torres’ yard to see how Cali could have escaped, but determined it would be unlikely, since she was locked behind two fences.

Investigators also gave Torres a polygraph test, which he failed, police said.

A judge approved a search warrant, and documents say during a search of a backyard shed, investigators found a roll of duct tape matching the color used in Cali’s death “hidden on a shelf above the door.” Police also attempted to match DNA and fingerprints from the tape found on Cali but were unable.

Cali’s cause of death was most likely heat stroke, a doctor noted.

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