A New Bedford man was charged with animal cruelty Thursday after a video of him abusing a dog circulated on Facebook. Community members said police took too long to respond after receiving multiple calls about the video.
One adult dog and three puppies were seized from the home of 41-year-old Miguel A. Martinez, police said. The dogs did not appear to be “outwardly injured,” but will undergo further examination.
Multiple callers reportedly told police about the Facebook video, which does not have a date or timestamp. Police are asking for whoever recorded it to come forward.
Anyone with information on the video or abuse is asked to contact the New Bedford Police Department’s detective division at 508-991-6300 ext. 79519.
The video appears to have been recorded from a neighbor’s window, and shows a man, alleged to be Martinez, kicking and beating a dog with some kind of pipe-like object.
When police arrived at Martinez’s Cottage Street home, they found a woman blocking his driveway with her car, according to a release. She told officers she saw the video on Facebook and drove over to confront Martinez and prevent him from leaving.
The woman, Pilar Aguiar, posted a video on Facebook of her confronting Martinez. The video shows Martinez calling the police on her for blocking his driveway. Aguiar said police did not respond to multiple calls about the alleged abuse and only showed up for the call about her car blocking his driveway.
“I called the cops they said all of the cruisers were out,” she can be heard saying. “I live right next to the police station. All three cruisers were parked outside. They don’t want to do s*** about it. I’m not leaving until they take these poor animals away from this animal.”
“I’m fighting for the dogs’ rights,” she says. “That’s all I want.”
A change.org petition posted Thursday alleges police took almost three hours to respond to the abuse allegations. The petition’s goal is to remove the chief of the New Bedford Police Department for “negligence in response to dog beating.” It had more than 240 signatures by around 1 p.m. Friday.
The New Bedford Police Department’s Facebook posts about the incident have collectively garnered more than 1,700 comments, most of them critical.
The NBPD public information officer could not be reached for comment Friday.