Puppy allegedly dragged outside of car by Craig man | SteamboatToday.com

Puppy allegedly dragged outside of car by Craig man

Trail of bloody paw prints from 2-month-old dog leads officers to abuser's home

Patrick Kelly

A Craig man was arrested on Sunday evening for allegedly crashing his car into a neighbor's mailbox and dragging his 2-month-old German shepherd puppy on a leash that he held outside his window.

Charles Johnal Lira, 36, was taken to Moffat County Jail where his breath alcohol content was recorded at .276 — about three-and-a-half times the legal limit — and his dog, Lucy, was taken to Craig Veterinary Hospital to be treated for road rash on all four of her paws.

According to an arrest affidavit from Craig Police Department, one of Lira's neighbors called police after he observed Lira strike his mailbox while dragging the dog.

Upon arrival at Lira's residence, officers observed that the neighbor's mailbox was knocked over and found a trail of bloody paw prints measuring 731 feet.

The bloody paw prints led police to Lira's driveway, where they found his red Pontiac Sunfire with more paw prints concentrated around the driver's side and his son’s bicycle lodged underneath the vehicle, according to the affidavit.

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The affidavit states that Lira was falling over while being interview by officers and smelled like alcohol.

Lira admitted to drinking that day and said he had driven from North Park at the intersection of 12th Street and Yampa Avenue to his home in the 1100 block of Barclay Street.

"Witnesses describe how Lira drug the puppy and how the puppy was attempting to plant its feet to avoid being drug by the car," officer Josh Martinez wrote in the affidavit.

Wayne Davis, doctor of veterinary medicine at Craig Veterinary Hospital, said Lucy suffered "a lot of nasty road rash" but she will be fine.

The dog has already been put in a different home, and Davis said he trusts the new owners will take good care of her.

"Pretty tough little puppy," he said.

Lira faces charges of aggravated cruelty to animals, third-degree assault, violation of a protection order, violation of bond conditions, driving under the influence of alcohol, careless driving, failure to report an accident and driving without insurance.

Bond, which Lira has posted since being arrested around 6 p.m. Sunday, was set at $1,500 cash or surety.

CPD Chief Walt Vanatta said Lira has previous driving under the influence arrests and this is a good example of a problem he sees frequently — individuals continuing to drive after losing the privilege.

"We charge a lot of people with driving under revocation," he said.

Lira will appear in county court at 8:30 a.m. on May 3.

Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.