Santa Paula Times

SPPD asking for help finding
suspect in ‘heinous’ dog stabbing

September 02, 2015
Santa Paula News

A reward fund has been started, donations are being sought for medical costs and the public is being asked to provide information about the Friday knife attack on a pit bull, an act characterized as “heinous” by Santa Paula Police.

According to SPPD Sgt. Scott Varner the department is “seeking the public’s help to identify a suspect involved in a heinous incident involving animal cruelty,” which occurred August 28 at approximately 5 p.m. in the area of 14th and Saticoy streets. 

Varner said an unknown subject stabbed a black American Staffordshire terrier named “T-Rex” five times outside of his residence.  

“It appears that the unknown subject may have intentionally released ‘T-Rex’ and a second dog out of the backyard of the residence where they reside,” to commit the attack.

Several residents found the dog in a pool of blood with the wounds including to its neck and rushed the animal to Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center (SPARC) located at the corner of 7th and East Santa Paula streets.

SPARC is famed for being the first truly no kill shelter in Santa Paula.

Varner said SPARC employees “were able to provide aid to the injured animal — he was pretty hurt — and transported the dog to an emergency veterinary clinic in the City of Ventura.”

“T-Rex” has been reported to be in good condition and the prognosis for his recovery is good.

Following the incident the second dog let out of the yard with “T-Rex’ was found shaking but uninjured by the fence of her residence.

Varner said the attack is difficult to understand, “seems very random” and the dog’s owners, “Seem like a very nice responsible family, very responsible with their pets and very close...the animals are part of the family.

“This to me sounds like somebody that is disturbed or under the influence,” attacked the dog.

Varner noted that in his 11 years with the SPPD, “I can’t say I’ve heard about this every happening...”

The case has been assigned to the SPPD Detective Unit, which is trying to determine what happened, including what kind of weapon was used.

Varner said everyone is disturbed by the incident, himself included: “I’m shocked definitely,” said the former K9 officer. “We’ve had ups and downs with issues in the community but nothing that would target an animal...even Chief Steve McLean is surprised this occurred.”

According to the SPARC Facebook page, T-Rex is recovering but not without setbacks: the most serious wound is located in his “throat/neck, the one that would have killed him if Good Samarians hadn’t intervened...and it is still the most worrisome.”

T-Rex, initially called Lucky by SPARC staff because of his rescue by neighborhood residents, has undergone surgeries and transfusions.

The reward fund has $2,000 and donations are being sought to help offset medical expenses: donations can be sent to

Varner noted, “Chief McLean said we’d put whatever resources we need to find out who did this...we’re definitely doing our best to find out who did this and make an arrest. Until we find them we will not know why they did what they did until we sit down and have that interview...”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the SPPD, 805-525-4474.

Call the SPPD recorded Tip Hotline, 933-5691 to leave an anonymous tip or email tips to

Or call Ventura County Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477); the call is not recorded and the caller may remain anonymous.

Ventura County Crime Stoppers can also be contacted by texting “Busted” plus your message to CRIMES (274637).

Crime Stopper Tips can also be sent via the website,