Havasu man cited with animal cruelty after dumping dog in desert

May 23, 2019

A Lake Havasu City man was cited for cruelty to animals after law enforcement officials said he abandoned a female pit bull that was still nursing puppies.

Ryan Joel Lawrence, 32, faces a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty and one of allowing a dog to run at large, after a May 8 incident.

A friend of the man’s wife called police May 9 and said Lawrence took the dog and dumped it in the desert. When Animal Control Officer Chris Lutgen spoke with Lawrence’s wife, she said she came home at about 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 8, and found him washing out the back of the pickup. She asked him where the dogs were and he said he would tell her, but “not in front of the kids.”

According to Lawrence’s wife, he said he took the dog out to the desert and left it there. She said he was very drunk at the time. She said she couldn’t find the dog’s collar or leash. She also said it was still nursing its 5-week-old puppies.

Lawrence’s wife then said when they woke up the next morning, he allegedly said “it was so nice that she (the dog) is not here.” She said he said he dumped the dog near a ranch on Chemehuevi Boulevard, but she didn’t believe him because the ranch owner keeps his gate locked.

The officer went to the area, didn’t see the dog there, but saw it near the intersection of Red Rock Road and Little Finger Road. When the officer called to the animal, it looked at him, then ran away.

When the officer spoke to Lawrence, he said the dog ran away when he took it off the leash. He said he waited around for a few minutes and then left. The officer asked Lawrence if he returned to the area to find the dog and he allegedly said “No.”

Despite the sad circumstances, Officer Lutgen and other family members searched the area where the dog was released, found it in good condition and has been reunited with her puppies.

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