Former Watsonville police officer Francisco Ibarra has been charged with animal cruelty towards his former canine partner Ingo.
The 5-year-old German Shepherd was rescued from Ibarra’s home in February weighing an emaciated 55 lbs. According to the Monterey County SPCA, a dog like Ingo should weight at least 80 lbs.
During an examination of the dog, a veterinarian declared him to have no discernible body fat; an x-ray of Ingo’s stomach revealed it was filled with sand and dirt he had eaten in his fight for survival.
The official examination, paired with Ingo’s visible ribs and hip bones, made it clear to the SPCA that the anonymous tip they had received about his conditions was valid. They immediately started him on a specialized diet and feeding schedule.
Despite the prolonged abuse, Ingo is making a slow recovery and now weighs 70 lbs.
Sgt. Stacy Sanders of the SPCA for Monterey County told KTVU it was rare for police dogs to be mistreated after they retire:
“They’re usually pretty well cared for. These dogs risk their lives for their handlers, so even after they’re retired their owners often treat them better than their families (did).”
Ibarra’s alleged abuse towards the animal may have been a form of revenge. Ibarra was dismissed from the Watsonville Police Department in 2010 after an incident in which Ingo bit a man resisting arrest.
According to Monterey County Chief Assistant District Attorney Terry Spitz, Ibarra has officially been charged with two counts of criminal cruelty to animals and will be arraigned on April 18.