Local News

Friday, Mar 15 2013 11:55 AM

Did police leave animals to die in truck of suspect?

BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer jburger@bakersfield.com

At least two dead animals were discovered in an Arvin Animal Control vehicle Friday, 10 days after the Bakersfield Police Department arrested the city's only animal control officer.

The officer apparently had at least two animals in the vehicle when he was arrested.

Whether they were alive or dead at the time he left them is not yet clear.

According to Bakersfield Police Department reports, Timothy Garza, 30, of Bakersfield was arrested in Arvin March 5 on suspicion of domestic abuse, assault with a deadly weapon and imprisonment after he allegedly assaulted the victim, threatened her with a gun and kept her captive for 20 minutes after she refused to have sex with him.

On Thursday, Julie Blomdahl, a bus driver for the city of Arvin, noticed brown liquid leaking from one of the doors of the vehicle, which was parked outside city hall. Flies buzzed around the vehicle, she said, and there was a stench of decay.

She called the situation into her dispatcher and, on Friday morning at 6:45 a.m., saw someone from Arvin Public Works "opening the compartments on the dog catcher's vehicle and finding corpses."

"I was there. I did not look," she said.

But, Blomdahl said, she knows there were at least two animals because the worker found corpses in at least two compartments.

"I'm assuming they were alive when he put them in there," she said. "Otherwise why would he separate them?"

Arvin City Manager Tim Chapa said he had heard about the "complaint" that animals had been left in the vehicle for an extended period of time.

The Arvin Police Department, he said, is investigating the incident.

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