MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach police have arrested a man in the death of a Yorkshire terrier that was found with several broken ribs in a parking garage.
Sigman Hernandez, 40, surrendered to Miami Beach police Wednesday. He faces a charge of animal cruelty.
Hernandez bonded out of jail Thursday morning.
"Did you do anything to that dog?" Local 10 News reporter Erica Rakow asked.
"No," Hernandez said.
Police said Hernandez confessed, after being read his rights, that he slapped and possibly choked the dog because she vomited in his car.
Hernandez told police that he pushed the dog with his feet after placing her in the garage, according to a police report. He then abandoned the dog.
A Publix employee found the dog April 7 at about 11 p.m. in a parking garage next to the supermarket.
Photos of the 6-pound dog show her lying motionless on the ground next to a concrete support column and trash can between parking spaces.
The dog, who police named Lily, did not have a tag or microchip.
The employee tracked down Detective Gus Sanchez, who was working security at the Publix. With the help of Officer Pablo Gonzalez, the two were able to determine that the dog was still breathing and occasionally crying in pain.
Officer Marina Garcia helped get Lily to an animal trauma center.
"She was not moving," Garcia told Local 10 News. "She was yelping occasionally, and you could really see something was wrong."
Veterinarians said the dog had seven broken ribs and signs of strangulation. There was no evidence that she could have been hit by a car.
"The canine's midsection also appeared swollen and distorted," according to a police report. "Her eyes were also bloodshot red and she would occasionally moan in pain."
Lily appeared to be dying, police said, and she was in "very bad shape."
The medical staff later determined that Lily had seven broken ribs on her left side and two broken ribs on her right side. She also had swelling in her neck.
The veterinary staff at the hospital said Lily suffered significant blunt trauma, and her bloodshot eyes may have been a sign that she was strangled at some point.
Veterinarians tried to save the dog, but she died two days later.
"This person just dumped her body and just was, like, just discarded her and didn't even want to take the time, or anything like that, to end her misery," Doral Centre Animal Hospital Dr. Joy Carter said.
Surveillance video shows a red Toyota Yaris pulling in to the Publix parking garage off West Avenue the morning of April 7.
Police said Hernandez was later seen taking an elevator to the bathroom before leaving.
"We weren't able to save her, but at least we can to find some justice for her," Garcia said.