Pharr woman found with 33 dead dogs indicted, jailed

A 36-year-old woman arrested in May after police found 33 dead dogs in the back of a U-Haul truck was arraigned on two counts of cruelty to animals Thursday and booked into jail.

A Hidalgo County Grand Jury indicted Pharr resident Christina Arriaga in early December on the charges.

On May 8, 2018, a witness called Pharr police reporting that they saw Arriaga loading puppies into a U-Haul’s cargo area.

A responding police officer could smell a strong odor before even opening the truck’s door, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Arriaga told police “she and her husband came up with the plan to rent the U-Haul truck, and place the canines inside of the box truck and drive them around until the City of Pharr Animal Control left their apartment,” the charging document states.

Pharr Animal Control Supervisor Frank Villarreal said at the time that five of the animals had been dead for sometime while the others probably died from extreme heat and lack of ventilation.

One dog survived.

“When a dog dies within three to five hours, they don’t smell, but when you have a decomposed dog for a week, that smells,” Villarreal said.

Animal Control had planned to inspect the couple’s unit at VIP Estates Apartments on May 8 after receiving reports about odor, Villarreal said at the time.

The agency was in the process of obtaining a search warrant explaining that Animal Control believed they were breeding dogs inside the apartment, the supervisor said previously.