By Tori Gacutan
MODESTO, CA – A felony preliminary hearing here Tuesday in Stanislaus County Superior Court dealt with the torture and killing of a family dog early this year.
Roneil Anand Prasad is accused of felony torturing then killing his and his partner’s dog, Rosco, in their apartment on March 19.
The witness explained that she was currently living with Prasad during that time, in a romantic relationship together for six years, but with a history of domestic violence.
Deputy District Attorney Tracy Griffin noted that Prasad was convicted of a criminal felony before, and had a restraining order placed on him.
During the preliminary hearing, the witness explained that she and the accused shared the responsibility in caring for their companion dog named Rosco. Prasad brought the puppy home and they have had the puppy since February.
DDA Griffin further questioned the witness to determine what work schedules the witness and the accused had. This determined who was with Rosco on March 19. The witness revealed that she left for work at 5:30 a.m. and her shift was 12 hours long.
Furthermore, the witness revealed Prasad got off work around 6:30 a.m. and she put Rosco outside in his playpen in the back patio of their apartment complex.
The witness explained when Prasad arrived home, “he called me when he got off work and let Rosco in (the apartment), and at some point in time he gave him (Rosco) a bath, and then he sent me pictures of him (Rosco) when he was all clean in his new clothes that he had just gotten. Then sometime later, he sent me a video of him (Rosco) chewing his first bone. And that was the last ones I received of Rosco.”
Later on in the day, the witness received a call from Prasad. In that call, the witness explained that Prasad said he could not find Rosco and said that he “f**ked up.”
The witness got off work around 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
When questioned by DDA Griffin about what the witness saw when she arrived home, she explained “when I got there, I was looking for Rosco, so I had passed some stuff on the porch—there was a box with a towel in it and a cup of a drink of some sort, and some shoes.”
DDA Tracy Griffin further questioned if the witness found Rosco in the apartment. The witness explained that “he was not in the house.” Additionally, Prasad was home and was passed out on the couch, heavily intoxicated. The witness explained that she could not wake up Prasad and that “his eyes were not responsive.”
The witness revealed more, explaining that she failed to find Rosco inside the apartment, so she searched outside. Once she stepped outside, she noticed the box on the porch with a towel covering it, which she mistakenly thought was trash.
The witness added, “I removed the towel and Rosco’s paw came out. He was not alive.”
It was revealed in court that prior to this event, Prasad mistreated Rosco before.
When giving examples to the defense attorney, the witness said “when Roneil would be intoxicated, he would grab Rosco’s face and would tell him that he was the boss, that he had to listen to him. But it wasn’t like when someone is trying to train an animal. He would swat at him, not hit him, and make him flinch.”
DDA Griffin asked what the witness did next. The witness said that she called her co-worker and that she called the police shortly after. When the police arrived, it was Officer Jacob Hook who was assigned to the case.
Hook is a police officer with the city of Modesto, and explained he noticed Rosco’s paw sticking outside of the box on the porch, adding, “Rosco appeared to have injuries consisting of being tortured. On Rosco’s back, leg, and hip area, he was wrapped in foil.”
Additionally, Officer Hook said, “Rosco was cold and stiff to the touch. Rosco had blood on his mouth area, his private area, he had injuries to his paws, his shoulder, and then his leg.”
In the kitchen area and by the sliding door, Officer Hook found blood, and blood where Rosco’s playpen was located. Then, Officer Hook found foil sticking out of a drawer in the kitchen area.
Officer Hook explained later that night he observed a conversation between the witness and Prasad, who said that he was sorry. Prasad, said the officer, explained to the witness that Rosco had choked on some nuts, that he stopped breathing, and that he was going to bury Rosco.
After questioning the witness, the officer said there were no nuts in the apartment.
In rebuttal to Officer Hook’s statements, the defense attorney cross-examined the officer about whether he had experience in recognizing whether the injuries the puppy suffered were a result of torture. The officer said it was his first animal investigation that dealt with injuries.
The defense counsel asked Officer Hook if he had asked Prasad where the blood came from, or if he had tested the blood on the accused’s clothing, on the shoes, and around the apartment. In response, Officer Hook replied, “No.”
Judge Linda A. McFadden found that the accused is probably responsible for these charges of felony animal cruelty. The court will see Prasad again on July 26.