By Joseph Kolb
ALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Sheriff's deputies have arrested a New Mexico man suspected of extreme animal cruelty after he was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend's puppy with a screwdriver then marinating it in preparation for eating it, authorities said on Wednesday.
"I would say this tops the list of the worst cases of animal cruelty we have ever seen," Torrance County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Donna Zamora said.
She said Salvador Martinez, 46, was due to appear in Torrance County Magistrate Court later on Wednesday charged with the incident on July 18 in Edgewood, a rural community about 20 miles (32 km) east of Albuquerque.
His former partner, Mandy Malone, told local broadcaster KOAT News that he had previously threatened to kill her dog.
"He'd said it before but jokingly, just out of the blue, 'I'm going to barbecue one of your dogs'," Malone said, and she described making the gruesome discovery at her home.
"He had her marinating in Italian dressing in the fridge," she added.
Officials say it is legal to eat dogs in New Mexico, but not if the animal has been killed violently.
Zamora said Martinez posted $5,000 bond after his arrest.
(Editing by Daniel Wallis and Eric Walsh)