By Amanda Orr
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Houston police defended their actions on Thursday after facing criticism for an arrest last month where two people were taken into custody and a pet dog was left at the scene, eventually dying after apparently being hit by a car.
Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland told reporters the dog was accidentally let out of the vehicle by a tow truck driver and three officers tried to catch it. The dog disappeared into nearby woods.
The dog was reported to be a 14-year-old Chihuahua named Guero that suffered from vision problems. His body was found next to a freeway.
One its owners and another man were arrested in July on controlled substance charges. Josephine Garcia, the wife of one of the arrested men, told a Houston City Council meeting that month the detained men begged officers to call in an animal control group named BARC to take care of her family's pet.
"The officer said, 'No I can't do that, I don't want to, it's not my problem, he'll be fine.' So the tow people came and picked up my car. They threw my dog out of the car and left him on the feeder of that busy section," Garcia, who was not at the scene, told the City Council, after hearing an account from her husband.
The charges against the men are still pending.
McClelland said on Thursday: "Our officers contacted BARC several times before leaving the scene."
He added that his department has received numerous death threats as a result of the media coverage of the incident.
(Reporting by Amanda Orr; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Eric Beech)