Man accused of killing puppy to enter plea Tuesday

Bud Wally Ruiz, 53, is accused of killing his wife's 6-week-old puppy during an argument May 12, according to police.

A Gilroy man who could face life in prison in the death of his
wife’s 6-week-old puppy is a registered sex offender who has a
history of violent offenses, court records show. Full article
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A Gilroy man who could face life in prison in the death of his wife’s 6-week-old puppy is a registered sex offender who has a history of violent offenses, court records show.

Bud Wally Ruiz is accused of killing the puppy, a Chihuahua named Teddy, by throwing it against a wall after his wife called police to report he had assaulted her at her home in the 8800 block of Morey Way on May 12, according to the Gilroy Police Department.

Marcella Ruiz, his wife, told the Dispatch the altercation had been blown far out of proportion, that he never hit her and the dog’s death was an accident.

“He’s not the monster everyone thinks he is,” she said.

Bud Ruiz, 53, will enter a plea at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the South County courthouse in Morgan Hill, said Amy Cornell, spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. He faces two counts of felony animal cruelty and one count of misdemeanor battery, according to court records.

He has four prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon – two in Santa Clara County and two in Fresno County – and could face 25 years to life in prison because of California’s three strikes law, Cornell said. He spent seven months in jail for his convictions in Santa Clara County, which occurred in 1978, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1999 after pleading no contest.

According to Megan’s Law, an online database of registered sex offenders, Bud Ruiz also once committed “lewd or lascivious acts with child 14 or 15 years of age.” He is listed online as a transient.

GPD officers responded to a report of domestic violence at about 10 p.m. May 12. It was during an investigation police learned Bud Ruiz assaulted his wife and killed the puppy before fleeing, GPD Officer Amanda Stanford said.

Marcella Ruiz, 31, however, said her husband didn’t assault her, but showed up to the house drunk and tried to hug and kiss her. She said the two married in October and had a child together four months ago. Santa Clara County Social Services removed the child from her home two months ago, she said, which prompted her husband to develop a drinking problem.

She said she called the GPD’s nonemergency line and never felt she was in danger.

“I just wanted him gone,” she said. “The best thing to do was have police come and peacefully remove him.”

At about 2 a.m. May 13 after police had left, Bud Ruiz returned to the home – where he often eats and showers but is not allowed to sleep – and learned the dog had died.

He was “devastated” and “horrified” to learn he had killed the dog and even began to cry, his wife said. She said he earlier had threatened to leave with Teddy, but merely tossed the puppy, which was resting in a mesh-lined travel bag, toward her as he left the home.

She said he waited until Monday to turn himself into police so he could attend church on Sunday and “ask for forgiveness.”

But based on evidence presented to the district attorney’s office, Deputy District Attorney Steve Lowney said the dog’s death was not an accident. Based on statements Marcella Ruiz offered police the night of the altercation, Lowney believes there was “sufficient evidence that he intentionally killed the dog” and that he assaulted his wife.

“She didn’t call police because everything was fine,” Lowney said.

He said Marcella Ruiz’s retellings of what happened during the incident have changed over time, and that “none of them are exactly the same.”

Two aspects, though, remain constant, Lowney said: Bud Ruiz was attempting to leave the house with the dog, and his wife’s decision to call the GPD prompted him to throw the dog across the room.

Despite occasional outbursts, including yelling and kicking a ball at her car, Marcella Ruiz said her husband was not abusive.

But abusive relationships aren’t always based on whether one partner physically harms another, said Perla Flores, director of the Solutions to Violence Department at Community Solutions, a South County organization that, among other tasks, aids victims of domestic violence and sexual assaults.

“Domestic violence isn’t just about physical abuse, it’s about power and control,” Flores said. “There’s a bunch of different tactics that can be used.”

Flores added, “Each woman has to kind of define for herself whether they are being abused. I’m not going to tell someone, ‘Yes, you’re an abused woman,’ or ‘No, you’re not.’ ”

She said those who commit domestic violence are often able to manipulate their victims into thinking their spouse hasn’t done anything wrong.

She said it was also common for women in abusive partnerships to return to their significant others for fear of loneliness or feelings of guilt.

“It’s not uncommon for women to feel, ‘This is partially my fault,’ ” Flores said.

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