Charlie the dog needs a new forever home.
Los Alamos-based dog rescuer Jen Curtis helped the dog recover from severe burns he suffered during a domestic dispute that ultimately led to the death of his owner and led to the son of the man in jail.
“Obviously his dad raised him really well, because he’s a good dog,” Curtis said of Charlie. “He’s just a good, solid, well-behaved dog. Despite his situation, he’s a very happy dog and he was clearly very much loved by his person.
Charlie is about 3 years old and weighs about 50-60 pounds. His terrier appearance mixed with the chatter of a husky, she said.
“He must be partly raucous because he’s very talkative,” she said, adding that Charlie would gossip with his toys or if he saw the leash.
Curtis often visits the Santa Maria Animal Shelter to help find homes for the dogs or transfer them to a friend’s rescue organization in Oregon.
During a visit to the shelter, she saw Charlie recover in a medical room and learned some of his story.
Dog burned during a marital dispute in Lompoc
The dog was burned on June 11 when Joseph Ashley Garcia, 40, of Lompoc allegedly set his father on fire at their residence, according to law enforcement reports.
Officers responded at 3:30 p.m. to a residence in the 200 block of North D Street following a report of a father and son fighting. They also received a report that the son was beating the father.
When officers arrived, they asked Garcia to open the door so they could check on his father.
When he did not comply, the officers forced their way into the residence.
“Once the door was broken down, officers could see that the father’s head was completely engulfed in flames,” a prosecutor’s motion said, adding that the fire was quickly extinguished.
Charlies was also on fire and ran out the front door, according to legal documents.
The father, Joseph Michael Garcia, 68, suffered third-degree burns and was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital before being transferred to a burn treatment center.
He died on June 21 and his son now faces a murder charge.
Charlie ran away from home, but was later captured and taken to the Santa Barbara County Animal Services shelter.
His burns were limited to his right shoulder and an area towards his ribs. He also had a burnt ear and fur.
“It was painful for him,” she added.
When Charlie joined the Curtis family, she continued her care, putting cream and antibiotic spray on the burns and fitting the dog with a shirt for extra protection during outings.
Nearly two months later, her burns have mostly healed, she said.
Charlie loves people and other dogs, and loves road trips, Curtis said. He likes to play with his stuffed animals, spinning them while talking, of course, to his toys.
“There’s a bad side to this story, but what’s great is that he’s a happy dog and he loves people, he loves other dogs and he just does you. talk,” she said.
Anyone interested in adopting Charlie can contact Curtis by email at [email protected]
Man accused of setting fire to father faces murder charge
Meanwhile, the son’s lawyer said he doubted his client’s mental capacity and a judge ordered assessments by two medical experts.
However, Garcia refused to meet with a third doctor.
He also tried to fire his lawyer, but the judge rejected the attempt, along with a different request to represent himself in the case.
Garcia remained in custody at the North Branch Jail Tuesday morning without bond.
He is charged with murder, plus a special circumstance for inflicting torture, which means he faces the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
His case returns to the Superior Court of Lompoc on Wednesday.
A celebration of life for Joseph Michael Garcia will be held at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at American Legion Station 211, 636 North H St., Lompoc.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the Starbuck-Lind Mortuary.