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Arrest made in Colorado dog dragging case

romero“I don’t get it,”  Steven Clay Romero said when ordered held without bond  yesterday on charges of killing a dog by dragging it behind a pickup truck for two miles at  the Colorado National Monument.

Here’s hoping, if convicted, he does get it — and all else he might deserve.

Romero, 37, of Fruita, Colo., is scheduled for a detention hearing and arraignment Monday afternoon.

Upon Romero’s expression of bewilderment, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer rose from her seat at the bail hearing, walked toward Romero and tossed a copy of the charges on the table in front of him, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

Romero, who told U.S. Magistrate Judge Laird Milburn that he is a truck driver, expressed concern about sitting in jail over the weekend.

“So, in other words I’ll be sitting in jail and probably lose my job, too?” Romero asked Milburn.

“Yes,” the judge answered.

According to an arrest affidavit, after the dogs dragged body was found, a review of video surveillance at a park entrance showed a double-cab pickup entering the park early Wednesday with a dog and exiting 12 minutes later without one.

The affidavit said the dog, a shepherd-blue heeler mix named Buddy, had been stolen in Delta by an associate of Romero’s and taken to a home in Fruita where Romero was staying.

A resident of Delta recognized the dog from a photo of his body online and contacted authorities. A witness to the dog’s theft provided officials with a license plate number, which led them to a home in Fruita where Romero was staying. National Park Service rangers went to the Fruita home and found paw prints in the snow in the front yard and rope similar to that used to tie the dog to the truck.

The rangers interviewed Romero’s sister, who told them Romero said he was going to kill the dog. “She stated he left with the dog late last night and returned home a half hour later without it,” the affidavit said. The affidavit makes no mention of a motive for killing the dog.

A news release from monument officials said Romero was arrested Thursday morning at the Mesa County Justice Center after he appeared for an unrelated criminal case. He faces a maximum three years in prison, a fine up to $100,000 and a year of mandatory parole if convicted on a federal charge of felony cruelty to animals.

Romero was arrested six times in the past seven years by police in Montrose and Grand Junction on a variety of charges, including weapons offenses, traffic violations and drug distribution, according to court records.

(For subsequent posts and all of our coverage of Buddy, click here.)


Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time January 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Somebody’s pet, and probably much loved. I’m so sorry for his owners, for the Park Service people (who deserve a lot of credit), and for Buddy himself–he endured so much. Let’s hope this goon “gets it” during a long term in jail!

Comment from Shasta
Time January 2, 2010 at 12:42 am

I can’t imagine what would cause a person to do something so horrible. I am glad the judge ordered him held without bond. Hopefully he will lose his job. With any luck, he will get the full punishment for this crime. I don’t think a person like this will ever “get it”

Comment from montrose
Time January 2, 2010 at 1:42 pm

6 arrests in 7 years? Why wasn’t this idiot already IN jail, where he wouldn’t have been around to kill Buddy? What a sicko – at least the farmers here shoot dogs they want dead, they don’t torture them … Amazing how this backwards rural area contains so many people with no respect for non-human lives …

Comment from karen
Time January 3, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Such a horrible act 🙁

Very thankful for the authorities and their good work in investigating and catching this person.

Comment from blondie0606
Time January 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm

so sad. the park personnel deserve so much credit for acting on behalf of the innocent animal even after the fact. I’m in favor of an eye for an eye for people who torture animals. i’d gladly drag that sicko for a couple miles behind my truck. May justice be served.

Comment from willie wonka
Time January 4, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I am one of Buddy’s crew. We started the Facebook page”Demand Justice for Buddy” to show support to the US attorney for asking the maximum penalty for Romero .We hope by raising awareness of animal abuse and enforcing the the penalties, that we may begin to reduce it. Please join our 20,000+ fans and sign the petition to put him in jail for the longest possible time. Thank you.

Comment from t davis
Time January 5, 2010 at 9:11 am

Romero needs to “get it” ( a clue ) by having the full extent of the law handed down on him… and then some ! Thank you to everyone so far that has been instrumental on apprehending this cruel, clueless individual.

Comment from KM
Time January 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm

I think it’s great that so many people went to such great lengths to find Buddy’s murderer. I am sad for Buddy and his family but I hope this guy gets the book thrown at him.

Comment from holly
Time January 5, 2010 at 7:13 pm

please do the petition for the max penalty to romero. this is not his first offense and 8 of the others happened in 2009! just think if he gets away with this, who and what is next? your children? your pets? you? this is an awful crime and must be punished accordingly!!!!

Comment from Lisa
Time January 6, 2010 at 12:37 am

Poor innocent helpless dog!! How can ppl be so heartless? Romero will pay in the end!!

Comment from michelle wilson
Time January 6, 2010 at 1:54 am

I think that anyone who “murders an animal should get the same punishment you get for murdering a person as far as I am concerned my dog is as important to me as my son is and if anyone caused her any harm I would want the same thing to happen to them if they caused harm to my son. this man is a waste of space and considering his past record he is damages beyond rehabilitation and we should just tie him up behind a truck and drag him until he is dead, that way he wont be a drain on the tax payers of our country. why should he get a warm bed to sleep in food to eat and free cable tv to watch that is more kindness then he showed this poor dog.
I use to drive a truck so I am confused how someone with so many convictions on his record got a job driving truck in the first place you have to have a clean criminal record in order to drive a truck for a living.

Comment from Carolyn
Time January 6, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Hope you all are keeping up with the news. The supposed “loving family” seems to be involved with having this guy “get rid of the dog”. All parties should pay equally.

Comment from Andrew
Time January 7, 2010 at 2:15 am

I just don’t understand how anyone could do something so cruel to an innocent animal. I hope he spends a long time in jail for what he did. Maybe someone should drag him behind a truck.

Comment from Danni
Time January 7, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Anybody know what company this moron works for? Be sure his employer knows so they can dump him if they haven’t already. Remember the guy in the 90’s who sat on his girlfriend’s basset hound and the dog smothered? There is just no end to this.

Comment from Cody
Time January 9, 2010 at 2:11 pm

This is why the 3 strikes law is necessary – to stop these people from committing crime over and over. Next time it could be your child this nut grabs and drags!

Comment from jeannettemarsland
Time January 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm

please visit Buddys page on FB and sign the petition to DEMAND JUSTICE FOR BUDDY

Comment from PETEY
Time January 13, 2010 at 12:54 am

Let him out, let him go. Send him to Georgia. I will kill that f ing lowlife. Send him here. PLEASE. I have fought thru wars to ‘protect’ this country but not for f—s like that.

Comment from Elsa Rosa Latheef
Time January 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm

What is it that Romero doesn’t get??? That he mercilessly dragged a poor animal to death and he is not going unpinished??? That sick bastar deserves to be dragged by his balls until he dies. I am ashamed to share the planet with “people” like him; he doesn’t even deserve the oxygen he breathes

Comment from Ravzie
Time January 16, 2010 at 2:28 pm

People who torture and kill deserve nothing less than what they have given.

Comment from Anonymous
Time January 24, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Maybe this despicable cretin would “get it” if he were sentenced to being stripped naked, tied to a horse, and dragged through the cactus and sage for a minimum 5 miles. No snow or road to cushion his worthless ass.

Comment from simon
Time January 25, 2010 at 1:08 pm

so did Steven Clay Romero get the death penalty? anyone know his fate?

Comment from K9Guardian
Time May 9, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I know they were indicted on Federal charges back in Feb. Does anyone know when the hearing or their next court appearance is? Also, are they still sitting & rotting in jail (One can only hope)? I hope they not only lose their jobs but a whole lot more. Total losers & absolutely a waste of human flesh.

Comment from Annabelle
Time July 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm

let’s not 4get this moron shouldve been on parole/probation when this happened. maybe, he can get an habitual offender label on his arse….my hope is he becomes someones longtime jail biotch for a long time.