A release from the monument said rangers arrested Steven Clay Romero, of Grand Junction, Colorado,at approximately 12:25 p.m. in Mesa County (Colorado) Courthouse. Mr. Romero was charged initially with a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals, the release said.
Park rangers believe the man took the dog, Buddy, a German Shepherd-Blue Heeler mix, stolen by others from Delta, Colorado, to Colorado National Monument in the early morning hours of December 30 and attached him to his truck and dragged him for 2 miles up the west hill of Rim Rock Drive with a rope tied around the dog's neck. The dog died of strangulation and was dumped at the roadside, the park said. A National Park Service employee discovered the gruesome scene at 4:30 a.m. on December 30.
A crime tip line was initiated and the tips received were key in leading park rangers and other law enforcement personnel to the suspect. Mr. Romero was appearing in court in Grand Junction on Thursday on other, unrelated, charges and was arrested as he exited the courtroom, the park release said.
The investigation is continuing and additional information will be provided when it becomes available.