Sheriff: Michigan man threatens to kill his dog, hurts animal to manipulate ex-girlfriend into answering phone

(Photo: Genesee County Sheriff's Office)

A Michigan man is facing charges after authorities say he threatened to kill his dog if his ex-girlfriend didn't answer the phone.

According to Genesee County Sheriff Christopher Swanson, Nick Mendoza and his girlfriend had broken up, so he sent her a photo of him holding a knife to his dog Roxy's neck. 

"Answer your phone before this dog dies," a text from Mendoza said.

Swanson said 30-year-old Mendoza also sent a photo of a wound on the dog's head.

"Roxy will be dead in a matter of a few minutes," another text read. "If you don't answer."

Mendoza has been charged with torture of an animal, habitual offender, and witness intimidation. 

Swanson said Mendoza has assault and dangerous drug convictions on his record, leading to the habitual offender charge. The witness intimidation charge was added after Mendoza allegedly continued to intimidate the woman.

Both the woman and dog are safe, and Roxy is in a new home.

Swanson warned against used emotional manipulation during a dispute.

"Take care of your animals, and don't use them as leverage," he said.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, call the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.