Chihuahua's injuries lead to man's arrest on animal abuse charge

Christopher Lee Lewis

A Medford man who reportedly tossed a Chihuahua 15 feet through the air, breaking its two front legs and causing internal bleeding and brain trauma, was arrested Wednesday on a charge of first-degree aggravated animal abuse.

Medford police arrested Christopher Lee Lewis, 29, of the 1900 block of Pepper Street, Medford. He was lodged in the Jackson County Jail, but has since been released because of crowding.

The dog's owner first contacted police Wednesday to tell them his roommate had injured his dog March 3. The dog had urinated in the house, and the man gave it to Lewis to take outside. Police said Lewis took the little dog to the home's rear sliding door and threw it into the backyard.

It was apparent the dog was seriously injured that night. The other residents of the house confronted Lewis about what he had done and he left.

"They monitored the dog that night," said Lt. Mike Budreau. "He was obviously injured. His pupils were dilated. He couldn't walk, and he continued to cry."

The dog also shook from uncontrollable tremors. The owner took it to All Creatures Animal Hospital in Eagle Point the next day. Veterinarians confirmed two broken legs, brain trauma, internal bleeding, and possible neck and jaw injuries.

The dog's owner contacted police March 6. Lewis had still not come back to the Pepper Street home.

Police later found Lewis near the intersection of Jackson and North Front streets. He was arrested.

"He did provide a statement and was apologetic for what he did," Budreau said, adding Lewis alleged the incident was an accident. "We think it was an intentional act. We believe he was angry at the time."

The case is under review by the Jackson County District Attorney's Office. Aggravated animal abuse is a class C felony.

— Ryan Pfeil

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