A Los Lunas man accused of intentionally injuring a cat in January has been identified and charged.

Larry Jake Baca, 45, of Los Lunas, has been charged with one count of cruelty to animals, a fourth-degree felony, after allegedly intentionally and maliciously torturing a cat named Buffy, subsequently killing the animal.

Larry Jake Baca
Charged with animal cruelty
(Mugshot from Dec. 2021)

According to the criminal complaint Los Lunas Detective Heather Killingsworth reviewed Ring doorbell footage taken by Baca’s neighbor on Manzano Avenue, in the village of Los Lunas, where the incident took place.

In the video, the front of a light color pickup truck can be see parked in the neighbor’s driveway. The truck can be heard running in the video, according to the complaint, and Baca is seen approaching the front of the truck.

“Mr. Baca looks under the truck then walks back towards the driver side. He pops the hood of the truck and opens it,” the complaint reads. “Mr. Baca looks into the engine compartment and says, ‘Ah you (explicative) cats! (*something inaudible* (explicative)).’”

He slams the hood of the truck and as he is walking towards the driver seat, he says, “I’m gonna (explicative) kill them!,” the complaint continues. Killingsworth wrote she can hear the engine rev at an extremely high rate, then Baca speeds the truck forward into the street causing rock landscaping to fly our from under the tires.

He stops the truck in the middle of the street and Killingsworth reports seeing a large light colored walk away from under the truck in the video footage.

“Mr. Baca revs the engine again while the cat is dragging her legs behind her, clearly in  pain and injured from the truck,” the detective wrote. “The cat lays down in the landscaping and appears hurt, injured and unable to move and in clear need of help. Mr. Baca backs the truck up slightly and pulls forward again.”

That’s where the video ends, the detective wrote.

When LLPD Deputy Chief Charles Files interviewed Baca, the man said after he started his truck that day, it didn’t “sound or feel right.” Baca said he looked under the hood but didn’t see any cats. Later that night, when he looked at his own home security video, Baca said he saw a cat fall out of his engine compartment after he revved the engine.

The 2-year-old cat was cared for by Baca’s neighbor, who provided the doorbell footage of the incident, the complaint reads, and was fixed, vaccinated and roamed the neighborhood.

The investigation by LLPD further revealed Baca is on active stipulated conditions of release through the 13th Judicial District Court for felony charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon (against a household member) and false imprisonment, according to a recent press release from the department.

Baca is scheduled to make his first appearance before Belen Magistrate John Chavez at 9 a.m., Thursday, March 31.

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Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.