Floyd, the one-year-old Chihuahua found dead on May 23, had reportedly been abused for several weeks before his death. Adopted on April 6 by his alleged killer Kyle Barbre, 21, after just over a month at the County Animal Shelter, Floyd was a stray known by the animal volunteers who worked with him as “a sweet, playful, young, adorable dog,” said Give a Dog a Home co-founder Lynnie Shaw.
On the evening of May 23, remembers Animal Rescue Team executive director and co-founder Julia di Sieno, who happened to be working the team’s 24/7 animal rescue hotline, Barbre’s distressed girlfriend called to report the dog’s abuse. Di Sieno called 9-1-1, prompting Sheriff’s detectives to launch an investigation out of Barbre’s apartment on Armitos Avenue in Goleta, where he lived with his father.
One week before Floyd’s death, a neighbor reportedly called authorities after hearing a dog crying for 15 minutes. The nature of the abuse remains unclear.
Barring the County Animal Shelter’s involvement in the investigation was Floyd’s adoption from the shelter one month earlier. Detectives said only his remains were found, and a necropsy provided the evidence to arrest Barbre on Wednesday at his workplace in Santa Barbara. He was being held in County Jail on $100,000 bail for one count of felony animal cruelty until his Thursday arraignment, when his bail was reduced to $20,000 — a standard amount for the crime of animal cruelty — by Judge Raimundo Montes de Oca.
Prosecutor Deputy District Attorney Kevin Weichbrod, who argued bail should stay at $100,000, said in an interview, “We’re talking about something much more serious [than a $20,000-bail crime].”
Montes de Oca, who took into account Barbre’s age and nonexistent criminal history, added eight bailout requirements, including that he has no pets, he enrolls in a court-approved anger management or counseling program, and he seeks mental health treatment. Barbre is being represented by public defender Bob Dahlstedt, who was not immediately available for comment. With ties to Massachusetts, Barbre has reportedly been in California for about three years.
In May 2014, SBCC international student Duanying Chen, 19, tortured a five-month-old Pinscher puppy until it needed to be put down. Charged with two felony animal cruelty charges, strangling, and dissuading his girlfriend, Chen was sentenced to one year in jail. Following his release, he was deported to his native China on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer.
Out of Chen’s case, animal rights activists formed Davey’s Voice and Davey’s Legacy, two nonprofits intended to strengthen Santa Barbara County’s laws against animal abuse. In light of Floyd’s death, both groups are planning memorials for the Chihuahua.