Police turned a tragic situation around for one southeast Fresno family.
Officers said 24-year-old Gildardo Ochoa was possibly high on drugs when he allegedly killed his family’s puppy, which was a present for 10-year-old Chris De La Cruz. He was arrested for the crime, but his relatives were left devastated.
Officers returned the next day, but it was for a much better reason. They said they knew they had to do something for the family and went out of their way to help.
“The entire situation was extremely sad. It was a 10-year-old, it was his birthday present,” Officer Michaele Zwolenski said.
It happened Monday September 30. Two officers responded to a family disturbance call.
“He went inside the home, they heard a scream and they found out later the puppy had been deceased,” Zwolenski said.
Zwolenski did not respond to the original call, but Officer Mark Warner did, and the two were paired together the next day. She said they decided to use their own money to buy Chris a new dog.
“Delivering the puppy and seeing their emotions and how upset they were. It felt good to do that for them,” she said.
“They were happy. They were happy and that’s what matters, to be happy. They have a new puppy,” Allison De La Cruz, Chris’ mother said.
She said her family was not expecting the act of kindness.
“I just want to thank the officer who did this for us, and thank you for their prompt answer, and I hope that they’re blessed everyday,” she said.
Ochoa is now facing two felony charges, including animal cruelty. He’s booked in the Fresno County Jail.