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      4 EXCLUSIVE: 'I am not a monster,' says man accused of punching dog

      Dogs get a lot of attention, care and love at the Harlingen Humane Society.

      It's not the case for one dog back on March 25th.

      "I handed him the dog and he grabbed it and he held it up and he said, 'I'm going to kick your f**king a**!'

      Jennifer Phipps, shelter assistant manager said. "Then he took the dog and went outside the shelter."

      It's in the shelter's parking lot where a citizen allegedly saw Raul Martinez, Jr. beat up his Chihuahua.

      "According to that person that came in they said they saw him hold the dog down by its throat and punch it several times," Kim Warunek, shelter executive director said.

      Harlingen police arrested the 39-year-old on April 1st and charged him with animal cruelty.

      Life hasn't been the same for him since.

      Raul says he's been labeled a monster in the public eye.

      He admits he was annoyed about having to pay the $35 dollar shelter fee for a dropped off dog, but adds he is not animal abuser.

      Raul spoke exclusively to Action 4's Ryan Wolf.

      "When you were accused of punching the dog, what did that do to you?" Ryan asked.

      "Destroyed me man," he said. "The only other option is to jump off a bridge."

      Raul is glad to have the support of his close friends and family.

      He also points to the love of his Chihuahua named Rez, who TMs at the center of the abuse allegations and appears to show no signs of injuries.

      "I'm a dog lover man," he told Ryan. "If I see a stray dog and he's got a collar and he's running around or I think it's a stray dog, I'll at least check the collar and see if I can find its owner. That's just the type of person I am."

      He has another Chihuahua and a different breed he recently rescued.

      There's plenty of food, water and shelter for the animals in his backyard.

      He also placed bricks near a hole in the fence where Rez escaped from back on March 24th.

      Raul says he would never lay a hand on his pets.

      "To me... to me... it just sucks man," he said with his head down.

      Shelter workers can't erase what they saw.

      "It's heart breaking for us," Kim said.

      They feel animals are better served at the shelter then in the hands of someone who abuses a pet.

      A court date has not yet been set in the criminal case.

      Raul has asked for a court appointed attorney to represent him.

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