A California man was charged Tuesday for tying a runaway chihuahua with electrical wires and kicking it. The canine, which went missing from its Southern California home Sunday, was reunited with its owners.

The Santa Ana Police received a call Sunday reporting that a dog was being abused by a male Hispanic adult, who bound its legs with electrical wires before kicking it. Police reached the area and found the man standing over the dog. The small dog was wrapped with a bungee cord around its throat and chest and also had a multi-colored electrical wire tied around its legs.

Officers immediately took the suspect, 28-year-old Jose Manuel Pantoja, into custody and the canine, with visible injuries, was taken to Orange County Emergency Pet Clinic for treatment, Fox 5 reported.

The suspect did not give a reason for abusing the dog. He told officers the canine did not belong to him and that “it was just following him around.” He was booked for cruelty to animals and placed at Santa Ana jail. Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said the dog was used as “a soccer ball” by the suspect.

Officers managed to find the chihuahua’s owners Monday who said the dog escaped after the yard gate was left open. The owners told officers they were looking for their 13-year-old dog throughout the night and that it was considered a family member. 

Stephany Chavez, the dog’s owner, said, "I didn’t think I would see him again, but here he is. I’m just glad he’s OK and he’s not any worse than this.”

"To think that someone would do that, it’s just very upsetting, it’s not right. He’s an animal, he can’t do anything to you, especially a small one like this,” she added, ABC-affiliated television station WGNO reported.

The suspect had a long criminal history. In November, he was charged with “assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury.”

The incident comes a few days after a California dog owner accused a mail carrier of routinely pepper spraying his pet dog for months. Strange spots appeared on the dog’s fur for months and when it reappeared recently, the owner decided to view CCTV footage which showed a mail carrier holding a cylindrical object in his hand and the dog beginning to convulse at the same time.

The owner found nine such instances in the last one month. The owner’s children, who touched the pooch often, also developed respiratory problems. The owner filed a police report and a complaint with the Postal Service.