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Man pleads no contest to running over estranged wife's Chihuahua

April 25, 2014|By Samantha Schaefer and Kate Mather
  • Michael David Parker.
Michael David Parker. (Hawthorne Police Department )

A man accused of deliberately running over his estranged wife's Chihuahua pleaded no contest Friday to an animal cruelty charge.

Michael David Parker, 45, of Sherman Oaks, pleaded no contest to one felony count of cruelty to an animal and admitted to using his car as a deadly weapon, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

Judge Keith Schwartz is expected to sentence Parker to 16 months in state prison and dismiss the remaining felony charges of petty theft of a dog and animal cruelty, the D.A.'s office said.

Authorities allege Parker killed the dog, a 5½-year-old named Cow Cow, on Dec. 28, when he ran over it and left it in a Hawthorne alley near El Segundo Boulevard and Doty Avenue. The incident was caught on video by a nearby security camera.

The video shows a man parking his car in the alley, then getting something out of his trunk. The dog then scurries alongside the vehicle before standing in the middle of the alley.

The car backs up and speeds toward the animal, which tries to run out of the way before it is hit. The vehicle then drives off, leaving the mortally injured dog in the alley.

The Chihuahua was "completely run over," Hawthorne police said in a statement after Parker's arrest.

Hawthorne police Lt. Scott Swain said someone later placed the dog's body in the bag and moved it to the side of the alley. A passerby spotted it about a week later.

"Someone was walking by and smelled it — it had been out for a while," Swain said.

Investigators used the video footage to identify the car's license plate and registration and trace it back to Parker, Swain said. He was arrested Jan. 3.

"It's just shocking to see a little animal like that and to see this guy — you can actually see him drive toward the dog," Swain said at the time of Parker's arrest.

"We come across weird things, strange things, gruesome things, but even to us, to see something like this is shocking." 

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Twitter: @Sam_Schaefer

Samantha.Schaefer@latimes.com 

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