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Carjacking leads to heat-related death of crippled dog

Riverside County authorities are looking for a woman who stole a couple's SUV at a cemetery and later abandoned it, leaving the owners' crippled dog inside to die in the heat, the Press-Enterprise reports.

On Saturday afternoon, Craig and Mary Michael, both in their 60s, were visiting Riverside National Cemetery to pay tribute to veterans on V-J Day.

The Hemet couple parked their Ford Excursion and left it idling to run the air conditioner for their 16-year-old wolf-malamute mix, Rebel, who suffers from hip dysplasia. They told the Press-Enterprise they were less than 20 feet from the vehicle when a woman got behind the wheel and drove off:

"That is one of the most cowardly acts I can imagine," Craig Michael said. "She [Rebel] was my wife's heart and soul for 16 years."

If caught, authorities said, the suspect or suspects would face not only felony charges for vehicle theft -- contents from inside the car were stolen as well -- but also felony animal cruelty charges.

-- Francisco Vara-Orta

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Carjacking itself is a very serious and deadly crime and the reality of the victims' dog being killed should totally warant that this criminal and menace to society should be incracerated for numerous years.

A totally cowardly act from a cowardly individual. When she is found, she should be penalised to the maximum extent of the law for what she has done to this animal-loving and devoted couple.

If anyone is in this situation in the future, contact your county's appointed animal cruelty investigator. If you do not know who that is, start with the animal shelter near you, your county offices (Clerk of the Court), or Sheriff's department to locate the appointed ACI. In most cases an ACI is able to obtain a warrant quickly from the county magistrate and they can also get search and seize orders if an animal is in jeopardy.
A warrant thus obtained should satisfy Verizon. In some counties animal control officers have this power. I am in North Carolina and an animal cruelty investigator. I am sorry for the tremendous loss to the caretaker of this beloved companion. It seems there always has to be a case like this before things change.


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