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Carjacking leads to heat-related death of crippled dog

August 18, 2008 |  2:14 pm

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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