Studio City Patch received exclusive details about the case about Maru the lovable yellow Labrador in a hot car to die over the weekend. Police said a video and photos are expected to be released sometime Friday afternoon.
In even more chilling details of the cruelty of the incident, after the guy jumped into the air conditioned stolen car and sped off with the dog inside, he then left the car less than a mile away at the Weddington Golf and Tennis Club, where it was found Monday afternoon.
“The guy went up to the front desk of the tennis club and told them that the was going to have to have his car towed and he was going to leave it there,” said Guy McCreary, the assistant manager of the club, whose family owns the club, and who found the video of the man who left the dog to die in the car. “He deliberately kept the windows up and left that dog to die in a hot car. I want to see that guy strung up by his balls.”
Animal Cruely Det. Leslie Mariscal told Patch Thursday afternoon that she hopes to release photos and more information on Friday through the Los Angeles Police department. Some video at the golf course may help identify a suspect, and they plan to release images from there.
“We are definitely looking for one suspect, and it is felony animal cruelty,” Mariscal said. The suspect also faces charges of car theft and vandalism. There was some initial speculation that the dog may have been killed before being left in the car, but it is inconclusive.
“At this point it was difficult to say if the dog died before being left there, but it doesn’t matter, this person is responsible for the death of the dog,” the detective said.
If you know anything more about this case, contact Det. Mariscal at (213) 486-0489.
Dozens of people from the local community and MuttMatchers.com helped search for the dog after Nayo Mateo came running over when his Honda Odyssey minivan was stolen.
“I turned away for a few seconds to run in to get my wife and daughter,” Mateo said. “I had the car running, the air conditioner was on because Maru was sleeping in the back steat.”
The minivan was taken from the front of Kriser’s Pet Store on the very busy Ventura Boulevard, and it was driven around the block to the golf course where it was abandoned. The car windows were left up, and the temperatures on Saturday and Sunday the next day went up to 90 degrees while the community was looking.
“The preliminary finding is that the dog passed away from heat stroke,” said Detective Larry Burns, with the North Hollywood auto theft unit.
Studio City Senior Lead Officer Mike Lewis had to make the call the family. “It wasn’t an easy call to make. They were very upset.”
Sheilah Aragon, who runs Mutt Match L.A., which rescues dogs, happened to be inside Kriser’s running an adoption clinic and jumped in to help.
“Obviously, Nayo and his family are devastated,” she said. “The cruel irony is, he thought he was doing the right thing by leaving her in the car with the AC on, in the end having the windows rolled up is what killed her.”
Mutt Matchers gathered up $2,000 for a reward to find Maru, and after the dog was found dead, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals offered $5,000 and private investigator John Nazarian offered another $1,000 for a reward.
“I want to help lead to the capture of this miserable piece of scum,” Nazarian said. “Reading that this poor animal suffered such a horrifying death is beyond my depth of anger.”
PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch said, “Maru likely experienced a prolonged, painful, and terrifying death, which is typical of animals left in hot cars who succumb to heatstroke. Perpetrators of crimes against animals must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
Two-year-old Lucy, Mateo’s daughter, has still been asking about what happened to the big 10-year-old dog.
Meanwhile, many people have offered the family another dog. Billy Woody, head puppy wrangler from Agoura Hills said, “I wanted to also offer a new puppy to this family to help ease the tragedy of losing their dog, especially in this fashion. Being the father of four children, two of the still in diapers, I can understand how devastating a loss like this can be to a child.”
Woody is a local breeder of Goldendoodles (www.jenniferscanines.com) and he said, “We currently have a couple of puppies left from our current litter of doodles that are just 10 weeks old and I would be happy to offer one of them, at no charge, to the family to help with their loss.
Meanwhile, the best thing is to keep an eye out for the suspect, or anyone who knows him.
McCreary, who has three dogs of his own, reflects the anger of the community (see video above of him discussing how he found the tape of the suspect.) “I can’t wait to help capture him,” he said. “I hope to help bring this injustice to peace.”