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Man accused of running car over wife's Chihuahua charged

A man accused of stealing and killing his estranged wife's Chihuahua by deliberately running his car over the animal in a Hawthorne alley was charged Wednesday with felony animal cruelty, prosecutors said.

Michael Parker, 45, of Sherman Oaks, also was charged with one count of felony animal neglect and a misdemeanor count of petty theft of a dog, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said. The animal cruelty charge carries an allegation that he used his car as a deadly weapon.

Parker is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. If convicted of the charges, prosecutors said, he faces a maximum of five years and two months in prison.

Authorities allege Parker killed the dog, a 5 1/2-year-old named Cow Cow, on Dec. 28, when he ran over it and left it in an alley near El Segundo Boulevard and Doty Avenue. The incident was caught on video.

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 then 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 dog alone 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 the animal about a week later.

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

Investigators used the 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: @katemather | Google+

kate.mather@latimes.com

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