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Man accused of running over Chihuahua with car to appear in court

A man accused of killing his estranged wife's Chihuahua by deliberately running his car over it in a Hawthorne alley is scheduled to appear in court next week on a felony charge of animal cruelty.

Michael Parker, 45, of Sherman Oaks also faces 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 Thursday.

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, he faces a maximum of five years and two months in prison, prosecutors said.

Authorities allege Parker killed the 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, which 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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kate.mather@latimes.com

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