Man gets 16 months for running over estranged wife's Chihuahua

A Sherman Oaks man who pleaded no contest to deliberately running his car over his estranged wife's Chihuahua, killing the dog, was sentenced Monday to 16 months in state prison. 

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz handed down the sentence three days after Michael David Parker, 45, pleaded no contest to one felony count of animal cruelty and admitted using his car as a deadly weapon.

Because Parker admitted to the allegation about the car, the charge now counts as a strike under California's three-strikes law, the L.A. County district attorney's office said. 

Parker was charged with two additional counts — felony animal neglect and misdemeanor petty theft of a dog — but they were dropped in exchange for the plea. If convicted of all the original charges, prosecutors said Parker would have faced more than five years in prison.

Authorities say Parker killed the dog, a 5½-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 in Hawthorne. The incident was caught on video by a nearby security camera.

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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