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Hard-Nosed Police Show Soft Spot for Dog Lover

United Press International

A burglary suspect rarely arouses the sympathy of police, but Los Angeles police detectives were so moved Tuesday by David Mills’ dog story that they opened up their wallets.

When Mills was arrested at 2 a.m. Tuesday on the roof of the West Valley Animal Shelter in Chatsworth, he was holding a white boxer that had been stolen from its cage, Detective Michael Moen said.

Mills, 30, later told detectives he wanted the dog because it resembled his late pet, which was run over by a car and killed in July. Mills told police he first saw the dog at the shelter last week, but didn’t have the money to buy it.

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He said he returned several times to see the dog and, during one of the visits, noticed on a card that it was scheduled to be put to sleep Tuesday.

“You can see how rotten I feel taking this one to the district attorney,” Moen said.

By noon Tuesday, the traditionally hard-nosed detectives had collected nearly $50, more than enough money to pay the fee for the dog.

But Animal Control spokesman Tim Goffa denied that the boxer, who was picked up as a stray, was facing extermination. Stray dogs, he said, are held for eight days before they are put up for sale.

Goffa said the boxer was picked up last week and was scheduled to go on sale Friday.

“I guess he just couldn’t wait,” Goffa said.

He said that, already this year, a half dozen pet owners have tried to break into the shelter to avoid paying the $29.50 fee to retrieve their animals.

Still, detectives were moved by Mills’ story.

“It’s not like he was going to sell the animal to buy drugs,” Detective Roger Roggiero said. “He just wanted a dog.”

Mills, unable to make his $2,500 bail, remained in Devonshire Division jail.


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