Man faces animal cruelty charges after dog dies in stolen van

A man faces felony animal cruelty charges for allegedly stealing a van in Studio City and then leaving it locked up with a family dog inside, police said.

Danny Fis, 29, was arrested Friday near where the the Honda Odyssey was allegedly ditched just hours after Los Angeles police released surveillance photos of him, according to police.

Fis was arrested near a golf course on Whitsett Avenue after being spotted by the owner of the dog, a yellow Labrador named Maru.


The dog was found dead inside the abandoned vehicle two days after it was reported stolen Aug. 17 from a Studio City mall parking lot.

Police found the van with its windows rolled up and the dead dog inside. KTLA-TV reported animal control investigators determined Maru died of heat exhaustion.

Maru’s owner, Nayo Mateo, told NBC4 that he exchanged words with Fis as he was being led away Friday by police.

“I just told him that he’s going to pay for what he did,” Mateo said.

Fis was being held in lieu of $45,000 bail.

The dog-adoption agency Mutt Match L.A. was offering a $2,000 reward in the case.

A $5,000 reward was offered by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.


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