A gentle Golden Labrador Retriever was found dead in her family’s minivan in Studio City, after the van was stolen on Saturday with her in it. A $5,000 reward is being offered by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for information leading to the arrest and cruelty-to-animals conviction of the person or persons responsible for this crime.
On Saturday, August 17, Nayo Mateo took his wife and two-year-old daughter shopping at a strip mall in Studio City, a neighborhood in Los Angeles. The family took Maru, their beautiful ten-year-old Golden Labrador Retriever, along for the ride.
It was a hot day, with temperatures reaching 99 degrees in the San Fernando Valley, where Studio City is located. After waiting in the van awhile, Nayo decided to leave the air-conditioner on in the vehicle and duck into the store to ask his wife to finish her shopping. He left Maru in the van to stay cool. When Nayo walked out of the store, he immediately saw the Honda Odyssey—and their beloved Maru--had been stolen.
The family contacted police and searched for their car and dog for hours Sunday to no avail. They also posted fliers and visited several animal shelters.
Around 4:30 p.m. on Monday, detectives with the North Hollywood division of LAPD said they received a call about an abandoned van nearby at the Weddington Golf & Tennis Club at 4141 Whitsett Ave. in Studio City.
Sadly, officers found Maru dead in the back seat with the windows rolled up. An LAPD detective said a preliminary examination indicates she may have died of heat stroke.
The family says Maru was a sweet, quiet dog and her constant companion, his 2-year-old daughter Lucy, won't stop asking where Maru is.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is offering the $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and cruelty-to-animals conviction of the person or persons responsible for this crime. Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD North Hollywood Division at 818-623-4016.
“Maru likely experienced a prolonged, painful and terrifying death, which is typical of animals left in hot cars who succumb to heat stroke,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch in a statement. “Perpetrators of crimes against animals must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Sources: Press Telegram