In a disturbing crime caught entirely on video, a 45-year-old man purposely drove over his pet Chihuahua, speeding away as the bloodied dog convulsed and died in a Hawthorne alley, police said Monday.
Michael David Parker, 45, of Hawthorne was arrested Friday on suspicion of animal cruelty. He was released from jail after posting $20,000 bail, Hawthorne police Lt. Scott Swain said.
“It’s a little poor defenseless dog and the guy just runs right over it and leaves and doesn’t offer any help,” Swain said.
Parker admitted to police that he’s in the video, but told detectives it was an accident. The shocking video, however, seems to suggest otherwise.
“You can see him swerving toward the dog,” Swain said.
Parker, the facilities manager at the Hustler Casino in Gardena, did not return a message left at his office. A friend of Parker’s estranged wife, Olga Parker, told the Daily Breeze that the killing stemmed from a bitter divorce. The couple’s two dogs, Cow Cow and Lucky, lived at the couple’s otherwise vacant house on First Street in San Pedro. Olga Parker stopped by every day to feed them. Now that Cow Cow has been found dead, Olga Parker is concerned about Lucky, who is missing.
“She is so distraught right now,” the friend said. “He knew that Olga loved these dogs desperately.”
Police and animal control officers began an investigation Thursday when a resident reported the dead animal in an alley off El Segundo Boulevard and Doty Avenue. The dog had been dead for several days, so someone had placed it in a plastic bag, Swain said.
The resident went to police after reviewing surveillance video focused on the alley. The video shows a man pulling into the alley on Dec. 28 and, after a couple of minutes, running over the dog, Swain said.
“The resident was shocked,” Swain said. “I went over there with a detective Friday morning. I watched it and you are horrified.”
The video shows the man get out of his car and open the trunk. He then gets back into his car. The male dog, 5-1/2-year-old Cow Cow, which had presumably been in the trunk, runs forward and stops in the center of the alley.
“Parker backs his vehicle up, and then appears to accelerate rapidly, steering directly toward the dog,” Swain said. “Cow Cow is run completely over.”
A second video shot from the rear of the car shows the dog writhing on the ground until it dies.
“It’s gruesome,” Swain said. “It starts bleeding, his little back leg twitching.”
Police said the motive for the crime was unknown, even though Parker and his wife are estranged.
“There’s no indication that’s it, ‘I’m angry at you. That’s why I’m doing that,’ ” Swain said. “It is both of their dogs. So we don’t have a motive. He was arrested and he didn’t want to go into details. He didn’t indicate why he did it.”
But Parker’s estranged wife’s friend, who asked to remain anonymous for his own protection, said Parker became irate Dec. 28 when she refused to sign their San Pedro house over to him.
“He made threats against her and her family,” the friend said. “He said, ‘You are going to sign these documents or else.’ ”
Olga Parker filed for divorce in the summer of 2011 following 16 years of marriage. The couple have three children — two boys ages 15 and 12, and a 6-year-old daughter. Parker has since had a child with a new girlfriend.
The divorce settlement has slowly been making its way through family court. The friend said cutbacks in the Superior Court system in Los Angeles County have slowed the process.
Parker and his estranged wife both moved out of their San Pedro residence, but Parker wants to take control of it, the wife’s friend said.
“This guy is just a piece of work,” the friend said. “He believes he is above the law because of his position with Larry Flynt.”
Flynt, a famous publisher of pornographic magazines, owns the Hustler Casino where Parker works.
The friend described the missing dog, Lucky, as a black mutt, with a white underside.
Olga Parker has told her children that the dogs are gone and that one was killed. One child told his mother he did not believe his father would do such a thing, the friend said.
Parker is scheduled for arraignment March 25 at the Airport courthouse in Del Aire.
“This has gone too far,” the friend said. “If this guy doesn’t go to jail for this, there is no justice.”
Article by Larry Altman