Attorney David Chesley's Criminal Defense Blog

Homeless Man in Prison for Vehicle Theft and Animal Cruelty

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Danny Fis, a 30 year old homeless man has been sentenced to sixteen months in prison for stealing a van with a dog inside of it and ultimately causing the dog’s death. Fis plead “no contest” to both the vehicle theft and animal cruelty charges, according to a statement from the L.A. County District Attorney.

Fis allegedly stole the van with the dog in it outside of a clothing store in North Hollywood, this event took place on August 17th, 2013. The owner of the van, Nayo Mateo had left the van running with the A/C on because his 10 year old yellow lab was left inside. While his family was inside the store, the car theft happened.

According to prosecutors, Fis took the van while the dog was still inside, he later abandoned the van with the lab still in there and the windows rolled up.

Mateo is greatly saddened by the loss of his dog, who he referred to as more like a child than a house pet. Even Mateo’s 2 year old daughter misses her dog, according to Mateo’s wife, their daughter asked repeatedly “Where is Maru?”

Several days after the theft took place, the van was found. Sadly the dog was found inside, the cause of the dog’s death was from heat exhaustion.

Mateo’s 2 year old daughter with Maru


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