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City Official Charged In Dog Dispute; Dog Missing

September 29, 1994

LAWNDALE, Calif. (AP) _ They called Cassie, but she wouldn’t come home.

So, the black chow chow is now in the middle of a dogfight between a couple who claim to be her owners and a woman who found her. And to make matters worse, the dog has disappeared again and the woman has been charged with interfering with a police investigation.

The 2-year-old dog got lost the first time Sept. 11 when she wandered away from her suburban Los Angeles home, said owners Vicky and Joseph French.

The next day, a few blocks away, Edie Warwick found a dog fitting Cassie’s description. Warwick, who sits on the city planning commission, placed a newspaper ad about the found dog.

Joseph French saw the ad and went Warwick’s house with his sons, ages 7 and 11, and a picture of Cassie. But because they didn’t have ownership papers, Warwick wanted proof.

French and his sons called Cassie but she didn’t come.

They argued. The Frenches called the sheriff.

Deputies came, and so did Mayor Harold Hoffmann and Councilman Larry Rudolph, who appointed Warwick to the planning commission.

Joseph French called Cassie again.

″(The dog) bolted and ran back in the house,″ Warwick said. ″I said, ’That’s it. The dog is staying.‴

Prosecutors filed misdemeanor charges Friday against Warwick. If convicted, she could face up to 18 months in jail and a $1,500 fine. Arraignment was set for Oct. 6.

But Warwick said Tuesday she couldn’t cooperate even if she wanted. She said someone took the dog while she was out Monday night. Warwick’s two white Akitas were left behind, and the Frenches and police are suspicious.

″Why would I hide the dog?″ Warwick asked. ″Do you think I’m crazy?″

The case was beginning to echo in the city council chambers, where Warwick’s tenure comes up for a vote in two weeks. Councilwoman Virginia Rhodes asked that it be discussed at the next meeting.

″This is one of those things you wish would go away real quick,″ the mayor said last week. ″Evidently it’s not going to.″

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