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Cops Take Up Collection To Buy Dog Man Allegedly Tried to Steal

September 24, 1986

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Police arrested David E. Mills for investigation of trying to steal a dog from an animal shelter, then decided to buy him the pup after hearing his hard-luck tale.

″I just hope the story is true,″ said Detective Roger Ruggiero. ″If not, I guess I’ll give everybody’s money back.″

Mills, 30, was booked for investigation of burglary after police found him early Tuesday trying to carry a dirty-white, black-nosed boxer from the West Valley Animal Shelter in Northridge, said Detective Michael Moen.

Mills allegedly used a ladder to scale the roof of the shelter and reach the kennel’s inner court. Police were called by shelter workers who heard noises.

According to police, Mills, who works at a senior citizens center, said the boxer resembled his own dog, which was killed by a car in July. He told detectives he lacked the $48 to pay for the dog, license and vaccination shots, and he worried the pound would put the stray to sleep.

″For anyone who went to that much trouble to try to save the dog, it’ll be nice if he got what he wanted,″ said Sharon Levin, a detective division staff member. ″We got enough money to buy a collar and some dog food, too.″

The dog will be sprung once Mills posts his $2,500 bail.

Animal shelter District Supervisor Tom Walsh said the city would press charges: ″It’s theft.″

So far this year, a half-dozen pet owners have tried to break into the shelter to avoid paying the fee to retrieve their animals, said Lt. Tim Goffa of the Los Angeles animal regulation office.

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