WeHo Residents Band Together to Stop Dognapper

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A group of West Hollywood residents have banded together to try to stop a man who allegedly is stealing dogs and selling them or trying to extort rewards from their owners.

A poster with a photo of the man alleged to be stealing dogs in West Hollywood.
A poster with a photo of the man alleged to be stealing dogs in West Hollywood.

The man, who the residents have identified as Donnel Nelson, is African-American and apparently homeless. The residents, who live north of Fountain Avenue between La Cienega and Crescent Heights boulevards, have posted sightings of the man on Nextdoor, a neighborhood website. In one posting a resident said the man has been seen sleeping in empty buildings on Fairfax Avenue south of Fountain. They also have put up posters with a photo of the man in various places

One of the neighbors, Angela Stimson, told WEHOville that Nelson was arrested last year for stealing a dog outside of Whole Foods on Santa Monica Bouelvard between Fairfax and Orange Grove avenues. That theft was caught on a security camera, and Nelson was arrested after trying to collect a reward from the dog’s owner.

In June Nelson  was spotted on Orange Grove Avenue with an emaciated German shepherd. According to a resident who confronted him then, Nelson said he was training the dog to fight and was not giving it food or water. Local residents confronted Nelson and took the dog away from him.

According to Stinson, Nelson was spotted by one of her neighbors on Jan. 28 outside the 7-Eleven store on Santa Monica Boulevard at Laurel. “He was standing outside with a bulldog that had obviously just had puppies,” Stinson said in a post on Nextdoor. “He was dragging it along with a thick chain around his neck. My neighbor had seen our posters and confronted him while calling the Sherrif. Nelson ran off with the bulldog while dropping a bag of crystal meth.”

Stimson also said Nelson has been seen carrying a possum in a knapsack. “Whenever I walk my dog he has approached me and says ‘Can I buy your dog?'” she said.

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Stimson said Sheriff’s deputies initially were unhelpful when residents approached them. “They could not have been less interested,” she said. But then the neighbors agreed to “bombard” the Sheriff’s Station with complaints, she said. Stinson and others held a meeting last Wednesday at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. Stinson said the deputy involved in the meeting was “incredibly helpful … They seem to be really on it.”

Lt. Dave Smith of the Sheriff’s Station explained to WEHOville that deputies are unable to arrest a suspect without a complaint from someone that his or her dog has been stolen. Without such a complaint there is no evidence that deputies can act on. However Smith said the Sheriff’s Station is aware of the situation and is keeping an eye on the man.

The residents have warned one another not to leave their dogs tied up outside stores or restaurants, leaving them vulnerable to theft. Anyone who is missing a dog is asked to call the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station at (310) 855-8850.

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Adam
Adam
8 years ago

Just an update – I watched this man steal a bike from a neighbor’s apartment this morning about 9:20 a.m. on the 1000 N. Ogden block. He’s still out there being a thief. Keep an eye out for him!

Sarah
Sarah
9 years ago

Why are all of the comments about how awful pit bulls are, and nothing about the guy stealing dogs? I saw him yesterday, while walking my pit bull. He started to make a comment to me, took a look at my dog, and walked off. Thank god for my pit bull, or he may have tried something with me!

BlueEyedBoy
BlueEyedBoy
9 years ago

Sorry, fine7760, but the evidence is against you on this issue.

I don’t see the need to comment further on this.

fine7760mike dunn
9 years ago
Reply to  BlueEyedBoy

Good! Reading biased,uninformed comments is really getting old.

fine7760
9 years ago

Blueeyed boy, You can not be convinced Pitt Bulls are as dangerous as the owner that trains them. If you want to identify a vicious dog that rarely are friendly to those other than their owners it’s Chihuahuas. But with that said I don’t advocate banning them. Yes, they are small but so are children. As a child I was was bitten twice by dogs. I gave up a paper route because a dog would chase after me everyday and grab my leg. But I have had several dogs as a adult and find each one of them to be… Read more »

BlueEyedBoy
BlueEyedBoy
9 years ago

It was hardly an obscure story. It was right in my face yesterday as one of the headline articles on MSN’s homepage. I mentioned it to a friend who had also seen it, but on another source. I didn’t ask him where he had seen it, but I know that he gets a lot of his news on Yahoo. I wish I had posted here another recent article on the most dangerous dog breeds, but I was “giving it a rest”. But it revealed that more than half (I think it was 56%) of all assaults by dogs resulting in… Read more »

fine7760
9 years ago

Blue EyedBoy
Give it a rest. You dig up obscure stories to prove your point but apparently have never encountered a pit bull you didn’t like. I own one. She is one of the most gentle dogs in the neighborhood. No matter what size dogs she encounters on her many walks each day not one other dog owner is afraid she will harm their dog.

BlueEyedBoy
BlueEyedBoy
9 years ago

Also, Alana, I’ve learned that homeowners who have a pit bull often cannot get insurance.

Zachary
Zachary
9 years ago
Reply to  BlueEyedBoy

@BleEyedBoy I don’t understand your attack on Pit Bull’s. Your link to the article on MSN clearly states that it was a “pack” of dogs that attacked. Dog’s of ALL breeds will attack if they are in the state of a pack mentality. It is NOT only Pit Bull’s. I have known many Pit Bull’s, some very friendly, some not so friendly. To make a blanket statement that all PB breed dogs are vicious is unfair, and incorrect. The reason many cities and some countries “ban” the breed is because they would rather eliminate/ban the entire breed as a simple… Read more »

BlueEyedBoy
BlueEyedBoy
9 years ago

Yeah, Zimmerman may be one of the most hated men in the country, but as it says in the article, he was a really good guy before he was the opening story in the national news every day.

BlueEyedBoy
BlueEyedBoy
9 years ago

I’ve learned there are several cities in Florida that won’t allow pit bull dogs, including Miami. If Sanford, Fl. had been one of those Trayvon Martin would not have been shot, because George Zimmerman was carrying a gun only because he had been advised to by law enforcement to protect himself from a menacing pit bull dog in the neighborhood.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/25/us-usa-florida-shooting-zimmerman-idUSBRE83O18H20120425

fine7760
9 years ago
Reply to  BlueEyedBoy

Zimmerman must be having a lot of bad luck with Pit bulls since he is still carrying a gun everywhere he goes.

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