VAN NUYS ( — A transient who allegedly stole a van containing a Studio City family’s dog, which was found dead inside the vehicle upon it’s recovery, was charged Tuesday with auto theft and cruelty to an animal.

Danny Fis, 29, pleaded not guilty to both felony counts and has been ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $45,000 bail.

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Fis was located and arrested at approximately 7:45 p.m. on Friday in the 4100 block of Whitsett Avenue, just north of Ventura Boulevard, according to authorities.

Fis was arrested in a parking lot outside the Weddington Golf and Tennis Club, where the van had been abandoned. He was spotted by the dog’s owner while he was being interviewed by KCAL9.

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The minivan was stolen at about 3 p.m. on Saturday near the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Whitsett Avenue. Nayo Mateo, the van’s owner, explained that he had gone into a store to get his wife and young daughter, leaving the van running with the air conditioning on, and when he returned, the vehicle was gone.

The family’s 10-year old yellow Labrador retriever, Maru, was asleep inside the van. The family had raised the dog from a pup, according to Mateo.

The van was located at about 5 p.m. on Aug. 19 in the 4100 block of Whitsett Avenue, and the dog was dead inside, according to police. Investigators said that the van’s windows had been rolled up, and suggested the dog likely died from the heat.

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