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Actress Jena Malone rescues dog in Hollywood-esque citizen’s arrest

Actress Jena Malone stopped her car and ran out to help save a dog she said was being abused. (KNBC)
4 min

Jena Malone had to do something.

As the Hunger Games actress drove through Hollywood on Monday, she noticed a man repeatedly kicking a small white dog, yanking the animal in the air and choking it.

“I yelled at him to stop from my car but he wouldn’t,” she wrote in a Twitter thread Wednesday.

So Malone got out of her car and chased him, she said, signaling a man in an orange vest to run with her.

Soon, five more men were running behind Malone.

With enough reinforcements, Malone said she held back because she had “no business trying to restrain a full grown man.” She got back in her car and drove to where the man had been stopped. There, she witnessed the “tail end of a heated fight.”

Video obtained by KNBC showed several people beating the man — including one who appeared to repeatedly strike him with a pole — even after the dog had been rescued. They subdued him until the police arrived, saying they were conducting a citizen’s arrest, the news station reported.

Malone said she waited with the dog until a police officer arrived to take it to the hospital. “The dog was covered in filth and looked like it had been not taken care of for months,” she wrote.

A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson told The Washington Post that the incident took place around 11:30 a.m. near Sunset Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue. The man whom Malone and other chased was booked on a charge of felony animal cruelty, the spokesperson said. It’s unclear whether anyone seen hitting the man had been arrested.

The dog, a 6-year-old maltipoo named Champ, survived the chaotic episode but remains in the hospital with broken ribs, some scrapes and a broken left hind leg, Champ’s owner, Kelly McKinney, told The Post.

In an interview, McKinney said it was her son who stole Champ and led bystanders on the chase this week. The Post is not naming the man because he has not been identified by police, and court records did not show charges against him as of late Wednesday.

McKinney, 50, runs a nonprofit donation center in South Los Angeles. About 2½ weeks ago, she left Champ and his brother, Junebug, at the center while she picked up food donations from several grocery stores. Earlier, her son had been asking to see Champ, but McKinney would not allow it because she and her son had not been getting along.

When McKinney returned from her errands, Champ was gone. She suspected her son had taken him.

On Tuesday, after weeks of worrying about Champ’s well-being, McKinney received a call from a shelter saying Champ was safe but injured. She did not think her son would hurt the dog, but then she turned on the news.

“I almost passed out,” she said. “Everything that was in me … went to the gates of heaven and came back.”

The KNBC segment showed her son lying on the ground, saying that the dog was his mom’s and that it was not obeying him.

“He’s all right,” McKinney’s son said. “Nothing wrong with him.”

McKinney said she thought the beating of her son was excessive and that the men should have let him run away once they rescued the dog. But she said she isn’t angry because the abuse of her dog was inexcusable.

“The last thing I thought he would do is put his hands on that dog,” McKinney said of her son. “Champ is helpless and every bit of 12 pounds. How do you do that to him?”

A GoFundMe campaign was set up to cover Champ’s medical bills, as the dog will require surgery. Malone appeared to have donated $100.

“I’m sorry that it ended in a brawl but the dog was going to die,” Malone wrote. “No question.”