MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – A South Florida woman fears her dog’s life is in danger after, she said, a crook stole her SUV outside of an animal clinic with her pet inside.
Jennifer Mattei said she’s concerned for the health and well-being of Tala, her 11-year-old German shepherd/beagle mix.
“The thought of not knowing where she is, is just terrifying. I’m honestly in shock,” she said. “I’m just really freaking out that she’s locked in a hot car somewhere, or someone threw her on the side of the road.”
Mattei said Tala was taken at around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday following a routine visit to the vet, located along West Avenue, near Ninth Street, in Miami Beach.
Mattei said the thief took off with her dog inside the SUV.
“I put her in the car, turned the car on to run the AC, ran inside to pay. My car got stolen in 60 seconds, she said.
Mattei said the SUV was parked along the busy road when the crook drove off. Since there were no eyewitnesses, and the vet clinic doesn’t have surveillance video of the theft, she checked her SunPass app for clues.
“About 40 minutes after the car was missing, I could tell that the car was headed northbound, passing Golden Glades,” she said, “and about 20 minutes later again, by Sunrise [Boulevard] westbound, and that was the last time it was pinged.”
To make matters worse, Tala has a heart condition and needs to take medicine daily.
”She’s dependent on this heart medication, and if she doesn’t get it, she will die,” said Mattei.
Tala’s delicate health makes Mattei even more fearful, but she said she’s hopeful she can bring her precious pet back home.
“I was hoping someone just took it for a joyride around South Beach and abandoned the car somewhere, but it seems like there’s a plan to do something with the car,” she said. “To drive that far with a dog in the back seat is a little crazy. It seems like they’re on a mission, and the car is further from where I am, so it’s making me more nervous.”
If you have any information on this theft or Tala’s whereabouts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.
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