Dog stolen from adoption event in Ocala

Police search for dog with distinctive patch around eye

OCALA, Fla. – Authorities are offering a reward for information leading to the safe return of a dog stolen from an adoption event in Central Florida.

The American Staffordshire terrier was stolen from the Humane Society, which was conducting adoptions at the PetSmart at 3500 Southwest College Road, police said.

[RAW: Surveillance video of stolen dog | PICS: Stolen dog sought ]

According to Ocala police, store surveillance video showed a man purchasing a leash before opening a cage and stealing the dog.  The man walked out of the store with the dog on the newly purchased leash, police said.

The man was described only as wearing a dark shirt, tan shorts and tennis shoes.

"I don't like the idea that people think that animals are things -- that they can be stolen," said Patti Lumpkin, board member for the Humane Society of Marion County.

The dog, named Gabe, is black and white, with a distinctive black patch around its right eye.

"The dog was a very active dog," Lumpkin told Local 6. "The fact that he likes to climb a little bit -- even tall fences. He may make it out, and he may get run over and maybe get killed."

Lumpkin used to work in law enforcement, and she said she also worries Gabe may be used in dog fighting.

The staff at the shelter has prepared Gabe's kennel for his return with fresh bedding and a clean toy waiting for him.

Ocala police said the 1-year-old dog was being adopted for $90 and has a microchip.

Police said on Friday they are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Gabe, using funds raised through a GoFundMe account and private donations,.

Police said anyone with information about the theft is urged to call Ocala police.

To help donate to increase the reward, go to http://e.gofund.me/w2xpkh9

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