Florida woman's puppy stolen from car during apparent road rage incident


A woman is accused of snatching another woman's 3-month-old puppy out of her open car window Wednesday while she waited at a red light near the University of South Florida in Tampa, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

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Laura Rodriguez, 22, told police that she was driving with her sister in the passenger seat when a car cut her off in traffic as she was approaching a turning lane. At the light, a woman got out of the car and began cursing and yelling, Rodriguez told police, apparently because she wasn't driving fast enough. 

The woman then reached into a half-open window and grabbed one of the two dogs in the back seat.

"We've had puppies stolen from yards and pet stores," Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter told the Times. "but nothing else I can remember about one being taken out of a person's vehicle." 

>> RELATED: Woman finds out day too late missing dog was adopted 

Rodriguez said the 8-pound, brown Labrador retriever puppy named Bella was snatched by her leash. The other rescue dog in the back seat dropped to the floor and started barking. The car sped away, ran a red light and disappeared into the USF campus, the Times story said. Rodriguez said she tried to follow the car, which was an old gray or dark-colored sedan with a male driver, but lost it.

Rodriguez has posted photos of Bella on Facebook in hopes of finding her. "She is a very attached puppy," Rodriguez wrote on the Lost and Found Pets of Hillsborough County page. "She needs me as much as I need her."

>> RELATED: Girl's tearful plea to find missing dog answered 

Bella and her other dog were adopted when they were abandoned by their owner, Rodriguez said. She might be able to offer a reward, but she doesn't have much money, she told the Times. "I just want to have my baby back."

Anyone with information about Bella's whereabouts can call sheriff's office investigators at (813) 247-8200.

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