JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A dog owner is making a desperate plea to get her puppy back after police say a man stole the dog at a flea market on Jacksonville's Westside.
“It’s like he passed away and I can’t bring him back," Mildred Buzzard said. "My husband and I just plead to somebody out there to bring my dog home.”
Buzzard is now offering a $2,000 reward for the safe return of her 14-week-old Australian shepherd puppy named Rocky.
Photos of the puppy, along with the picture of the man who police believe stole him, started circulating on social media earlier this week. Now, Rocky’s owner is hoping someone has information about his whereabouts.
The man seen in surveillance video is now wanted by Jacksonville police. Investigators said two weekends ago the man walked into the Ramona Flea Market and stole Rocky from his owner.
“For someone to sneak up and take him away from me, it just tore my life up," Buzzard said. "I just hope this person is found."
Buzzard was working at the flea market and had Rocky tethered to a table in her work area. While her back was turned, the man took the pet.
Barbara Brown and her partner were working security near the front entrance. They were alerted to what happened right after the man walked outside the gate with Rocky in his hands.
“John got the call first," Brown said. "He takes off out the parking lot. As he’s going out, he recognizes the car and the guy in the car. He tries to get the license plate -- no license plate.”
Buzzard said her biggest fear is that Rocky will either be used as a bait animal for dog fighting or sold on Craigslist to someone who won’t take care of him.
Rocky, a purebred puppy, would normally cost upwards of about $800 from a breeder.
On Craigslist, he could be sold for about $500. On the streets, he could be sold for somewhere around $200.
She said she recently got Rocky as a companion to replace the void in her life after the death of her husband.
“I asked God to put him there in my husband’s place, and God did, and I really loved this animal,” she said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500.