Puppy allegedly stolen by Lyft driver in Florida


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s an undeniable bond – man and dog. But that bond is now broken for one man and his pet.

One Tampa Bay man says his best friend was stolen overnight by a Lyft driver.

He first thought his dog was lost, but called St. Pete police when he saw video footage that broke his heart.

Ring camera footage shows a driver in St. Pete stepping out to pet a dog, and then open his back door to let him in.

“It’s stupid,” says Jason Gell as he wipes tears from his eyes.

The owner does not think this is someone rescuing a lost animal.

“If he was going to do something, I mean, I would have expected some contact to have been made to somebody, and that’s not just the case,” says Gell.

Mahi the 9-month-old Rottweiler escaped his fenced backyard through an unlatched gate Saturday morning. Mahi had no collar on at the time. It was taken off and put on his harness one day earlier. Gell thinks this may have been a crime of opportunity when the driver saw the purebred Rottweiler.

“That is my nightmare; that he’s getting sold and I’ll never… that I just won’t see him anymore,” says Gell.

Gell says he spoke with a woman who says she had been dropped off by a Lyft driver just minutes before Mahi was picked up. He reached out to Lyft hoping they can provide answers, but claims that so far, they’re refusing to help.

“That’s the most frustrating part right now. All these guys are GPS’ed. There’s no doubt about it that Lyft can tell me exactly who was in here at that time, and they refuse to do it,” says Gell.

Now he’s taken to social media, friends, strangers, shelters, veterinarians, and police to find his best friend.

“I mean, as much retribution I would like, just give me my dog back. Put him in the backyard. Give me back my dog. That’s all I want,” says Gell.

WFLA reached out to the ride-sharing company. A spokesperson for Lyft says:

“The incident described by the dog’s owners is unacceptable. We’ve reached out to the owner and stand ready to assist law enforcement.”

If anyone knows anything you can contact St. Pete Police or the Bring Mahi Home Facebook page.

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