Family with special needs kids welcomes return of dog

10Investigates was in Polk County to document the story.

LAKELAND, Fla. — Only two hours after a 10News report on a family with special needs children who lost their dog, a neighbor returned the pet.
 
Alexa Rodriguez said the family dog, Luna, was returned about 1 a.m. Saturday by a neighbor, Jodi Thompson.
 
Here's is Beau Zimmer's report from Friday night:
 
Imagine losing your family pet, only to find out hours later someone found the dog and was keeping her safe. That’s what a Polk County family with two special needs kids says happened to them. The only problem now: they say the family who found the dog is refusing to give her back.
 
Alexa Rodriguez says her family first got Luna when she was just a puppy.  On March 3, she got outside and didn’t come back, leaving Alexa and her family devastated, frantically posting messages on a Polk County Facebook page for lost pets.
 
“We were so worried and so sad because I don’t know what’s happening with Luna now,” said Rodriguez.
 
So it was a huge relief when a neighbor from down the block named Jodi Thompson posted online that she’d found Luna and was looking for her owners.
 
“I know it’s my dog. It had on the same collar and everything,” said Rodriguez.
 
Alexa and the woman who found Luna made contact, and at first everything seemed fine until, Alexa says, Thompson stopped answering her calls.
 
“The other day she said she gave Luna to her son and her son gave Luna to I don’t know who,” said Rodriguez.
 
Alexa eventually filed a report with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, who also went to Thompson’s home, but so far no one’s been able to find out what happened to Luna.
 
So 10Investigates went in search of answers, stopping by the Thompson home just a block away from where Alexa and her family live.
 
The woman who came to the door identified herself as Jodi Thompson’s sister and quickly other family members jumped in.
 
“We didn’t have anything to do with the dog,” said a man in a wheelchair who says he owns the home.  When we explained about the family down the street searching for their dog the man shouted, “I don’t care!  We have nothing to do with it.”
 
Moments later Thompson’s sister came outside to share information, but another family member cut her off.
 
“Get out of here,” the woman shouted, grabbing our microphone. When asked why she was not being more helpful in trying to reunite Luna with her owners the woman replied, “Because people should be more responsible.”
 
Jodi’s sister went on to explain the family had, in fact. found the dog and quickly worked to find Luna a good home.
 
“Somebody was kinda fostering it and kinda wanted to keep it because we couldn’t keep it here,” the woman said. “They’re supposed to get it back for sure.”
 
But the Rodriguez family says the Thompsons now refuse to provide any information on who they gave the dog to. They couldn’t provide an exact location to 10News, either.
 
“We cannot get in touch with the guy right now, evidently. They are getting their dog back as far as we know,” the woman said.
 
“Do you know where the dog is right now?" we asked.
 
“I don’t know right now.   My nephew knows where it is.”
 
Meanwhile, the Rodriguez family remains heartbroken, not knowing who exactly has their dog and if she’s being cared for properly.
 
“I have pain in my heart because I want my dog back,” said Rodriguez, in tears.
 
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case. The Rodriguez family says deputies told them whoever has the dog could face criminal charges if they don’t cooperate with the investigation.
 
10News will have more updates on this story and will continue working to locate Luna.
 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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