PORT ORANGE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A dog, taken from an Ohio family that was vacationing in Florida, has been found and is safe.
Investigators say Hannah, a brown and white Sheltie, was taken on Mother's Day while tied up outside a Port Orange restaurant. The dog was located by deputies with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office who were assisting the U.S. Marshal Task Force in tracking down a fugitive out of New York.
Federal agents had recently requested assistance in locating 29-year-old Jesse Hoyte, who was believed to be residing in Deltona and wanted for violating his parole. To help the Marshals Service, deputies conducted surveillance on targeted addresses. On Wednesday, when Hoyte was identified as a passenger in a vehicle seen leaving one of the homes, deputies conducted a traffic stop to apprehend him. During the traffic stop, deputies found a dog inside the car that was later identified as Hannah.
Hannah had last been seen on Sunday, secured outside of Culver's restaurant on Dunlawton Avenue by owner Steve Hunt, while he, his wife and their four children went inside to dine. When the Hunts left the restaurant, they discovered that Hannah's leash had been cut and the dog was missing. "It's an absolute shock! You never think that something like this would happen!" Hunt told FOX 35.
Hunt was contacted and verified through photographs that the dog that was with Hoyte was Hannah. The Port Orange Police Department was notified, and they responded to the scene. It is not immediately known when Hannah will be reunited with her owners. Authorities have not said if Hoyte is the man accused of taking Hannah. No charges related to the dog's theft have been announced.
Hoyte is being held at the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach without bond, charged with being a fugitive from justice.