Labrador retriever found after ride in stolen SUV
Hanna, the 3-year-old Labrador retriever who was in an SUV when it was stolen Wednesday, was recovered this morning in St. Petersburg. The 2003 Yukon, owned by St. Petersburg firefighter George Ottley, was recovered Wednesday night, but Hanna remained missing, along with Ottley's tools. This morning, the dog was spotted by a bicyclist on the street near where the vehicle was found. The dog was not injured. On Wednesday afternoon, Ottley parked the Yukon outside a residence at 6565 Fifth Ave. S., where he was doing some renovation work, he said.He left the vehicle parked with the engine running and the air conditioning on to keep Hanna cool. He was gone just a short time, and when he came back, his vehicle, tools and dog were gone. "I must have just missed seeing them drive away," he said this morning. "It was that quick." Like most Labradors, Hanna is friendly. She wags her tails at people walking by the vehicle, but if someone reaches in, she barks loudly, Ottley said. "She sounds like a Rottweiler," he said. Ottley figured that Hanna must have been asleep in the back seat when the thief or thieves got into the vehicle. Once the SUV was in motion, Ottley surmised, the dog concentrated on the open window and was oblivious to who was driving. "She might have been annoying to them," Ottley said. "I don't think she was vicious to them." The SUV was found Wednesday night in the 4500 block of 10th Avenue South, about three miles from where it was taken. Hanna was spotted this morning, trotting along 10th Avenue South. Ottley said he plans on paying the $2,000 reward he offered in news reports Wednesday night. Ottley said Hanna has a scrape on her stomach but otherwise is unhurt. "She's the best girl," Ottley said. "She is real sweet."
Reporter Keith Morelli can be reached at (813) 259-7760.