Reward offered for safe return of dog that was stolen at South Florida beach

Sofia, 12, taken by man at Haulover Beach on July 31

A South Florida family is offering a reward to help them find their beloved dog.

HAULOVER BEACH, Fla. – A South Florida family is devastated after losing their family pet during a beach day barbecue.

Now, they’re doing everything possible as they fight to get their baby back.

The Belli family never dreamed the fun day in the sun at Haulover Beach would be the last time they would see one of their furry family members.

Rosario and Natalia Belli have launched an all-out South Florida and social media search since that devastating summer day more than a month ago.

“I have contacted pet detectives, pet psychics, everything and anything just to try to get her back,” Natalia Belli said.

“We’re offering a $5,000 reward for anything that can lead us to her safe return,” Rosario Belli added.

Sofia, 12, a 14-pound Maltese-Yorkie mix went missing at the popular dog beach on July 31.

“They love these mangroves, they are always chasing animals in there. They walked to the right and it all happened in a matter of seconds,” Rosario Belli said.

The group was packing up to leave at sunset when their two dogs disappeared, but only the boy dog named Van Gogh was found.

“These good Samaritans found them, so they start calling the phone number on the collar, but she didn’t have one on -- they weren’t sure if they were related so that’s when the other guy took advantage of the situation and said, ‘This is my dog. I have been looking for her,’ and (he) took off with her,” Rosario Belli said.

This was the worst chain of events that Rosario could ask for because Sofia was not wearing her collar, she did not have her leash on and in all of the commotion, all of the family lost sight of her.

“She’s unique in that she has a docked tail, she has freckles on her belly because she was already 12 years old, so if somebody has her, they might be able to identify her by that. She’s also missing a tooth,” Natalia Belli said. “We all just really want her back to give her love, to give her affection, to be with her in her later years.”

Anyone with information about Sofia’s whereabouts is asked to call 786-379-9866.

About the Author:

Jacey Birch anchors Local 10 News Mornings each weekday from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. She is also proud to be the animal advocate for Local 10's investigative team.