A Southwest Florida family is heartbroken tonight. They said someone stole their precious pup named Alaiia.
The owner said after leaving the dog alone for minutes, she found a hole ripped in their lanai. The dog was gone.
It is easy for Erica Romeu to talk about her.
“She’s very humble and very protective too,” said Romeu, who lives in Lehigh Acres. “She protects me. She protects the kids.”
All that remains of Alaiia, her 3-year-old American bulldog, is an empty crate and dog bowls.
“Oh, that’s family!” Romeu said. “She’s one of my daughters – I’m just being honest. She’s my baby.”
Alaiia moved with the family to Lehigh Acres after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017.
“After we got hit with the hurricane, we came over here to live,” Romeu said. “And she got transferred over here.”
Not only is she part of the family, but she also serves as a service dog to Romeu. Romeu said she is bipolar. She experiences high anxiety and depression.
Now that she is missing, in what Romeu suspects is a targeted attack, Romeu left Alaiia and her other dog outside in the lanai for about an hour while she cleaned.
“When I came back, I noticed a bag of treats next to the garbage can,” Romeu said. “When I went to pick it up, I saw the lanai cut open. I started screaming. There was treats and ham everywhere.”
Lee County deputies are helping her find Alaiia, who was not microchipped. But tonight, she has a plea for the person who might have her.
“We’d love to have her back!” Romeu said. “She’s one of the members of this family. You don’t need to call me.”
If you have any information Crime Stoppers ask you to call them at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).