• UPDATE: Furry fugitive named Ozzy caught on Florida's Turnpike in Osceola County

    By: Lauren Seabrook , James Tutten

    Updated:

    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - 9:50 p.m. Update:

    Officials with Florida's Turnpike said Friday evening that they found Ozzy. They said she is very calm and quiet.

     

    Original report:

    It's a major distraction for drivers on Florida’s Turnpike in Osceola County.

    They don't know if he has a home, but a dog, whom some are now calling Ozzy, certainly has a lot of people watching out for him.

    Dispatchers at the turnpike’s Traffic Management Center have spent months doing everything they can to catch the dog before he or a driver gets hurt.


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    There's a whole team of people watching hundreds of cameras along the turnpike and keeping an eye out for anything that may be dangerous for drivers.

    But consistently since May, in one particular part of the road, they keep seeing the same dog over and over.

    Road Ranger Jonathon Hester patrols a stretch of the turnpike near the Yeehaw Junction.

    “Our No. 1 job is safety," Hester said.

    He's usually routing drivers around wrecks or helping with a flat tire. But lately, he's been determined to find the furry fugitive.

    "This one has just evaded us for a long time and we keep trying to find him,” Hester said.

    For about two months, dispatchers have been seeing the yellow lab between mile markers 196 and 205 on the turnpike, headed southbound.

    "And just kind of runs up and down the roadway. It's a big distraction for the motorists driving by,” Hester said. “People see it and slam on their brakes."

    Officials said they have no idea where he came from.

    "It's possible it could've come from a vehicle crash,” Hester said. “A motorist could've been traveling with this dog, and crashed and the dog got scared and ran away."

    Because he's been living on the road in Osceola County, they have affectionally named him Ozzy.

    Osceola County Animal Control let Hester borrow a trap to try and catch Ozzy.

    If you're on the road and see him, officials said they would like for you to call it in by contacting the Florida Highway Patrol at *347. 

    Troopers ask drivers to please avoid stopping and trying to find him yourself because they say you'll become an even bigger hazard.

    "Somebody slamming on their brakes instantly, that can cause a knee-jerk reaction for someone traveling behind you," Hester said.

    If they catch the dog, they plan to have him scanned for a chip to see if he has a home. If not, Ozzy may be up for adoption.

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