VACAVILLE (CBS SF) — Animal rights group PETA is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects who threw a Vacaville woman’s dog out of a moving car on I-80 with his legs bound.

Rex, 18-month-old pup thrown from car in Vacaville

Rex, an 18-month-old pup thrown from car on I-80 in Vacaville (CBS)

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The incident happened the evening of Thursday, February 1, on Interstate 80 in Vacaville at around 9 p.m. Motorists were shocked to see someone in a dark blue 2011 or 2012  Toyota Prius traveling eastbound throw a small white dog with his back legs bound together out onto the freeway near the Davis Street exit.

The dog was hit by another vehicle before anyone could stop and help the animal. Vacaville residents Erik Gow and Monica Andersen witnessed the incident and were able to reach the dog’s owner, Vacaville resident Debra Ferrara.

They learned that the dog was a beloved 18-month-old puppy named Rex who had been reported missing earlier in the day.

Rex escaped from her backyard while Ferrara was away attending a funeral. As she frantically searched for the puppy, Ferrera got word that Rex had been picked up by a blue Prius as he ran through her neighborhood.

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Vacaville police are investigating the animal cruelty case, but have yet to make any arrests in connection with the incident.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were prompted by the horrible crime to offer a reward of up to $5,000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction on cruelty charges of the person or persons responsible.

“I absolutely loved him dearly and I miss him so much,” Ferrera said this past weekend. “It’s just left a real hole in my life…He was my little companion all the time. He rode on the console on the car. We have taken a few trips to Idaho and he rides along.”

Susan Barbarick, who runs the Pause 4 Paws Animal Rescue Mission, started the Justice for Rex Fund to collect donations to go towards reward for any information about the Prius or its driver.

“It can’t bring Rex back to Deb, but we hope at least to find those responsible and bring them to justice,” she said.

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Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Josue Cuevas at (707) 449-5200 and reference Vacaville PD case number 18-01071.