Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Carmel on the Case: Dog Gone
People aren't the only ones losing their homes during these difficult times so are their pets, but beware, offer your pet free to a good home and it could vanish. Police are investigating several missing dogs, which were all given to the same man. Carmel Cafiero is here with this special assignment report, Dog Gone.
WSVN -- Robbie Coy: "He's 9 years old, left in a garage. The next door neighbors broke into the garage to take him out."
That cruelty is just one symptom of the kind of stress people are under these days. Throughout South Florida, dogs like these are being dumped, abandoned or turned in to shelters by owners no longer able or willing to care for them.
Robbie Coy: "That's Jumbo and Yumbo. They came in together."
As a result, rescue groups like Sabbath in South Miami-Dade now have more homeless dogs then ever before, and in Boca the Tri-County Humane Society, a no kill facility, is passed capacity.
Jeannette Chrisos: "And it's sad when you have to turn people away when they're in your lobby, and they're crying, and we must get 50 calls a day, and 20 people come into our shelter."
Some desperate owners have offered their dogs free to a good home, but experts say that can be a death sentence.
Jeannette Chrisos: "The worst thing you can do is give an animal away free."
They say people lie to get the animals and then...
Robbie Coy: "They can sell it as a laboratory animal. They can use it for fighting with pitbulls. They can torture it. They can do anything they want. You have no idea who they are."
And that's what the folks who raised and loved Bubba fear may have happened to him.
Mark: "I think Bubba's possibly dead. I don't think he's around anymore."
Mark and his wife Kim have asked us not to use their last names.
Kim: "We were trying to do what was best for Bubba."
Mark's out of work. They have a new baby and had to move to a home with no fence. They offered Bubba free to a good home on Craig's List and thought the man who took him in would give Bubba a loving home.
Mark: "He said, 'Just about every Sunday I have a barbecue.' He said, 'Give me a call, come by, visit with him, play with him.'"
Carmel Cafiero: "So Mark left Bubba here at this Hollywood home, but that same night, Kim was cruising the Internet and discovered the man who adopted him had been getting other dogs from the Internet too. She had a very bad feeling."
She called the next morning.
Kim: "I said we want him back this morning, and if not we want him back today, and he said, 'You can forget about it. You're not getting your dog back. Your dog is gone.'"
In less than 24 hours Bubba had vanished.
Mark: "He said you gave that dog to me, there's nothing you can do, forget about it. He's gone."
This is the man they trusted to give Bubba a good home. His name is Kelvin Quiles. He's a used car salesman with a criminal record. He moved out of the Hollywood house, but we found him selling cars in North Miami. He wouldn't tell me what he did with the dog.
Carmel Cafiero: "Where's Bubba? What did you do with Bubba?"
Quiles shoved the microphone away.
Kelvin Quiles: "I told you, get the --- out of here, OK?"
And then locked the door, but questions from law enforcement will not be so easy to dismiss.
Hollywood Police Lt. Scott Pardon: "We've been investigating since January 30th."
The Hollywood Police Department says it has an open and active investigation on Quiles based on dogs he has acquired.
Hollywood Police Lt. Scott Pardon: "We have people who love their animals, and they're entrusting him with them, and they don't know what's happening to them."
And not knowing is just one of the things that haunts Kim and Mark.
Mark: "I'm really afraid they took him and fought him, and when they were done with him, they killed him."
If you're facing the prospect of having to give up a pet there are options.
Jeanette Chrisos: "If it's just a matter of not being able to afford food for their animals, we can provide that for them."
Check local shelters but make sure you understand if there's a chance your pet could be put to sleep, contact rescue groups. If they can't take your pet, they may be able to help you find a foster home or a new home without your pet ever having to go to a shelter, but don't wait until the last minute.
Robbie Coy: "It's harder to adopt from a place like this than from a home."
In the wrong hands, your dog can end up dog gone in a matter of minutes. It's no way for a loyal and trusting friend to end up.
The Hollywood Police Department asks that anyone with information about Kelvin Quiles, please contact Broward Crime Stoppers. The number is 954-493-TIPS.
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