Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Carmel on the Case: Save A Pet
Pet rescue groups are reporting record numbers of dogs that have been abandoned or surrendered due to the economy, but one local organization has come up with an option to help desperate pet owners keep their furry friends. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
WSVN -- This little guy was brought to Friends Forever Rescue in South Miami-Dade by someone who found him wandering a busy street. He became another mouth to feed at a shelter, that like so many others is bursting at the seams.
It is so crowded here, the bathroom has become a kennel. Some are strays dumped by heartless owners, but others were surrendered by heartbroken owners.
Carmel Cafiero: "More people than ever are being forced to give up pets like Smokey here, because they're having trouble coming up with enough money to feed themselves, much less enough money to feed their pets."
He was surrendered with his mate Sascha, by owners who loved them, but could not afford to take care of them. There are always sweet dogs that need homes, but these days there seem to be more homeless dogs than ever, especially large breed dogs like Bella. A beautiful St. Bernard. She's got a big heart and a big appetite.
Sally Butler, Friends Forever Rescue: "It's just getting more and more difficult."
Sally Butler says Friends Forever Rescue has come up with an idea, why not help people keep their pets by helping them pay for food and if necessary medical care?
Sally Butler: "And what we would like to do is to keep the pets with the families where they belong, so we want to bring sponsors in to help us do that so we can get though this crisis period."
The rescue group is looking for donors to sponsor pet owners who are having trouble making ends meet. The rescue says it will take anything from food to money.
Sally Butler: "We are open to any ideas, any suggestions, any amount of donations. If they want to do a one time donation that's fine."
And Mari Bottom knows first hand what a difference that kind of help can mean. She adopted Dottie and Breezeway despite the fact the Dalmatian needs expensive medicine.
Mari Bottom, Adopted Rescue Dogs: "It would be like $150 to $180 a month just for the one pill."
She says because Friends Forever Rescue offered to help her with the medicine, she was able to give the two their first real home in years. By helping people to provide homes and by helping people to keep their pets, the rescue hopes this helping hand concept will work to make everyone happy.
George Swensson, Friends Forever Rescue: "When you see people sobbing and shaking, I mean it's clear, it's clear there's almost anything in the world they would rather do than give the animal up."
So, if you want to become a sponsor or if you are having trouble supporting your pet and need help, contact Friends Forever Rescue. It says this offer is a great gift to give or receive.
George Swensson: "Because they have feelings like we do and to take a dog and take him out of his home or put him on the street is no different than doing the same thing to a child."
And for these dogs and thousands like them home for the holidays has a very special meaning.
If you want to be involved or need a helping hand contact:
Pets and Families Sponsorship Program
IF YOU HAVE A STORY FOR CARMEL TO INVESTIGATE: