Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Carmel on the Case: Cruel and Criminal
You most likely have seen stray cats and dogs roaming the streets of South Florida. Chances are they were once pets. In fact, some parts of town have become dumping grounds for unwanted animals. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
WSVN -- Robbie Coy: You're not going to come are you? No, you're not."
This is Robbie Coy's calling, saving throwaway dogs. He's been feeding this one for weeks. She was near starvation when Coy saw her in South Miami-Dade and followed her back to her puppies.
She has hidden them under a fallen tree.
Robbie Coy: "I know you got little babies."
He's got a plan to save them all.
Robbie Coy: "As soon as they start coming out of the hole, that's when I'll take them."
Coy has since rescued the puppies. There are eight of them. He is still trying to catch their mother.
Everyday he finds dogs once someone's pet struggling to stay alive in the Redlands and the area in and around Everglades National Park.
Carmel Cafiero: "People have dumped pets in this area for years but never in the kinds of numbers rescuers say they are seeing today."
Dee Chess: "It's much worse than it's ever been. My phone rings all day long with people who have found dogs that are just abandoned."
Rescuer Dee Chess says she gets 10 to 20 calls a day about dogs found on the streets. She says people move out and just leave their pets or worse.
Dee Chess: "And we've gotten many phone calls where people are driving down the road and a car in front of them will go slow and open the window and throw a dog out of the window. I hear these things on a daily basis."
Animal advocates want owners to know if you can't keep a pet for whatever reason bring it to a shelter or animal control facility. Dropping it off to fend for itself is not only cruel, it's against the law.
Sharron Carmichael: "It actually falls under the animal cruelty statute and there is a position for abandonment itself. It literally calls for allowing an animal to receive no medical care, no food, no health care. Anything along those lines."
Sharron Carmichael is the cruelty investigator for the Humane Society of Broward County. She says what the suffering, dumped pets endure is heartbreaking. This dog was found dodging cars on Interstate 95.
Sharron Carmichael: "And a lot of people think they are doing good by this. They are giving it a chance, so to speak, in their mind. An opportunity that they think is better than going to an animal shelter."
But, the reality is, most end up hurt and hungry and afraid. However, there are some happy endings.
Ginger has a good life today.
Nikolas Pineda: "I wouldn't trade her for any other dog in the world."
But when she was rescued from Everglades National Park, her paws were so raw she could not walk. She was exhausted and probably just hours away from being gator bait.
Sasha Pineda: "How can you leave it out there just to die. It's a living thing."
Carmel Cafiero: "And death, from cars or starvation or other animals, is the fate of most dumped pets. Experts say please bring them to a shelter and, instead of committing a criminal act, commit an act of kindness."
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR IF YOU HAVE A STORY FOR CARMEL TO INVESTIGATE: