Police serving arrest warrant find dozens of dogs living in filt - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Police serving arrest warrant find dozens of dogs living in filth

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Dogs found living in filth Dogs found living in filth
Gisela Tacao Gisela Tacao

MIAMI (WSVN) -- Investigators serving an arrest warrant on a woman facing animal cruelty charges made a disturbing discovery involving dozens of dogs.

According to the State Attorney's Office, police serving a warrant on Gisela Tacao, at a home located at 576 N.W. 81st St. in Miami, Thursday morning, found at least 60 dogs living in deplorable conditions.

Officials said Tacao has been under investigation since September 2012 by both the Hialeah Police Department and the State Attorney's Office for alleged animal cruelty charges. Tacao ran a pet rescue operation called Gigi's Rescue, which has since been shut down.

Investigators said Gigi's Rescue, located in Hialeah, at one point had anywhere between 100 to 200 animals that lived in deplorable conditions. Law enforcers said they started receiving complaints dealing with the visible presence feces and urine throughout the building.

"People said, 'Can you save this one? We're going to kill it or whatever,'" Tacao told 7News in September 2012. "I mean, we just did too much."

Officials also said 53 of the animals were given a physical examination which resulted in the 53 counts of animal cruelty that Tacao is currently facing.

Investigators said some of the dogs found in the home Thursday morning are also not in good condition. "She's totally emaciated; we don't know if she's going to be able to survive," said a rescuer as she held a Chihuahua whose ribcage was clearly visible. "This may be one of those that they may end up having to put to sleep."

Investigators also said one Chihuahua was missing an eye. In other cases, police said there were injuries on the top of some of the dogs' heads. "You can see where [she was bit]," said a rescuer as she held an injured dog.

Scott Stewart, a friend of Tacao, defended the suspect, saying she was doing all she could to find new homes for the dogs. "She was running a rescue," he said. "Not any longer. She's been re-homing these dogs, and it's difficult to find homes for crippled dogs."

Tacao has not been charged in this latest case involving these recently discovered animals. Authorities said, however, she could be facing additional charges of animal abuse based on the condition of the dogs found on Thursday.

"Nobody wants to see animals treated this way," said Annette Gongora, who was rescuing some of the dogs from the home. "It's not the way dogs are supposed to be treated."

The canines were taken to area shelters. "Hopefully, they will be put up for adoption to great homes," said Gongora.

Tacao is being held on a $265,000 bond.

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