Dogs being dumped in Everglades

It was a labor of love that took ten hours to coax a sick and suffering dog to safety. Her rescuers nicknamed her Candy. She is one of the lucky ones.

“We’ve rescued 50 since July,” said Amy Restucci.

Restucci is one of a handful of volunteers finding and rescuing household pets dumped like yesterday’s trash into the Florida Everglades.

“I have no words to describe what I see when I go there…new faces everytime, emaciated to the point, if we didn’t show up that minute the dog would die,” said Restucci.

Abandoned dogs, Bobby, Brenda and Bella were found together roaming the Everglades. The team at the Acacia Animal Hospital in Lighthouse Point brought them back to life.

“They weren’t born in the wild. They’re not used to foraging for themselves, they don’t know how to hunt so they wither into starvation,” said Lauren Liutermoza, Acacia Animal Hospital.

“A lot of these kids coming in are scared to death because they’ve had to fight for themselves. It takes a special hand to get them to trust you again so you can do everything you have to do to fix them up,” said veterinarian Mark Stevens, Acacia Animal Hospital.

They are starving, full of ticks and parasites. Some refuse to be trapped and so the rescuers leave large bowls of food and water.

“We need vets to step in. We need the community to step up.  We need homes for these dogs. We desperately need help from the community,” said Restucci.

50 dogs rescued and counting. The easy part is finding the dogs. The tougher part during these economic times is finding a loving permanent home for them.

But experts say if you can’t afford to keep your pet, they are better off at a local animal shelter. Many of the dogs they’ve found in the Everglades just do not have the instincts to survive in the wild.

10 News