Dogs getting abandoned, dumped and left for dead in the Everglades

THE EVERGLADES, Fla. - They're loving pets that were dumped on the side of the road in the middle of the Everglades.

The animals were abandoned by their owners and are now struggling to survive.

"This is dire, this is an emergency," said Amy Roman, founder of the volunteer group 100+ Abandoned Dogs of Everglades Florida.  "There's no worse hell than where we're standing right now," Roman said.

The Contact 5 Investigators followed two groups of volunteers for two days. The groups are called Chain of Love Abandoned Dogs Everglades and 100+ Abandoned Dogs of Everglades Florida. They're small groups of every day people who are doing what they can to help rescue some of the animals.

Together, they found dog, after dog, after dog left for dead.

Some dogs were dodging traffic on busy roadways, some were standing in the middle of fields in the rain while others were starving and looking for food.

"There are bones sticking out of these animals bodies and I don't know who to call, there's no address here, " said Roman.

Instead of dropping them off at the shelter, they're getting dropped off in the middle of the Everglades.

It's against the law to abandon an animal.  But in the Everglades there's no way to track it, no one watching and no sign it'll stop anytime soon.

"With the traffic, you find two or three dead dogs every day," said one concerned homeowner.
Dogs were running in the middle of traffic alongside NewsChannel 5's own news van, others ran towards the volunteers in packs, waiting to be rescued.
"They're like domesticated pets that somebody dumped and didn't want anymore," said Roman.

Almost every animal that is rescued hasn't been spayed or neutered.  So the problem continues to multiply.
"They're all out there getting pregnant right now," said Roman.
Some of the animals are lucky enough to be found, rescued and treated, like Tigger in West Palm Beach.
 "He had a completely shattered leg and one dislocated hip," said Amber Marzo who adopted the dog two months ago.  Volunteer Mirta Maltes, of Chain of Love Abandoned Dogs Everglades, found him and rescued him.
You wouldn't know it by looking at him run, but Tigger was hit by a car and found along the side of the road and needed major surgery.
"I don't have kids, I treat him like a child so I don't understand how people could treat animals like that," said Marzo.
However, there's only a handful of volunteers who patrol the streets looking for animals when they can.

"Why are people dumping them, instead of taking them to a shelter where they could get help?" asked Contact 5 Investigator Dan Krauth.  "I don't know, it would be better to take them to a police or fire station, like you would a baby," said Maltes of Chain of Love Abandoned Dogs Everglades.
The volunteers don't have enough space or money to house all of the animals they find.  Many of the animals they discover need medical treatment.

"You can stop and feed them but I can't take them all," said Maltes.

"How can a rational mind with a heart in their body make sense of dumping a helpless animal in the middle of here, nowhere, in the Everglades to just starve and suffer,  how can you make sense of something like this?" asked Roman.
When there's a spike in foreclosures, volunteers said they see a spike in the amount of dogs running the streets.
Together both groups have rescued more than 1500 animals over the past three years.
Here's more information on both of the rescue groups and how you can help:
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