MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - Veterinarians are calling it the worst case of animal neglect they have ever seen after a family found a malnourished and dehydrated dog in the middle of the road in Martin County.
Barbie DiMatteo and her daughter usually take I-95 to school in the morning, but by chance, they took a different route Thursday and found the dog dodging traffic near Indiantown.
“She could barely walk, she probably wouldn’t have made it another night on the streets,” said DiMatteo, who called Nala’s New Life Rescue asking for advice.
The dog is about 4-years-old and she recently had puppies. DiMatteo took her to All Creatures Animal Hospital in Stuart.
“Her body temperature was one of my main concerns, it was only 97.8 and dogs should be between 100 and 102.5,” said Dr. Mary Bressman, who added the dog was likely hours away from death.
The dog weighed only 26 pounds. Her ribs are exposed, she’s weak battling diseases, but despite all of that her tail was still wagging Friday.
“To think how long she was out there without food or water trying to let her puppies survive, wherever they may be, it’s very heartbreaking,” said Barbi Moline, founder of Nala’s. “We have three other dogs in the rescue found in the same area.”
Sadly, Moline says western Martin County near Martin Highway has recently become a dumping ground for dogs.
In this case, the dog rescued had been named Faith. She’s gaining weight and is on antibiotics to fight infections. A dog with no hope is now getting a second chance.
“I think she was brought to us for a reason and maybe she’s our angel,” DiMatteo said.
Faith has a long road ahead, but DiMatteo plans to foster Faith and one day adopt her. She had no collar or microchip, so it’s unclear if she had an owner.
The Help Us Help Them Fund and the Pegasus Foundation, both located in Hobe Sound, are offering a $5,000 reward in the hopes of gaining more information.