Animal Care and Control says guard dogs are often mistreated

Complaint brings guard dog problems to light

LAKE WORTH, Fla. - At work and in pain. Video taken at the "Off Lease Only" car lot in Lake Worth shows a German Shepherd working as a guard dog when it shouldn't be.

The dog is suffering from a skin condition and should instead be at home recovering.

"It was a skin condition which some people may not take very seriously. In the South Florida heat, this can torment a dog," said Diane Suave, director of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control.

According to the law, Broward K-9 Services is responsible to care for the dog. Owner Jose Perez said once a complaint was made, he took the dog in for treatment.

"I had to take the dog to the vet but there were no open wounds. It has a skin irritation because people feed it scraps," said Perez.

Laws passed in recent years protect guard dogs, even making businesses that contract the dogs responsible for their care.

Suave said skin conditions don't appear overnight.

"For an animal to be removed because of it's condition means Mr. Perez should've taken care of this ahead of time," said Suave.

Perez has 31 guard dogs working in Palm Beach County. Animal Care and Control has cited him before. But when asked about that, he gave a different answer.

"No, never," said Perez.

The German Shepherd won't be back on guard until it fully recovers and all of its hair grows back.

Mark Fischer, the owner of "Off Lease" issued the following statement to NewsChannel 5:

"I am BEYOND upset about this situation. My wife and I love animals and this is not something we would EVER be OK with. We told Mr Perez OWNER OF THE ANIMALS that we noticed the dog had been losing some hair and requested that he be removed and replaced with a different dog. Mr Perez chose to put a red ointment on the dog to cure the skin problem (which looks like an open wound to anyone that would see the animal). Again- we requested the dog be removed and taken to get checked at their vet immediately. Mr Perez clearly did not follow my instruction and left the dog working. This was NOT the solution I was under the impression would happen after speaking to Mr Perez. I am disgusted that his negligence would reflect badly on us as again, I explicitly told him to remove the dog and take to care over a week ago. I just got back from vacation and when i found that this did not happen i was absolutely disgusted and I can understand why people would be upset the Mr Perez's operation. We are currently looking for another option as we would never condone working with a company that doesn't care for their animals at the level we expect." Mark Fischer - owner Off Lease Only

Animal Care and Control plans to cite Perez, who faces a $50 civil fine.


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