MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — For a second consecutive day, a big case on the Treasure Coast involves alleged cases of dog neglect.
On Tuesday, 48 dogs were removed from a home in St. Lucie County.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Martin County detectives arrested Deborah Perez, 62, of Stuart after she turned herself in. She faces nine misdemeanor counts of animal abandonment in a case of suspected dog dumping.
With names like Pumpkin and Raven, a handful of Lhasa Apsos at the Humane Society of The Treasure Coast may unknowingly be in the Halloween spirit, but what they went through recently was simply frightening.
Nine dogs in total were discovered last month by a mom dropping her kids off at school near Cove Road and Ault Avenue in Stuart. The dogs, who range from 4 months to 4 years old, were dumped in a parking lot near a wooded area in sweltering heat with no food or water, Stuart police said.
“They were in terrible condition. They were completely covered in mats. They had urinary tract infections. They were filthy, filthy,” Sara Fisher with the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast said.
Fisher said she’s seen huge changes in the dogs these past few weeks.
“They came very scared, timid and our staff has been working every day with them. Taking them out, they’re very friendly, they say hello to us. They’re doing wonderful,” Fisher said.
"We couldn’t have done this without the community's help. We had help from people who found the dogs, rescued the dogs who turned them in to us. We had neighbors who came forward and gave us information,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said.
Snyder said Perez told his detectives she was going through a tough personal phase. Perezlives in a mobile home about 5 miles from where the dogs were dumped.
"To take dogs and just drop them off in a field hoping for the best then to have them fend for themselves day in and out. These dogs aren’t natural hunters, they can’t fend for themselves,” Snyder said.
Fisher said there has been a sharp slowdown when it comes to adoptions here because of the costs of owning an animal.
While many agencies offer free spay and neutering programs, Fisher is frustrated to hear of these cases, since they will accept any animals in Martin County.
“So there’s no reason for someone to dump the dogs, we are a resource here,” Fisher said.
If you’re interested in adopting any of these dogs, the Humane Society says they will put them up live on their website when they’re ready for adoption.