Miami/Dade News In The Happening!
Big Trouble For Our Florida Communities
Pets and Foreclosures
Five years ago I adopted a Labrador retriever pup. He was the dog I always wanted and I finally was ready to commit the time to take care of a dog. Over the years Charlie's been a real joy; playing at the beach, wrestling, and fetch, fetch, and a little more fetch (you would think it would get old!) Every night when I get home he wrestles himself out of bed to great me at the door. At a whopping 80 pounds he's a real wimp. I believe the Taco Bell dog could corner him with just a few yaps!
Charlie in the park waiting for me to toss the ball.
I couldn't imagine just walking away from him. Sadly that is what hundreds of people are doing across South Florida. The reason... foreclosures? As thousands of people are being evicted from their homes, they are being forced to make tough decisions. Often the place they are moving to doesn't allow animals or there are limits on weight. Many are just not able to bring their animals with them. However instead of trying to find a home for their animals they are just leaving them behind.
When I first met Robbie Coy I wasn't sure what to make of him. Here is a guy who has lost his t-shirt business and foreclosed on his own house, all to save dogs. He runs Sabbath Animal Rescue in Miami. Every penny he gets, earned or via donation, appears to go to these animals. After some time with him I began to understand why he does what he does. He has a special connection with these animals, almost dog whisperer like. We watched him enter a random backyard where a German Sheppard had been abandoned. He took a scared ferocious dog and turned it into a puppy. It's pretty remarkable to see him work.
Robbie's shelter a year ago held about 60 dogs. Today his pens are bustling with more than 130 animals. The animals are pouring in yet adoptions are down dramatically. The assumption is that tight budgets along with our declining economy are keeping people from taking on animals.
Raphael Rodriguez has a lot of best friends. He's taken in about a hundred of them.
There are a lot of people stepping up to the plate to take care of the animals. Raphael Rodriguez used to be an administrator at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He quit his job to tend to his own shelter in Hialeah. Today he's feeds, grooms, and takes care of more than 100 animals. Despite his best efforts, he expects to return to work soon because money is running low.
When I first started working on this story I couldn't understand why someone would abandon their animals. Then I realized many of these victims are people that never even did anything wrong... people like Erica Newman.
Erica Newman holding a picture of her dog. She posted him on Craigslist when her landlord was foreclosed on.
With just two days to get of her apartment what could she do? On a tight budget she couldn't find a one bedroom apartment that would allow her to keep her 60 pound dog. She was extremely lucky she found someone to take the dog in through Craigslist.As a pet owner the foreclosure Fido story was a sad story to do. The reality is this isn't just happening in South Florida. It's happening in every crashing real estate market across America. We are likely talking about thousands of animals abandoned... who don't stand a chance... and that's heartbreaking. To see the story we did on Foreclosures and Pets click HERE.