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SHE'S A SURVIVOR: 16-year-old Shih Tzu thrown away in dumpster doing much better

16-year-old Xyla rescued after being thrown away in dumpster
Posted at 4:11 PM, Dec 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-20 19:05:04-05

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — You may remember Xyla, a 16 year Shih Tzu who the Lee County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) said was thrown away like garbage.

Her life was saved thanks to two Lehigh Acres Family Dollar employees.

16-year-old Shih Tzu thrown away in dumpster

Wednesday, Fox 4's Briana Brownlee met up with Sheriff Carmine Marceno and one of the employees who helped save Xyla's life—and received an amazing update.

"Santa baby how funny is that," laughed Sheriff Carmine Marceno, seeing Xyla in her Christmas outfit.

LCSO and Louis Lado with Xyla

Only about 10 pounds, full of energy, dressed in her holiday best and making her way around LCSO's headquarter, this Shih Tzu isn’t your average pooch—she's a survivor.

“You can see it’s a happy day because Santa Baby is running around having a good time at headquarters," Marceno said.

Nearly a week after being found in a Family Dollar dumpster, 16-year-old Xyla pranced around grabbing all of the attention, showing she still has a lot of life in her.

“She looks very beautiful, she’s a beautiful old lady," said Louis Lado, one of the Family Dollar employees who found her.

If Xyla could talk, she would probably say not "old", just getting better.

When we first learned about Xyla, Sheriff Marceno said Anthony Bellman threw her away like yesterday's trash.

Anthony Bellman perp walk

She was in the dumpster for nearly two hours—stuffed in a bag with a rope around her neck..until the store manager Louis Lado and his associate Sophie Stephens found her.

“I took the bag out, I cut the top and the bag fell and she was just sitting there hot and sweaty, she didn’t smell good," Lado said. "The trash can was empty so when he tossed her she just hit the metal. From the height he threw her, it’s amazing she’s still alive.”

He said it's a miracle Xyla was still alive.

“They emptied out the trash that morning too, so if she was there in the morning she would have been compacted in the truck," Lado said.

Sheriff Marceno said cases like these is exactly why the Animal Cruelty Task Force was created, to protect those who can't save themselves.

He gave Lado and Stephens major credit and called them both heroes for sounding the alarm to save adorable Xyla.

Family Dollar Employees receive plaque from LCSO

“I’m hoping human beings are like this in general. And just go out of their way to save a poor little baby that needs rescuing," Lado said.

Xyla will be up for rescue in the future but LCSO said she has to go through a process first.

Fox 4 will update you when learn she’s up for rescue.