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Dog neglect, overpopulation a problem in Hendry County

Posted at 10:21 PM, Jun 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-30 22:21:36-04

Fifteen neglected dogs, some as young as two weeks old, were rescued by Clewiston Animal Control, and they said this situation has become all too common.

The dogs were starved, dehydrated, and left for dead in cages on a property in Hendry County.

Clewiston Animal Shelter is an open admission shelter, meaning at any time, any animal can be euthanized. Officer said they do whatever it takes to prevent any adoptable animals from being put down, but with so many people abandoning their dogs or overbreeding them to the point of overpopulation, it makes it tough.

Among the 15 dogs rescued were four two-week-old puppies.

"The puppies were in the crate and they were just screaming," Animal Control Officer Tammy Henry said. "One died in my hands when we were picking it up there. One had already died under the porch."

The puppies were fighting to survive, and officers rushed to give them medicine and fluids with the hope of nursing them back to health.

The Officers were afraid if the puppies fell asleep, they wouldn't wake up.

Other dogs had ribs poking through their skin.

"These are dogs that are pregnant, starving, covered in mange, covered in fleas, probably heartworm positive," Henry said.

With only 14 kennels and two employees at the shelter, Henry said there aren't enough resources, and said it's not uncommon for them to have more animals than kennels because so many people are dumping and neglecting their animals.

Henry said a big part of the problem is overbreeding and overpopulation.

"It contributes to the crime that goes on here, because they're just everywhere. In certain places, they just run loose everywhere. They're almost like mice," Henry said.

Ninety two dogs and cats passed through the shelter during the month of June alone.

Henry said the solution is to have a vet who provides true low-cost spay and neuter services.

She said they also need better laws requiring breeding licenses with routine property checks and minimums on how many dogs you're allowed to have on your property.

"It's just a vicious cycle. They're my family, and it makes me sad that people do that," Henry said.

Four in Your Corner's Lisa Greenberg reached out to all of the Hendry County Commissioners to see if they would consider any laws or regulations to fix the overpopulation and abandonment problems. She has not heard back yet.