Meet Balto. Balto was once a beautiful, healthy Siberian Husky. In August 2012, he was adopted from Miami-Dade Animal Services. That should have been the happy ending. It was not.
Balto was dumped back at Miami-Dade shelter less than two months later in the condition you see above, by the “adopter”. Animal lovers in Miami saw him and the condition he was in and valiantly fought to rescue him. After but a few hours at the shelter, he was pulled out by a rescue worker and brought to a veterinarian. Despite the best efforts of all involved, Balto went septic and passed away at the vet.
I live in Texas and was not personally involved in the rescue, just watched as it unfolded on Facebook. I’m still in communication with the people who were involved, so I don’t have all the details yet, so bear with me.
Balto had a mild case of demodex (mange) at the time he was adopted out in August. The new owners were allegedly made aware of this. The owner did subsequently bring Balto to her own vet, and was given a prescription on September 9th. But she did not fill the prescription. Balto’s condition was allowed to worsen to the point you see here over the next three weeks. I have read there were neck injuries consistent with being left tied up outside. This was an Arctic breed dog, with a serious skin condition, left outside in Miami late summer heat and humidity.
Failure to seek medical treatment IS animal cruelty under the law. http://www.miamidade.gov/animals/cruelty_law.asp
In early October, the owner just dumped Balto back at the shelter where she got him.
Now, I will admit, the owner may have made more of an effort than it appears to care for Balto. I believe she should have to defend herself in court. I believe there is enough evidence here for charges to be filed. But no charges were filed, the case was closed, and this person was allowed to walk away without any legal consequences.
If you agree that Balto deserves his day in court, if you believe Miami-Dade needs to better screen adopters, if you believe no one who takes on responsibility for a pet should be allowed to neglect its medical issues without consequence, please communicate your disgust, anger, and heartsickness to the proper authorities. ESPECIALLY if you live in Florida. You may also want to get the attention of news outlets in the area. Obviously, this will have more impact coming from locals, but it can’t hurt for them to know of growing national outrage either.
Miami-Dade Animal Services
I will update as I get more specifics.