[Article] Abandoned Dogs in the Everglades

The saying “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas” was probably one of the most effective advertising campaigns created by a charity in the UK, established to help reduce the number of abandoned or unwanted dogs. The abandoning of dogs, cats and other household pets isn’t new news to us, but here in Florida, this inexcusable act has gotten out of control.

This year, one of Miami-Dade County’s dirtiest secrets was exposed. There are countless thousands of dogs being abandoned in the Everglades, numbers are in the thousands, left to fend for themselves and fight off predators including alligators, pythons and other wild animals. These poor dogs are starving, thirsty, injured, and often pregnant. Their fur is matted and tick infested and they have even been spotted dodging cars. As you can imagine, the list goes on.

These abused, frail and frightened animals are being ditched on the side of roads in the middle of the Everglades by their ghastly owners. The dogs are left without food and water in unbearable extreme heat and sub-tropical weather conditions. Dogs are roaming the wetlands in search of food and means of comfort, yet they are struggling to do so due to that fact that they are domesticated animals with very little sense of any survival tactics.

Due to the outcry and numerous calls from passing spectators that reported sightings of abandoned animals, a team of amazing volunteers was formed 100+ Abandoned Dogs of Everglades Florida.

The non-profit organization is made up of volunteers who go into the Everglades once a month to retrieve, revive and rescue any dogs that they can find and catch. For the most part, the dogs that have been rescued so far are not wild or aggressive but ex-companions of irresponsible owners. Amy Roman says, “Of the nearly 700 dogs we’ve saved, literally just 2 or 3 were aggressive. These dogs often come right to us and belly up! They are desperate for human contact and for survival.” It is unbearable to think about but there is video evidence of starving and pregnant dogs as well as skulls and skeletons of dogs that didn’t make it.

Watch this local news clip here and see for yourself the ongoing tragedy that is taking place in Florida’s very own backyard.

The 100+ volunteers might only be making a small dent in this massive problem, but without them hundreds of dogs would still be homeless or worse, dead. It is imperative that we team together and pitch in to help local charities and organizations like this one. No matter how little our efforts may seem, it all helps.

One Abandoned Dog’s Success Story 

My family and I are proud owners of four little rescue dogs: two Dachshunds, one Jack Russell and a ChiCorgi named Tango. We began by fostering Tango (seen in the photo), a small mixed-breed dog that was found wondering the streets of West Palm Beach. Although he was not one of the abandoned dogs from the Everglades, his story still pulls strings at our hearts.

After 12 years of his life, Tango’s previous owners abandoned him on the streets. They left him fending off cars in extreme humidity, desperately seeking food and water to survive. The length of time that he was a stray is uncertain but he was later picked up by a local pound and was given only five days to live. Luckily, The Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Wellington, Florida pulled him from the pound and saved his life. He was brought to the ranch where we found him in a small cage looking frightened, alone and injured. Tango had only been at the ranch for a few days when he was ripped into by a large dog and as a result received several stitches. It was at this point we fell for Tango and saw no other choice but to at least foster him until we could find him a home.

Tango still has a deformed jaw, missing teeth, a floating rib and a disjointed leg but he couldn’t be happier to have a home with endless love, food and comfort. After only a few days of fostering Tango, we fell in love and decided to adopt him – we became foster failures! We’ve had Tango for over a year now and he is a changed dog – healthy, happy and alive!

How can you contribute to this ongoing problem?

  • Adopt, don’t shop! By going to a pet store you are not only supporting puppy mills but the continuation of dog breeding, when there are so many dogs out there that need rescuing. You can adopt anything from a puppy to a senior, from mutts to full breeds.
  • Foster a Dog. If you can’t adopt, foster instead. You can network the dog until it gets a loving home or, who knows, perhaps you will end up becoming a foster failure too!
  • Volunteer. Sign up to volunteer at your nearest animal shelter and help dogs just like the ones found in the Everglades find loving homes forever.

What’s your story? Have you rescued a dog recently or do you know of a similar problem that is happening in your area right now?



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