A pensioner who claimed she could no longer afford to keep her nine Lhasa Apso lap dogs and dumped them when nobody wanted to take them on has been arrested.
The long-haired dogs, which were found with matted fur and suffering from dehydration and hunger, were found in woodlands next to a car park in Martin County, Florida, USA.
The incident came to light when an unnamed woman, dropping her children off at school near Cove Road and Ault Avenue in the city of Stuart, discovered nine dogs in a dire state last month (September).
These Lhasa Apso dogs, aged between four months and four years old, had just been dumped in the car park, where despite their long hair, they had to endure sweltering heat without access to food or water, as reported by Stuart police.
Sara Fisher, associated with the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast, described the distressing condition of the animals.
She noted that they were severely matted and suffered from urinary tract infections, appearing exceedingly unkempt.
It is believed the dogs had not been properly cared for for some time before they were finally dumped, and after an appeal by cops, the dogs’ owner, named as Deborah Perez, 62, turned herself in to the authorities on Wednesday, 4th October.
After being taken in by an animal rescue organisation, the dogs’ condition has improved significantly, and animal carer Sara Fisher added that despite the existence of free spaying and neutering programmes offered by numerous agencies in Martin County, there has been a slowdown in adoption rates due to the expenses associated with pet ownership.
She expressed frustration at such abandonment cases, highlighting the available resources for animal care in the county.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder recognised the key role played by the community in the rescue operation.
He said: “We couldn’t have done this without the community’s help. We had help from people who found the dogs, rescued the dogs who turned them in to us. We had neighbors who came forward and gave us information.”
He mentioned that Perez, the woman responsible for abandoning the dogs, cited various hardships, including financial instability, as justifications for her actions.
However, Sheriff Snyder emphasised that these circumstances did not justify the abandonment of the animals, considering their inability to fend for themselves in the wild.
He said: “To take dogs and just drop them off in a field hoping for the best then to have them fend for themselves day in and out. These dogs aren’t natural hunters. They can’t fend for themselves.”
Perez now faces nine abandonment charges, each accompanied by a USD 5,000 (GBP 4,118) bond, resulting in a total bond of USD 45,000 (GBP 37,067) for her actions.