Abused dog recovering at Davie clinic after rescue

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DAVIE, Fla. (WSVN) — A dog found in “ruff” shape in the streets of Little Haiti is on the road to recovery at a veterinary clinic in Davie, and her caretakers are calling this a case of animal abuse.

Betha was found with a rope embedded in her neck. The staff at Pet Express Animal Hospital said she was likely tethered as a puppy and somehow managed to break the rope and run away.

“Tethering a dog is illegal in Miami-Dade County,” said Gina Vlasek, who is with the nonprofit group Saving Sage Animal Rescue Foundation. “This is why it’s illegal. This is what happens.”

An area resident found Betha living underneath an abandoned car and reached out for help. “The dog smelled very bad and had a big wound on the neck,” said the neighbor.

Saving Sage first heard about the animal in distress on Friday. “We were called, and within 30 minutes, there were groups of rescuers,” said Vlasek.

Rescuers attempted to retrieve the dog, initially to no avail.

It took 24 hours for the group to gain Betha’s trust, just enough to be caught. “If we don’t do it, who’s going to do it?” said Vlasek.

The group then brought the dog to Pet Express for treatment. “She’s in pretty bad shape,” said Dr. Mayra Sanchez, the vet nursing Betha back to health.

“The infection would have definitely spread. She would have had sepsis and probably died,” Sanchez added.

It also became clear the canine feared people. “[She’s] very scared of just being touched. It seems like she’s never been touched,” said Sanchez. “She shakes. She’s gotten better, but the first 24 hours, we just petted her, and she started shaking like she hasn’t been petted in her life.”

The first step in her recovery was removing the rope around her neck. Sanchez said that as the canine grew, the rope kept cutting into her skin, meaning she was in near constant pain.

“It completely cut the first layers of skin away, almost to the level of the muscle,” said Sanchez.

Betha was also covered in fleas, dehydrated and starving. “But she can make a full recovery,” said Sanchez. “She just needs a lot of care and time.”

There are plans to give Betha plenty of TLC. “She’ll be here for at least two weeks,” said Vlasek.

Then, at some point, Saving Sage will start looking for a new home for Betha. Her name is the Celtic word for “life,” fitting for a dog beginning a new one.

“With the right care, she’ll be an amazing dog,” said Vlasek. “These are the dogs that never want to do anything wrong. They’re very easy to house train. They’re amazing after they feel good, because they never want to live that life again.”

If you would like to make a donation to help with Betha’s recovery, click here.

For more information about Saving Sage Animal Rescue Foundation, click here.

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