(WSVN) - Homeowners in one Miami-Dade community say they are seeing a surge in stray dogs, and some of those dogs have gone on the attack. Now, residents are calling on the county to step up the response. Kevin Ozebek has tonight’s 7 Investigates.
If an animal needs rescuing, Lisa and Diego Hurtado will give it a home on their Redland ranch.
Kevin Ozebek: “So this is a rescue too?”
Diego Hurtado: “He’s also a rescue. He’s a retired barrel racer.”
The couple has a soft spot for ponies and horses, so late last year, they were devastated when they saw their pony named Toby bleeding from bite marks.
Lisa Hurtado: “Two stray dogs came onto our property and viciously attacked my pony. It was a pitbull and a rottweiler.”
At first, it looked like Toby would survive, but he died a short time later.
Take a drive through the Redland community, and you’ll see all the dogs. Some are strays, others are unleashed pets roaming free.
Kevin Ozebek: “How often do you see a dog here on your property?”
Michael Wanek: “I would say at least once a week.”
Redland resident Michael Wanek says some of the dogs are docile but not all.
Michael: “As a result, I do carry a pistol on my property when I’m by myself. I have not shot a dog but have shot it up in the air to scare them.”
Kevin Ozebek: “What would you like to see the county do here?”
Michael: “Well, the county needs to first pick up the stray dogs.”
But the county shelter in Doral is at capacity.
Miami-Dade Animal Services tells 7News, “We have temporarily suspended the collection of stray dogs. The limited shelter space is being prioritized for injured, diseased or aggressive stray dogs.”
Kevin Ozebek: “Have you seen an impact of that policy here at your sanctuary?”
Newton Junior, Redland Dog Sanctuary: “Oh, yeah, it’s just tragic.”
Newton Junior and Amy Spadaro run the Redland Dog Sanctuary. They’re trying to fill the void and are housing about 100 dogs.
Amy Spadaro, Redland Dog Sanctuary: “Now it is a crisis. It’s come to crisis levels. Dogs are killing people’s cats. They’re getting hit in the streets. Samaritans are being required to take on dogs that they’re not comfortable with.”
Amy and Newton say the county policy, combined with the economic downturn, have led to a huge increase in dogs being dumped in Redland.
Kevin Ozebek: “How many calls a day do you get from people in this community reporting a stray dog?”
Newton: “Oh, we have around 20 calls every day.”
They introduced us to Aster, a sweet as could be German shepherd.
Just days earlier, he was abandoned at the sanctuary’s front gate.
Newton Junior/redland: “And the reason they tied him up on our gates is because the county is not taking them, so they have nothing else to do.”
Newton and Amy are calling on the county to build a second shelter in South Miami-Dade.
Diego and Lisa want more action, too.
Lisa Hurtado: “I don’t see much being done.”
The dogs that killed their Toby couldn’t escape the horse yard, so animal services did remove them.
But just a few days after our interview, the couple spotted a stray, which looked emaciated and hungry right outside their gate.
Kevin Ozebek, 7News.
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