HALLANDALE BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A Hallandale Beach commissioner who spends her time advocating for animals is calling out Broward County’s animal shelter for turning away stray and injured animals.
Local police departments have been sounding the alarm for months about being forced to care for stray animals, saying when they call Broward County Animal Control, they are told the shelter won’t take them.
These three dogs are not police K-9 dogs, but they have been in Hallandale Police custody since Tuesday.
“They, out of the goodness of their hearts, because they love dogs, they will not just leave dogs roaming on the streets,” said Hallandale Beach Commissioner Michele Lazarow.
She says officers have been calling animal control to pick up the dogs but have been told no.
“We called the shelter repeatedly for assistance and were told no, so we came over today to drop these dogs off in the lobby,” said Lazarow, outside Broward Animal Control.
And this is not the first time Hallandale Beach Police have had to care for stray dogs.
As 7 Investigates first reported last September, city commissioners received a letter from a police captain saying he found it “very disturbing” when animal services “refused to respond” to help a “mortally injured dog with wounds infested with flies and maggots.”
Police said animal services also refused to pick up this dog; police first put her in this makeshift outdoor pen but moved her into a jail cell after she started to overheat.
“Listen, take them or I’m going to open the cage,” said Lazarow confronting shelter employees about the dogs she brought.
Animal care workers did eventually agree to take the three dogs after first saying they couldn’t because they were handling a hoarding situation.
Shelter director Emily Wood told Lazarow she should have called first.
“We have repeatedly, Emily,” Lazarow told Wood. “Montellanico has called multiple times to come and get these dogs. We held them for longer than 72 hours.”
At that point, Wood and a shelter employee walked away.
Outside the admitting center, Lazarow was asked to fill out paperwork and again confronted Wood about shelter policies that force police departments to take care of stray animals.
“Just remember we’re not required to do that: to hold dogs,” Lazarow told Wood. “Hallandale Beach held those dogs, even though we weren’t required.”
Wood retorted, “Once you pick up a dog, you take ownership of them. You are required to see it through.”
“We are absolutely required to call animal control,” responded Lazarow.
Lazarow said she is stunned that the shelter thinks police would either just leave animals roaming the streets or take care of them at the police station.
“Animal control is there to help with the stray population,” Lazarow said to Wood. “Not for you to write a policy that is absolutely unattainable. Nobody would ever agree to that policy. The city is not agreeing to that policy.”
In an interview later, Wood told 7 Investigates, the shelter is pushed to its limits right now.
“Everybody’s been really understanding that we’re in a crisis mode right now with these 60 dogs from a hoarding case,” she said. “Everybody except for one.”
This has been an issue 7 Investigates has been tracking, and it’s more than just one person who is raising concerns.
Long before today’s hoarding story made headlines and in the last six months, several police departments in different cities have told us that they have called about sometimes stray and dangerous dogs, and they also have not been picked up.
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