Delusions of Dogma

A town is gripped by bitter accusations, bogus arrests, rumors of violence, canine carnage, and general mayhem

After her husband was hauled off, Jane allegedly admitted Roy had hit her. "Mrs. McDade, who stated it was Mr. McDade who had strucked [sic] her, refused to cooperate and refused medical treatment from the Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue who arrived on the scene," Casabo wrote. "Mrs. McDade appeared to be under the influence of an unknown alcoholic substance."

Both officers also alleged they sustained injuries during their tussle with McDade. Casabo said he had injuries to his back, shoulder, and right hand; as a result, he filed a workers compensation claim and is currently off the job. Marchese, whose injuries were minor, returned to work the same evening.

Both McDades, however, dispute the police officers' version of events. Jane insists she was angry with Roy only because he wouldn't take her to the hospital. "He's never pulled a hair off me," she says, showing a visitor just how she flew face-first into the side of the sink. "They just barged in, saying they had to arrest somebody. They grabbed hold of Roy, and the next thing you know -- I kept telling them that Roy didn't do anything. I just wanted an ambulance because I'd hurt myself. It turned into a ridiculous situation."

Jonathan Postal
Jane and Roy McDade grieve over dead dogs Jerry and Kismet
Jonathan Postal
Jane and Roy McDade grieve over dead dogs Jerry and Kismet

Though she refused assistance from fire-rescue personnel, Jane McDade says, a neighbor drove her to North Shore Hospital. And, she adds, it didn't take long for her husband's enemies to capitalize on the evening's events. Waiting inside North Shore's emergency room were none other than Mayor Walker, Chief Gotlin, and the chief's top assistant, Lieutenant Mitchell Glansberg, who was toting a camera. She suspects they wanted to document her cut lip. "I told them I had nothing to say and walked out of the hospital," she exclaims. "They followed me out into the parking lot, trying to take pictures of my face." She subsequently went to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where doctors stitched up her lip.

Walker insists the decision to visit Mrs. McDade at the hospital was to get to the bottom of what happened. "I was concerned about Jane's well-being," he says of his next-door neighbor. "I tried to explain to her why it was necessary for her to cooperate in a criminal investigation." Gotlin says he showed up because he wanted more details about what led to his officers' injuries. The chief also defended the officers' decision to press the McDades about their injuries. "When the officers saw both spouses had apparent injuries," Gotlin says, "they have the right to investigate and ask questions."

"I say Gotlin and Walker are full of shit," says Commissioner Coyle, who remains loyal to McDade and the homeowners committee. "They went to see Jane with an ax to grind. Roy was a thorn in their asses. By making him look like a wife-beater, Walker and Gotlin can consolidate their power." Gotlin and Walker had no business at the hospital, he adds, because Roy was already in custody, "unless they were looking to persuade Jane to press charges against Roy." That wouldn't surprise him, he notes. They "wanted Roy out of the way."

When it became apparent Jane McDade was not going to press charges, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office dropped the domestic battery charge against her husband. Prosecutors have also dropped one of the felony counts of battery on a police officer. Yet McDade still lives in fear of going to prison. "Gotlin doesn't want the State Attorney to plead out," he asserts. "They're going for the maximum sentence against me."

When he drives in Biscayne Park these days, he claims, village police follow him. "The other day Glansberg was driving north as I was driving south on Griffing Boulevard," he says. "He made a U-turn and starts following me. So I made a U-turn and I waved at him as I passed him."

On a recent evening, rain pounds a metal awning that extends over a large window at the rear of a one-bedroom cottage about two miles outside of Biscayne Park. Since his arrest, McDade has been living here. A freight train sounds a warning as it rounds the tracks behind the property. McDade's three bulldogs retreat into the house after greeting a visitor at the front door. Six-year-old, 125-pound Bowie, a brawny but docile beast, lies on a circular rug in the living room, chewing on a squeaky toy. One-year-olds Marino and Scarlet chase each other into the bedroom.

McDade is in the small kitchen, broiling eight pounds of chicken quarters. "I spend a good ten minutes taking all the bones off," McDade says. "And that's just their dinner." Atop the microwave are three piles of vitamins -- from A to fish oil to zinc -- which he has sorted for his pets. He opens a red binder lying on the counter and refers to some handwritten notes. "It's their daily log," he says, pointing to a recent entry. "I write down what they ate, how much exercise they had, and if they had to go to the vet."

In the study, the room with the large window, McDade pulls out several family albums filled with pictures of his dogs, including Marino and Scarlet's parents, Jerry and Kismet. One series of photographs shows McDade and his dogs out hunting and includes shots of Bowie and Jerry taking down a wild boar. On a large wooden end table sits a shrine to Jerry and Kismet. Framed photos and sympathy cards surround a three-foot-by-three-foot marble tombstone placed at the center of the table. The five-year-old dogs were killed by a train near Biscayne Boulevard and 167th Street on May 6, 2004. "Except for my children, I have never loved any living creature as much as I loved my dogs," McDade whimpers.

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