Dozens of Dogs Die

A tale of 78 abused pets and two peculiar people.

"At around 4 or 5 p.m. every day, when it really got hot, you would smell it," said a neighbor, who declined to give her name. After Prady's arrest, next-door neighbor Ronald Joyce told his wife: "Won't you be glad to open the windows now?"

Still, neighbors believe Prady didn't know she was harming the animals. "It just would not enter in her head that she was doing something wrong," said Sandy Leino, who has known Prady for 10 years and recently helped her obtain food stamps.

"She told me: 'I've done the best I can. I'm taking care of my animals, I'm not mistreating them,'" said Burns. "Putting her in jail for five years isn't going to do anything for her."

Burns said North Miami has an obligation to rehabilitate Prady's property, and he wants the city's Community Redevelopment Agency "to look at it" for potential purchase. "Ideally she gets her house back, but I don't think it's going to work out that way." In the meantime, Burns has adopted one of four Chihuahua puppies removed from the home.

Reached on the phone, Klar said he remains unconcerned about the prospect of selling Prady's house. "Basically there's more than one way to skin a cat," he said, and Riptide let the unfortunate choice of metaphor slide. "I don't know what you guys are looking for, but reality is very banal in this case." As if.

Late last week, Prady's white GMC Sierra pickup remained parked in front of her gate. In the bed of the truck was a small opened bag of Beneful dog food; several large bags of Pedigree and Purina One sat in the back seat.

Riptide peeked through the latticework that topped the fence along 139th Street.

A ghostly stillness clung to the yard, which was bloated with tall weeds and foliage that sagged under the weight of the week's downpours. As a car whooshed through puddles on the street, the calm was broken by a black dog, which scampered out of the bushes before disappearing back into the overgrowth.

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