This past July, Riptide reported that Homestead's nonprofit Sabbath Memorial Dog Rescue might close due to a zoning snafu. Several months before, Miami-Dade Animal Services inspectors had discovered that owner Robbie Coy didn't have a kennel license -- and he couldn't get one until he changed the zoning of his property. Problem is, his landlord didn't want to go through the expense of a zoning change. So yeah, red tape all around.
Now the landlord, CJM Investment Group, is evicting Coy, and the rescuer's 130 dogs are in jeopardy. He's been given until August 31 to move the operation out.
Coy hasn't given up. In a recent meeting with Animal Services, he says he was told by enforcement manager Raquel Cruz that if (very generous, at least with his staff) Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez approved a kennel license for Sabbath Memorial, one could be issued without a zoning change.
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Cruz denies giving such advice. But nobody mobilizes like animal lovers, and Alvarez has been inundated with calls and letters from Coy's supporters.
Coy says he doesn't blame CJM, which is run by Hialeah doctor Miguel A. Chamah. "The county is trying to make him look like a villain, but they're the one's who have been hounding him and fining him," he says. "For him to change the zoning would require considerable time, money, and effort and make his property taxes rise exponentially. It's prohibitive. My question is: There's been a dog rescue here for eight years, and we've never had any complaints -- why are they doing this now?"
In the meantime, Coy urges dog lovers to adopt or foster his canines before the eviction date. If you're interested, contact him at 305-799-1567.