The South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SFSPCA) and Miami-Dade County Animal Services rescued two horses and a dog last week in animal cruelty cases that rescuers refer to as "as bad as it gets."
The horses, found on the 15800 block of NW 57th Avenue, were at least 200 pounds underweight. They had been kept without food and water for months and had resorted to eating wood and their own waste to survive.
Although the SFSPCA saves about 200 horses annually, rescue workers agree this is one of the most heinous cases of animal abuse they've seen.
A lake sits at the back of the facility where the horses could have hydrated themselves, but they were locked in an eight-by-ten-foot stall where they could see the lake but not reach it.
Relocated to a South Miami rescue ranch, the horses are in such bad shape that survival is not guaranteed, although rescuers hope that months of treatment will save the horses' lives. One of the horses had a bacterial infection that led to sores that were left untreated until the time of rescue and is in critical condition. The SFSPCA is trying to raise the $10,000 necessary to pay for basic care and medical treatment.
As if this case weren't unnerving enough, just days earlier, Miami-Dade County Animal Services rescued Lily, a 3-year-old beagle who had muscle-deep lacerations on 40 percent of her body.
The dog's owner took Lily to animal services and said she had just noticed the blisters on the small dog's body. The woman said she had sought veterinary treatment for the animal but could not afford vet care because she was unemployed.
The animal's condition shocked rescue workers, who oversee the victims of more than 3,000 cases of suspected animal cruelty a year. Veterinarian Maria Serrano saved Lily's life and found a rescue group to care for the dog during her recovery.
Serrano said she has observed similar wounds after pet owners try to to control fleas and ticks by pouring oil on their pets, which only burns the animals' skin and doesn't control the infestation.
Cindy Hewitt from Paws 4 You, the rescue group taking care of Lily, told the Miami Herald, "I see a lot of very nasty things, but the wounds were so bad that they literally made my stomach flip."
Miami resident Sonia Martinez of Marco Drugs donated $500 worth of medical supplies toward Lily's treatment, but Paws 4 You is asking for donations for Lily's care, which is expected to costs thousands of dollars.
Hewitt added, "In spite of what has to be extreme pain, she always wags her tail, she always greets people with joy. She's just a remarkable little animal that really touched all of us and shows such an amazing desire and will to live."
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