'Dog dumping' a growing problem

Abandoning a pet carries felony charges

COOPER CITY, Fla. – A local woman who rescued an abandoned dog from western Broward County is hoping to shed light on a growing problem of people dumping their unwanted pets in the Everglades.

The dog's name is Daisy and she roams and plays in Kelly Lecain's backyard like it's the only home she's ever known. But the 90 pound French Mastiff has had it pretty rough. A year ago she was living alone, roaming the US 27 corridor in Pembroke Pines.

"Daisy is an example of somebody else's garbage, somebody just discarded her," Lecain said.

She rescued Daisy from the streets but it wasn't easy. Her seven week effort is documented in a video posted on YouTube which shows the homeless animal was reluctant to trust anyone and street smart enough to elude every attempt to capture her.

Her life on the street was ended thanks to a sharp eyed veterinarian and his dart gun who sedated Daisy so they could finally capture her.

"Her owner, her human, did her wrong," Lecain said. "Someone definitely dumped this dog out there."

Pet rescue group organizers said Daisy was among a growing population of animals discarded on the fringe of civilization by people who no longer want them as pets.

"People think it's okay just to let them go, and they'll make it out there on the street and they don't," said Sgt. Andrea Goodwin of the Pembroke Pines Police Department.

Goodwin heads up a group of Pembroke Pines police officers that is focusing on the problem. Their Facebook page, Pooches in the Pines, aims to find homes for the pets they discover abandoned on the streets. She says about half of the animals they recover live on the city's western edge.

"Dogs and cats are domesticated, they're not meant to survive in the Everglades where there are snakes and alligators and other types of diseases, so it is very cruel," Goodwin said. "You're living without food, shelter, they really can't fend for themselves."

Daisy suffered no long term problems from her time on the street and her new owner says she's an example of how one's person trash can be another's treasure.

"She's an awesome animal, just very gentle, very loving and very protective of me," Lecain said.

She's working to open a pet rescue house and intends to name it "Daisy's Dream Bungalow." Police said people caught abandoning their pets could face a third degree felony charge of animal cruelty.