Animal advocate needs help after man’s savage attack as she fed cats in Broward

OAKLAND PARK, Fla. – Maria Salete Ouveryney worked as a housekeeper in Broward County, and she spent her free time helping cats in the community, but a savage attack changed everything. She remained hospitalized on Friday waiting to be stable enough for surgery.

The 63-year-old animal advocate was feeding a feral cat colony on Sunday in Oakland Park when Antonino Santo Romano, 28, saw an opportunity, deputies said. He beat her up and stole her purse and her car, a green Mazda 3, deputies said.

Deputies arrested Antonino Santo Romano, 28, on Wednesday in St. Lucie. (SLSO)

Ouveryney lost consciousness behind the McDonald’s restaurant at 3073 W. Oakland Park Blvd. Her injuries included nasal and optic fractures, and she was in a lot of pain.

Deputies later found Ouveryney’s car abandoned in Lauderhill. And on Wednesday, in Port St. Lucie, deputies arrested Romano and he was at St. Lucie County Jail waiting for extradition to Broward County on charges of attempted felony murder and carjacking without a firearm or weapon.

Ouveryney’s friends said she was on a morphine drip on Friday, and if doctors believe the swelling has subsided, she will undergo surgery on Saturday.

How to help

Salete Ouveryney won’t be able to work and she doesn’t have health insurance, so other animal advocates are asking anyone who wants to help her to contribute to this GoFundMe page.

About the Authors: