Dog dies of neglect under watch of ‘evil’ pet sitter in Sunny Isles Beach, police say

Another dog survived severe dehydration, authorities say

SUNNY ISLES BEACH, Fla. – An Illinois woman is accused of neglecting two dogs, one of whom starved to death, after she was hired to watch over them in Sunny Isles Beach.

According to an arrest report from the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department, officers were dispatched to an apartment near the 16000 block of Collins Avenue on June 27 after a housekeeper made a horrifying discovery.

Owner Patricia Gutierrez told police that she and her husband left the country on May 30, and were scheduled to be away for 30 days.

Before leaving for her trip, Gutierrez hired Antonella Rivoir, 20, of Berwyn, Illinois, to stay in her apartment and take care of her cat and five dogs full-time while she was away on vacation. She said she gave her specific instructions on how to care for her pets before she left.

Gutierrez told police that from May 30 to June 27, she was in contact with Rivoir every day to ask how her pets were doing. According to the report, Rivoir told her that everything was good, and her pets were healthy.

Gutierrez told police that she thought it was “weird” that sometimes she couldn’t access the cameras that were installed inside of her home through her phone to see what was happening in the apartment.

The report also stated that Rivoir’s boyfriend was living at the home, even though Gutierrez told her he couldn’t live there.

Police said a few days before returning home, Gutierrez told her housekeeper to go clean her apartment.

The housekeeper arrived to an apartment covered in urine and feces, police said. She said the pets in the home looked “sad” and appeared to have lost weight and said she had never seen the home so filthy after working there for a year.

The housekeeper would then notice that “Daisy,” an 8-year-old Pomeranian, and “Lucy,” a 13-year-old Pomeranian, were lying down stiff and unable to walk. She ended up taking both dogs to a veterinarian in Surfside.

Police said both dogs were later taken in an ambulance to an Aventura animal hospital due to their “severe condition.”

Authorities said once both dogs arrived in Aventura, Daisy was given CPR but couldn’t be saved. The incident report said Lucy was able to recover, but had bruises all over her body.

“When Daisy laid unconscious, they (Rivoir and her boyfriend) were out snorkeling,” Gutierrez told Local 10 News in an interview Thursday.

A necropsy report stated that the cause of Daisy’s death was due to complications of neglect and severe dehydration, according to police.

“They were not given food or water for 10 days,” Gutierrez told Local 10 News.

Police said after Gutierrez returned on June 28, Rivoir and her boyfriend left, leaving their belongings behind.

Gutierrez said after arriving back home and reviewing camera footage, she saw one video that showed Daisy following Rivoir into the bedroom without a camera and then heard Daisy “squeal in pain.”

She said moments later, the video showed Daisy limping. Gutierrez told police that she believed Rivoir purposefully unplugged the cameras at certain times so they would not record.

She also said that she left the exact amount of food her dogs would need throughout the time she was gone, but none of the food was used and none of their required medication was given to them.

“I don’t understand why she did this to helpless creatures,” Gutierrez said.

Investigators said Rivoir’s actions, or lack thereof, resulted in the “cruel death” of Daisy and the “unnecessary pain and suffering” of Lucy.

“I can only tell you there are people that are evil,” Sunny Isles Beach police Sgt. Melissa Porro told Local 10 News.

According to jail records, Rivoir is facing two counts of animal cruelty with intent to injure or kill.

Patricia Gutierrez created a GoFundMe account to benefit Saving Sage Animal Rescue Foundation in honor of Daisy. If you would like to donate, click here.

About the Authors:

Reporter Rosh Lowe has been covering news for nearly two decades in South Florida. He joined Local 10 in 2021.

Ryan Mackey is a Digital Journalist at WPLG. He was born in Long Island, New York, and has lived in Sunrise, Florida since 1994.