Dog killed by swarm of bees in backyard of Boca Raton home

Owner says neighbor is beekeeper; feral hive found in backyard

By Terrell Forney - Reporter

BOCA RATON, Fla. - A South Florida family is heartbroken after their dog was swarmed by bees and killed.

"There's no dog ever like her. You know, she had this energy," Rebecca Merwin said.

Merwin said she had her pet Rottweiler, named Delilah, for seven years.

She said it was last week that the 45-pound dog Delilah went out to play in the backyard of their Boca Raton home when a swarm of bees attacked her.

"I can't really get it out of my head, just seeing her covered in bees," Merwin said. "The hardest thing was just not being able to do anything for her. She was in so much visible pain, and there was just nothing you can do."

Merwin said she witnessed her dog being attacked from behind the French doors of her home.

"I heard my brother say, you know, like, 'Lock the door. Like, she can't come in, because they're going to follow her,'" Merwin said. "Because they were. They were following her around, like, no matter where she could go. She couldn't have hid from them."

Helpless and fearful of the hundreds of bees, the teenage girl was eventually able to get to Delilah.

Delilah was rushed to an emergency animal hospital, but the toxins from the many stings were just too much. She died hours later.

"The vet said she had a zero percent chance of living," Merwin said.

"We rescued her," Merwin's mother, Debbie Leonard, said. "She was found in a dumpster in Miami. We gave her a good home, but she had a horrible beginning and a devastating end."

The family has since learned that a neighbor is a beekeeper and legally maintains several hives on his property.

"If they're allowed to keep them, which I don't think they should be, they have to communicate with the neighborhood," Leonard said.

But there was also a feral hive found that could have fallen from a tree.

"Trust me, when the hive, the comb, hits the ground, with potentially thousands of bees on it, the bees are going to be a little bit upset, and they will attack anything in sight," Dan Novak, of the Broward Beekeeper's Association, said.

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