In the first five weeks of 2014 Lee County Domestic Animal Services, in addition to routine calls, responded to 160 calls for cruelty and neglect, 99 calls for sick and injured animals, and 46 calls regarding abandoned animals.
Among the abandonments last week was an elderly dog left in a wooded area, presumably to die, officials said. This 18-year-old Lhasa Apso was blind and severely matted, among suffering from other numerous medical conditions.
"She, unfortunately, had to be humanely euthanized due to her condition," according to a statement from Lee County Domestic Animal Services issued Tuesday.
These statistics are not new to Animal Services' staff.
"We want to emphasize, once again, that there is no reason for any animal to suffer neglect or abandonment when Lee County offers programs to residents who can't afford to feed their pets or provide veterinary care," said Glenn Johnson, LCDAS operations manager, in the statement.
Anyone receiving public assistance is eligible for these programs which are funded by charitable donations to the Animal Care Trust Fund. There are also low cost clinics throughout the county for owners who are not receiving any type of assistance but are having financial problems.
"These animals did not end up in these conditions overnight; they have suffered through prolonged periods of neglect," said Nicole Ferguson, LCDAS Shelter veterinarian, in the statement. "With the programs we have available it is hard to comprehend how someone could allow this to happen."
Animal Services is investigating these abandonments under State Statute 828.13(3) which states that any person who abandons any animal in a street, road, or public place without providing for the care, sustenance, protection, and shelter is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. If found guilty, the offense is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 and/or imprisonment.
Anyone with information about this dog or her owner is asked to call Animal Services at 533-7387, ext. 2, or contact Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS. Lee County Domestic Animal Services accepts anonymous complaints and information. The public is also urged to report neglected and abandoned animals.
"Lee County Domestic Animal Services is committed to providing a safe and compassionate community for people and pets and ensuring that irresponsible owners and animal abusers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," officials said.
Source: Lee County Domestic Animal Services