Some police departments say the Broward County animal shelter is turning away injured dogs, and tonight they are sounding the alarm. Here’s 7 Investigates with Karen Hensel.
There have been concerns for years about how the Broward Animal Care Shelter has been run, but now it is police officers who are fed up and frustrated.
Every day, police officers risk their lives to keep South Florida residents safe, but now they are also being forced to take on the role of keeping animals safe.
Anabelle Lima-Taub, Hallandale Beach Commissioner: “I have never seen anything like this, ever.”
Hallandale Beach City commissioners got this letter from a police captain. He writes he found it “…very disturbing…” when animal services refused to respond to help a “mortally injured dog with wounds infested with flies and maggots.”
Anabelle Lima-Taub: “The police department isn’t equipped to be an animal care facility. That’s what our tax dollars are allocated for Broward Animal Care Shelter.”
Officers say the Broward County Animal Shelter also refused to pick up this stray dog. Hallandale Beach Police placed her in a makeshift outdoor pen, but moved her into a city jail cell when she started to overheat.
Karen Hensel: “Is a crate outside a holding facility?”
Emily Woods, Animal Care Director: “That is for the city to decide.”
And Hallandale is not alone.
Davie Police officers were forced to jump in and rescue a drowning dog from this channel.
They too were denied help from the shelter.
One officer wrote in an email, “When I asked if the officers should have left the dog to drown in the canal last night, she stated it was a choice they made and yes, they should have left it, if they did not have other accommodation….”
The officer ended by saying, “I’m still in shock…I have no words.”
We took the issue directly to shelter director Emily Wood.
Emily Wood, Director, Broward County Animal Care: “I certainly did not say that.”
Karen Hensel: “The officer’s lying?”
Emily Wood: “I think maybe it’s a little bit of an exaggeration of a heated conversation.”
According to auditors investigating a slew of problems at the shelter, the trouble began when Wood updated intake practices requiring local police to hold pets for 72 hours.
Emily Wood: “This animal, who is only a few blocks from their home, is much less likely to get home if they come here, and they’re taking these resources that another animal might really need.”
Problem is investigators say Wood never told city officials about the 3-day rule.
Ana Campos, Animal Activist: “It’s an ongoing situation with police officers being put in this position. I’m very upset.”
The parents of this yorkie are also upset. Their precious pet was mauled to death by a loose pitbull last Thursday night.
Their 12-year-old daughter was walking the dog when the attack occurred.
Hallandale Beach Police say they called animal services repeatedly, but the dangerous dog wasn’t picked up until four days later.
Michele Lazaro, Hallandale Beach Commissioner: “If the county’s not going to hold her accountable, we’re going to make sure that she’s accountable.”
Hallandale Commissioner Michele Lazaro spoke at a county commission meeting saying the policy is ridiculous.
Michele Lazaro, Hallandale Beach Commissioner: “The police department are not doing Ms. Wood’s job. It’s not happening.”
One Broward City has now passed a resolution calling for the county commission to do away with the new policy.
Other cities are expected to follow suit.
Karen Hensel, 7News.
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