What began as an accidental discovery of 11 dogs seemingly abandoned in cages in Hialeah, Florida, turned into relief as authorities stumbled on one homeless man's mission to rescue stray dogs off the streets. The man, dubbed “Tony,” took it upon himself to save the stray dogs he sees wandering the streets of Florida, worrying they could be killed by passing cars.
According to Local10, Richard Couto of Animal Recover Mission, a 501c(3) nonprofit organization that investigates illegal slaughterhouses, came across the 11 dogs when investigating a suspected illegal slaughterhouse. Couto and his investigators heard barking coming from a plywood shack.
Though Couto was anticipating finding a gruesome scene, he was relieved to find the dogs had water and looked healthy. With no one around, he called the police and Miami-Dade Animal Services showed up. At that time, Tony appeared and explained he only leaves the dogs when he goes looking for work.
“I got food. I got everything here,” Tony told Local10. While Tony is happy to see the dogs go to new homes, his one condition is that they don't go to kill-shelters. He would like to keep about four or five dogs who stay with him when he doesn't have work.
Miami-Dade Animal Services agreed the dogs were all in good condition and did not need to be removed. Tony was warned to vaccinate 7 of the 11 dogs, with 4 currently up-to-date on shots. Cuoto and his organization will provide dog food for the dogs Tony keeps and are helping to find rescues to take the rest.
When asked why he takes in strays, Tony told Local10's reporter Christina Vazquez, “people just throw them out there. They are over there in Hialeah and cars could run them over. They were going to be run by cars so I just brought them here because at least here they are safe.”
For more information or to adopt one of the dogs, please visit Animal Recovery Mission.