HOMESTEAD (CBS4) – Near the border of where rural meets desolate you’ll see them: Packs of dogs roaming Homestead and Florida City.

The animals are clearly on their own.  They look starved, thirsty, and many appear injured.  And Everglades National Park ranger Mirta Maltez sees them all the time.  She calls out to the dogs around an abandoned house as she gives us a tour on her own time.

“We took out five yesterday and we have five to go.” Maltez says.   You could call it her second job, rescuing dogs left behind in South Florida great recession.  Some are dumped here wandering the street others left behind in foreclosed homes.

“I could go and fill a bus in Florida City,” said Maltez.

Ironically, on Wednesday she rescued dogs from a home that used to be a dog rescue center.  Today Wells Fargo owns it.

Jennifer Woolman at Crossroads Animal Clinic is sympathetic to the situation.

“I don’t want to say that people don’t value their animals.  I don’t judge because I know the economy is very, very difficult.” Woolman says.

At her animal clinic in Kendall, Woolman is stepping up.  Taking in these foreclosure dogs and nursing them back to health.  A task, she says, that can be daunting.

“Everyday. It’s overwhelming everyday,” said Woolman. “My favorite motto is just to remember to breathe because that’s what you have to do.”

She showed CBS4’s David Sutta the two dogs that came from the foreclosed rescue Tuesday because they were in the worst shape.  Another boxer is in the mix.  She chased after the car as they were pulling away and Woolman didn’t have the heart to leave her behind with the seven others.

“It’s just sad because they are still lives.” says Woolman.

With Miami-Dade’s shelter budget shrinking and a record number of animals, roughly 36,000 last year, coming through the door rescue groups are now changing their strategy to spay and neuter.

“They stop the cycle right before it starts by stopping the birth of all these unwanted neglected pets.  We just can’t adopt our way out of the problem.  The numbers are incredible,” said Laurie Bloom of the Spay Neuter Miami Foundation.  As she pets the dogs roaming a foreclosed rescue she used to work at she tells us things have to change.  After 30 years in the business she explains taking the problem on one dog at a time will not work.  She’s hoping people will start donating money to the spay and neuter cause to bring the epidemic under control.

For more information on how you can adopt one of the foreclosure dogs go to:

If you do not have room to adopt but would like to help the spay and neuter programs at:

Comments (10)
  1. Howard Camner says:

    Drop them on rick Scott’s doorstep. Better yet have them surround his house just waiting for him to jjoin them for lunch

  2. John Brown says:

    These poor animals are left behind because their “owners” are sorry and nasty. Quit making excuses for them. What is amazing is that nobody leaves their cell phones, ipods and other valuable stuff behind. Somehow there is money to pay for that….

  3. dm says:

    The rescue group that was on Mirta’s shirt is thisisthedog .com — they are located in Homestead

  4. Ellen Frank says:

    This is heartbreaking. Thank goodness for the wonderful people that rescue these poor animals. Spay/Neuter is the solution in the long run.

  5. Lauri Bloom says:

    I would like to clarify that the property where the story was filmed used to be a rescue/boarding kennel about seven years ago. Every animal was placed in a loving home before the property was sold. The new owners used the property for a different purpose and they were foreclosed on a little more than a year ago. If you would like to help, please make a donation to so that we can prevent this suffering. Thank you very much!!

  6. yokolee says:

    You wont leave a family member behind
    have the decency to take your pet to an animal shelter
    if you can’t take care of the poor animal.properly

  7. Sam Devoshi says:

    Thanks for this story but trying to capture, rehabilitate, feed, and hopefully adopt thousands of these homeless dogs is not the solution … the shear number of abandoned and unwanted dogs out there that are breeding is the problem. The solution to reducing the large number of these dogs (and cats) is to offer low-cost and convenient spay-neuter programs county wide.

  8. Carol says:

    This is so sad because they don’t ask to be born and this how you handle a family member God forbid this is a child because he or she would be dead.

    This is so sad I really don’t have the words I just hope people will step up to the plate and help because these innocent animals because they don’t have a voice,

  9. BJ McLaughlin says:

    Unfortunately the same “model citizens” that don’t spay or neuter their animals are the same ones that leave them behind like a bag of trash. Not surprisingly, these EXACT same people are the ones that don’t supervise their children, and effectively “abandon” them as well. This is a segment of the population that’s not going to participate in any “program”, and can be expected to continue to cause most of the social ills in our country.
    *As a side note: I’m not sure if they still do this or not, but the Broward County shelter used to actually IMPORT animals (one employee told us that our adoptee came from Puerto Rico) , which shocked me since all we ever hear about is the huge number of shelter animals that NEED to be adopted. Had I known beforehand that they were OUTSOURCING puppies, I probably would have skipped the dog acquisition. If they’re still bringing in additional “inventory” to be adopted…well maybe they shouldn’t. It seems as if we have plenty of “home grown ” strays.

  10. Stacy Hawkes says:

    I am absolutely DISGUSTED !! People dont need to have pets if they dump them like the daily garbage !!!!!!!!!! Spaying and Neutering is the long term but damn the people who do this to the family pet , I really hope they get caught trying to dump the dog and by law they shouldnt be given the priveledge of having a pet , by law they should serve time and made to take care of the animals in the shelters that need help. Its a disgrace that people are just this stupid !!!!!!!!!! There are places you can bring your pet to if you cant afford them any longer , WAKE UP .