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Home / Articles / Columnists / Dog World with Tina /  NO Welcome Sign Here
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Friday, August 5,2016

NO Welcome Sign Here

By Tina Valant-Siebelts  

Named for pockets of red clay atop of a massive layer of oolite rock is Redland, Florida. Early residents intentionally adopted the singular name Redland to differentiate from Redlands, California. Neighboring communities comprise this unincorporated area about 20 miles southwest of downtown Miami. Farms, original clapboard homes of early settlers, u-pick’em fields and coral rock walls speckle the landscape. Pure water from the Biscayne aquifer nourishes the area. Agriculturalists, botanists, and naturalists including John James Audubon and David Fairchild enjoyed this natural range. Most homes sit on a minimum of five acres, a law put into place to preserve the area. Designated a Wild Bird Sanctuary, peacocks roam freely within the groves*. Sounds lovely, right?


It’s a regular day, you awaken and get ready for work. As you walk outside to your vehicle, you notice movement in your yard. Wait! It’s a dog. She runs into the bushes and there are her newly born puppies. She is scared, protective of her new pups, and doesn’t know who to trust. You get her some water, food and a towel to place her pups on. She was dumped in her moment of need (birth), and now you’re upset, angry and late for work.

Another person drives out to a plant nursery. Along the road are numerous dogs, watching, waiting. They look to every car for food, water or the person who left them. The temperature is in the 90s. Without shade or water, the relentless heat will claim them. They were once members of families, now cast aside like trash. They trusted humans for their basic needs (food, water and shelter), along with love and care... and this is what they got.

Driving down a deserted unpaved road, there´s a car coming toward you, quickly. Running behind the car is the dog the driver just tossed from the car. Wait… WHAT?

These above situations occur DAILY in Redland, FL. Yes, that same picturesque place I just told you about. Many rescuers refer to it as “The Deadland”. Regular feeders visit daily with water and food. They photograph the cases and plead for adoption assistance via social media. Many dogs are ready or have given birth. Some puppies will be claimed by wildlife as food.

Isabel Zapata lives and works in this area. She has been tending to these unfortunate dogs, daily, for the past five years. “It’s worse than ever. No matter how many we capture and get to safety, more dogs appear. Every day”, she states. “It’s heartbreaking to see man’s best friends dumped. Dogs approach cars in hope of leaving or just food and water. They are injured, killed, or worse… literally, eaten alive by ants or vultures. The horror is impossible to describe, like puppies nursing from a dead mom. Dog fighters picking up bait inventory, then dumping severely injured or dead victims. It never ends.”

The area is overrun with these strays. Livestock and pets’ lives have been jeopardized. Overwhelmed locals poison dogs. They die a painful and horrible death alone, probably wondering what they did to deserve that. Not only is dumping cruel, immoral, unethical and irresponsible, it is illegal. Note the 2016 Florida Statute 828.12 - Cruelty to animals.

(1) A person who unnecessarily overloads, overdrives, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter, or unnecessarily mutilates, or kills any animal, or causes the same to be done, or carries in or upon any vehicle, or otherwise, any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner, commits animal cruelty, a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.

(2) A person who intentionally commits an act to any animal, or a person who owns or has the custody or control of any animal and fails to act, which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done, commits aggravated animal cruelty, a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.

There are many ways to help: Spay/neuter your pet. Avoid adding to the overwhelming populations.

Donate money, food, time, resources to those on the front lines.

Adopt, DO NOT shop. Rescued pets love you even more.

If you can no longer keep your pet, surrender him/her to a reputable rescue group or shelter. Anonymously report those who break the law to Miami CrimeStoppers: 305-471-8477

Tina Valant-Siebelts is a confirmed dog-o-holic, mom to many rescued pets, who volunteers with numerous organizations. To "fill all those dog bowls," Tina is an award-winning photographer, writer & event coordinator.


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