Update 7/27: Thanks to so many people sharing the original article, I’m thrilled to report the dogs are SAFE! There is a GoFundMe for a kennel for the pair, and they need some additional funds for medical treatment for arthritis now, but there are pics below in the comments, and a new slideshow with them on their freedom ride and in their foster home! Thank you all, you made it happen!
In November, 2014, a 23-year-old man was shot during a home invasion, in the middle of the night, in Palm Bay, Florida. Three men entered his home, firing multiple shots. One bullet entered the homeowner’s stomach, blowing off part of his liver, kidney and entire gallbladder, The bullet lodged itself just millimeters from his spine. He was left in a coma for three months. The night of the crime, a neighbor of this gentleman contacted a close relative to let her know what happened. No one expected the victim to survive this brutal attack.
The victim’s dogs, Athena and Gator, witnessed the entire assault. When the man was shot, the medics found the pair of dogs laying by his side, guarding his badly injured body. The dogs exhibited no aggression towards the medics, were just very confused and afraid about what was happening to their dad, and kept barking, while his blood flowed out of his body, covering the floor. The medical team went into action, trying to save the man’s life. He was transported to a hospital, where he remained in the coma for three months. When he finally awoke, the first words out of his mouth were “where are my dogs?” Because this is an ongoing criminal investigation, Examiner cannot release the names of any of the parties involved.
Jessica, the relative who appeared on the scene that night, had immediately taken possession of the pair, so they would not end up in the hands of animal control. Because “Tina”, as the family calls Athena, and Gator, are two pitbull mixes, she knew they’d have a very low chance of being adopted or rescued, even though they are young, kind, amazing animals. She, herself, already having one pitbull of her own, was unable, due to the rules of her complex, to take in the couple. After quite some time of searching, she located a temporary foster home, a vet tech at a local clinic, who assured her that she would hold the dogs. In addition, Jessica was also told by the vet tech that she had found a long-term foster, who might potentially be a forever home for the pair.
Though he is recuperating, and quite the medical miracle, the young man has a long road of physical therapy ahead of him and is in no position to reclaim his own dogs. He’s already had multiple surgeries, with more to follow, with years of rehabilitation expected as well.
Eight months have passed since that horrible night. And now the family’s heart is broken, because Athena and Gator are now in the hands of Brevard County Animal Services, in Melbourne, Florida, the one place they never wanted them to end up. Jessica, who placed them in the hands of the vet tech, was never notified that the animals had changed hands. She just happened to look online and see the faces of these two loving dogs, staring back at her from the Animal Control website. She is understandably distraught, and feels as if she failed the dogs, her relative, and her family.
On July 22, she reached out, through Facebook and other social media contacts, to find someone to help take in Tina and Gator. She’s very afraid they won’t make it out of the shelter alive. These dogs have been through so much, and simply do not deserve to pay with their own lives for the actions of criminals, who have yet to be caught.
This week, Jessica spoke personally with this Examiner, explaining that when the young man awoke from his coma, and immediately asked about his dogs, she told him she “had found them an awesome home. Or at least I had thought so. He still doesn’t know they are in the kill shelter.”
When she contacted the vet tech, the tech was very upset to find the dogs were no longer with the gentleman with whom they had been placed. When they reached out to him to find out what happened, he told them that his complex threatened to evict him if he kept the dogs. However, when Brevard SACC was contacted, they told Jessica that the owner surrenders name did not match up with either the vet tech’s nor the gentleman who supposedly had them for the past eight months. No one knows where these family’s dogs have been, nor in how many homes nor what conditions they’ve been tossed into. Yet they are still loving, still friendly, still missing their dad.
On July 23, this Examiner reached out to the Animal Control Officers at Brevard SACC, to see if the dogs were in any danger of being euthanized. Though she did not want to give her name, the ACO said that the dogs had only come in three days ago, and were in no danger. She explained that they were a “no-kill” shelter. However, Jessica reports that when she called, explained the story, and asked them straight out, “are you a no-kill shelter,” that ACO paused before answering.
“I could tell she wanted to be honest with me but could only say so much. Her response was “as of now we are not currently a ‘no- kill’ shelter, but we are in the process of hopefully becoming one.”
How can you trust that Tina and Gator will remain “safe” if an ACO tells a boldfaced lie to a member of the press? You simply cannot. These two are in definite peril of being euthanized. And Jessica is hoping a miracle will happen, and someone will come forward to keep the pair safe. She says,
“People are surrendering their animals to this shelter who is listed as a no-kill, when they are! Even the women working there tell visitors they don’t euthanize. It’s all a lie, people are taking their animals here thinking they will be safe and they are just getting stamped with execution dates.”
If you can help Athena and Gator, please contact Jessica on her Facebook page here, or email her directly at email@example.com. Or you can directly contact Brevard County Animal Services, South Animal Care Center.
5100 West Eau Gallie Boulevard
Melbourne, FL 32935
Phone Number: (321) 253-6608
Fax Number: (321) 253-6623
This is Athena’s information:
ATHENA – ID#A674463. My name is Athena and I am a spayed female, gray and brindle Mix. The shelter thinks I am about 2 years. I have been at the shelter since Jul 20, 2015. Here is her PetHarbor link.
This is Gator’s information:
GATOR – ID#A674461. My name is Gator and I am a neutered male, tan and brown Boxer mix. The shelter thinks I am about 5 years old. I have been at the shelter since Jul 20, 2015. Here is his PetHarbor link.
The only thing Jessica is unsure of, regarding Gator and Athena, is if the couple get along with cats, since they have never been cat-tested.
Please don’t let these dogs pay for a vicious, criminal act, and an attempted murder, with their own, innocent lives. Please contact Jessica or the shelter immediately. Pitbulls get a bad rap, with the highest euthanization rate across every state, due to needless breed discrimination. Please don’t add two more innocent souls to that statistic.
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