Media Contact:
Lilian Bohorquez

Miami-Dade Animal Services joins forces with the ASPCA to assist with the rescue of animals in Florida hoarding case

MIAMI (February 18, 2016)

In an effort to assist in the rescue of more than 50 animals found living in deplorable conditions, Miami-Dade County Animal Services (Animal Services) has deployed Animal Care Specialists to Bell, Florida as part of the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) Field Investigations and Response (FIR) team. 

At the request of the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office, the ASPCA® FIR team is assisting with evidence collection and managing the removal and sheltering of 47 dogs, four cats and a horse living in an overcrowded home in Bell, Fla. The investigation was initiated by the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office when a concerned citizen reported a dead horse in the front yard of the residence as well as several dogs that appeared to be neglected. 

The animals were discovered living in deplorable conditions and exhibited numerous signs of neglect. There was no food on the property, and the animals appeared to be suffering from untreated medical issues and emaciation. Responders confirmed a deceased horse, which was taken to the University of Florida for a necropsy exam.

 “Many of the animals were found in critical condition and we’re pleased to be in a position to help the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office remove these animals from a dire situation,” said Adam Leath, Southeast regional director of ASPCA ® FIR team. “Over the next few days, our Forensic Sciences team will be collecting evidence to support the criminal case, while the animals receive medical exams and behavioral assessments at our temporary shelter.”

“Our animal care specialists were deployed to assist with the care and recovery of the animals found in such horrible conditions,” said Alex Muñoz, Director of Miami-Dade Animal Services. “As ASPCA® Response Partners, we are committed to helping rescue and provide any lifesaving help to animals who have fallen victim to acts of cruelty, hoarding and natural disasters and other crisis situations.” 

The animals were transported to a temporary shelter at an undisclosed location, where the ASPCA® FIR team being assisted by members from Miami-Dade County Animal Services will continue to provide much-needed care for the animals until custody is determined by the court. The Florida State Animal Response Coalition (Apollo Beach, Fla.) and Miami-Dade County Animal Services (Miami, Fla.) are assisting the ASPCA® with the sheltering operation.

Animal cruelty charges are pending, according to the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office.

High resolution photos available.

About Miami-Dade County Animal Services

Every year Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department (Animal Services) provides care and refuge for 28,000 to 30,000 unwanted dogs and cats. Every day, Animal Services staff and volunteers work diligently to find life-long homes for these abandoned animals by facilitating onsite adoptions, hosting off-site adoptions at events and locations throughout the community, and working collaboratively with over 100 rescue organizations and partners that have helped us meet our goal of a 90 percent save rate. Follow Animal Services on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the ASPCA®

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.