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Dog euthanized before woman gets chance to rescue it

Dog euthanized before woman gets chance to rescue it

By Mike Mason. CREATED May 10, 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Fort Myers woman heartbroken to hear county workers euthanized a dog after she spent months trying to rescue it, and you may be surprised to hear what the county has to say about this. Four in your Corner's Mike Mason explains.  

Photos are all Sherri Hart has left to remind her of the dog she tried so hard to save.

Sherri Hart: "I noticed it was getting skinnier and skinnier so I started giving it food because I didn't want it to starve to death."

Hart took these photos of 'Lil Joe' when he escaped from his home on Central Avenue in Fort Myers. Hart lives across the street and claims she witnessed the dog's owner abuse him.

Sherri Hart: "I watched him one time kick it, actually kicking it over and over again and the dog was like ruff, ruff, ruff."

Records show last week Hart contacted Lee County Animal Services to report the abuse, but officers were not able to find any proof. They did issue the owner 2 citations for not having the dog vaccinated. Then last Friday, instead of taking the dog to the vet, the owner gave him to animal services.

Glenn Johnson: "He turned the dog over to us and once it's here for 3 days it became our property and there was no room for the dog."

By the time Hart found out Lil Joe was at animal services it was too late.

Sherri Hart: "They had all my information, I had given them all my information and I told them how much I loved the animal."

Hart feels officers should have contacted her so she could have adopted the dog before they euthanized it but the county says that's not the way it works.

Glenn Johnson: "Anytime somebody is calling up about a complaint on an animal if they have an interest in that animal they need to let us know because we're not a boarding facility."

The shelter is now packed with pets, forcing officers to euthanize cats and dogs they would normally try to save.

Glenn Johnson: "We don't have any room to hold any extra animals so the problem is animals that are healthy are getting euthanized."
We contacted the dog's owner to ask him about the allegations of abuse but he refused to comment. Lee County Animal Services takes in around 10,000 animals each year and they're only able to adopt about 25% of them. If you'd like to adopt one contact animal services at (239) 533-7387.