Grassroots group rescues dogs abandoned in the Everglades
It began with a trip to the Everglades with friends to feed hungry strays. Hundreds of rescued dogs later, Amy Roman’s efforts could easily be called a crusade. Her organization, with the low-ball estimate name of 100+ Abandoned Dogs of Everglades Florida, has collected dozens of volunteers, nearly 18,000 Facebook Likes and – by her count – more than 500 rescued dogs and 30 cats.
Roman has registered Abandoned Dogs with the state of Florida as a nonprofit corporation, which recently received its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. She and fellow volunteers have made regular forays to the edge of the Everglades in Miami-Dade County to rescue pets that appear to have been abandoned, subjected to harsh weather, predators, parasites and starvation. Some have been corralled by pet-loving locals, Roman says, so the group brings dog food for them.
On their last trip Jan. 5, they collected 23 dogs and brought them back to Imperial Point Animal Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, where veterinarian Robert Buzzetti, his wife, Gina, and staff members treated and kenneled them.
“When I learned about what was happening to these beautiful, defenseless animals I knew I had to take a stand and get involved,” says Buzzetti, owner of Imperial Point Animal Hospital (also in Delray Beach).
With vet and boarding bills each rescue trip can cost up to $15,000, Roman says. Then the process begins of finding homes for the pets. The next rescue trip is scheduled for Feb. 23.
To continue the mission Roman is not above begging for support. In addition to monetary donations, she says she needs homes for rescued dogs, foster homes and people to support and share the Facebook page.
Everglades Dogs has become a full-time job for Roman, a former manicurist. She says people can’t imagine the scope of the problem until they see it for themselves. Once she saw it, she couldn’t turn away.
“What keeps me going,” she says, “is seeing the adopters on Facebook with the dogs lying on the bed with them.”
— Elizabeth Rahe