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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Testimonial From Kelly Raia - Davie


I am writing this letter to educate you about something happening in your very own community that needs to end immediately. Fairwarning the content herein may stir your emotions and may even make you a little ill, it certainly turned my stomach. Now operating in Fort Lauderdale, a dog rescue “group”, or rather, its owner Diana Peters, is keeping dogs in deplorable conditons. There are neumerous code violations, the dogs are infested with ticks and worms, she adopts them out without proper vetting, and there are just a few of the claims we have received from former volunteers or good people like us who only wanted to help. I decided it was time to write this when I found out that dogs are dying on her watch, and then she buries them in the back yard.
I became interested in this group when looking to adopt a dog last year- I searched for local rescue groups and found ‘Death Row Dog Rescue” on facebook with a rather large following. I wanted a pit bull or some type of pit mix, and thought given the title, this group may have a few. I went out to one of their adoption events, and just started to get familiar with what they were doing. I was also looking for a cause to lend my time to as I missed volunteering, I was thinking this would be a great way to get involved. 
Not long after, I noticed a post on craigslist about this organization and how they were collecting money for dogs not in their posession. I did not really understand and blew it off as internet chatter. In March, Diana Peters posted that she needed fosters, urgently, because her property was being sprayed routinely for pesticides and needed the dogs off site. We decided this was a commitment we could make, as she was asking volunteers to take dogs for a week only. We went to pick up a brindle mix but when we got there she would not come near us or Diana. I’ve been around animals a very long time and it was clear that the pup had not been socialized with other dogs or people properly. We noticed a beautiful bull terrier in a yard all by herself. That was a signal to me that the dog may have some issues, but I wanted to inqure about her. Diana seemed to know nothing about the dog. 
She assured me the dog was fully vetted as all her animals were but that she needed a bath. We took Lady for a walk around the block and we were on our way home. As I gave her a bath I noticed a multitude of ticks, and proceeded to groom her appropriately. I then noticed that her skin was in terrible condition. It wasn’t just dirt- we aren’t sure what it was but it looked like she had rashes all over her hind legs and near her shoulder area. We wouldn’t even let her on our furniture after that. 
The next morning, I was totally disgusted at what happened. We had given lady a sheet and a comfortable spot next to our bed on which to sleep. Upon rising to take her out for a morning walk, I noticed a stinging sensation on my toe. I looked down and FREAKED out because there were 200 to 300 worm larvae all over the sheet and my floor. I took the dog out to the back yard and cleaned up my house. Totally grossed out and not sure what to do, I call Diana who assured me someone would call me and bring me some medicine for the dog. That did not happen for another 36 hours. This is when Terry came into the picture- We were supposed to meet up with him to get some medicine, and he was the most impossible person to contact. I proceeded to call around other rescue groups and vets to try to see if someone would see Lady for a reduced fee as I was volunteering, etc. My husband meet up with Terry and got the medicine, like I said 36 hours later. 
In the meantime, we were enjoying our time with Lady. I was working on teaching her basic obedience commands and getting her to walk on a leash without pulling. I would walk her more often then other dogs because I felt she needed more socialization skills. 
On day 5 of our week long visit, Lady bit one of our neighbors dogs in the face. My husband was already fed up, I had been a little more patient, but I knew that this was it- it was time for Lady to go back to the rescue. We called Diana to explain that due to the overwhelming health issues and the increasing amount of behavioral issues we would have to bring her back two days early. We live in a very small neighborhood and our neighbors were not happy at all with what happened. 
Diana flipped out on us saying “I can’t have the dog back here! You agreed to keep her!” on and on. We explained that we signed up to help for a week but feel that this was not the best situtation for us any longer. No matter how much we wanted to help, the reality was we had bitten off more than we could chew. After several back and forth phone calls between Diana, Terry, my fiance and myself we finally said if you can not provide us with the support we need, and you will not take Lady back, we will be forced to bring her to the humane society. Diana started screaming at us and told us if we do she will call the cops and have us arrested and thown in jail. 
My fiance got on the phone and explained that we were not her family members, we were not long time volunteers, we were not dog handlers, we were simply people who followed her on facebook and knew that we could make a small commitment to help. When we recieved a dog sicker than what we knew what to do with, recieved absolutely NO support from the rescue to help this poor dog, and were then treated with such unprofessionalisim, I knew that this was not a legitimate business operation. 
Thankfully we recieved a phone call about 10 minutes before both of us had to be at work and we were to drop Lady off at ‘The Dog House’. I took her there, spoke to the owners and felt very comfortable with the help they were going to provide. I tearfully left Lady there- wishing that our financials were in a better place and that we could’ve kept her and got her the help she needed. She needed dog rehabilitation and veterarnary care and we unfortunately were not in a position to provide it at that time. 
I called to check up on her a week or so later and the owners said she was doing great! I continued to follow up and they said they would get in touch with bull terrier rescue and get her a home. I found out a few months ago she was there for over a year! 

When I was frustrated with Death Row Dog Rescue, I tried to reach out for support. I called a few other rescues when I had Lady and their reactions when I told them where she came from surprised me. I started doing research and found one post on Rip Off Report about money that was stolen by Ms. Peters. I tried to contact them to no avail. I started the facebook group in hopes that if anything else happened, someone would be able to find me and we could start to build a case. I started the group in April of 2011, in September 2011 I was contacted by Sheri Manfredi and started to hear things about Death Row Dog Rescue that I WISH were untrue. 
I knew pandora’s box had been opened. Here we are today with so many testimonails from others who have had a similiar experience. We have realized this is a National problem, not just isolated to this one organization and we have set out to Stop Diana Peters and Death Row Dog Rescue. We also have members working on an informational website to help people choose reputable organizations to rescue from, donate to, or volunteer their time.

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