MCSO: Deborah Perez Arrested in Dumped Dogs Case
Martin County - Monday October 16, 2023: The Martin County Sheriff's Office has charged 62-year old Deborah Perez with nine counts of animal abandonment and cruelty. Her bond was set at $45,000.
Last month, nine, mostly female, pure bred Lahsa Apsos dogs were found abandoned in sweltering heat, with no food or water, near the intersection of Ault Avenue and Cove Road in Stuart. The animals took shelter in a nearby wooded area and stayed close together. A number of people stopped to help, one of whom contacted the Martin County Sheriff's Animal Service Office.
The dogs were rescued by MCSO Animal Services Supervisor Karen Kneubehl, Officer Shannon McGee and Officer Tabitha Queen, along with concerned citizens. The animals ranged in age from four months to four years. Their fur was matted, they had urine burns, and they were covered in filth.
According to a post on the Martin County Sheriff's Facebook page, MCSO Criminal Investigation Detective Christine Polizzi received multiple tips from neighbors who noticed that the number of dogs Perez had suddenly went from 12 down to 3. Perez initially claimed she knew nothing about the animals. However, after several conversations with Detective Polizzi, she eventually made a full confession. She told Detective Polizzi that she couldn’t handle them anymore, and she admitted to driving about five miles from her Stuart mobile home and dumping the dogs in a parking lot near the wooded area where they were eventually found.
The Humane Society of the Treasure Coast has taken custody of the dogs and they are in the process of finding suitable new homes for the animals.