Authorities charged a woman with animal cruelty after one of the dogs she was hired to look after died from severe neglect while another had bruises all over its body, a local outlet reported Wednesday.
Patricia Gutierrez had hired 20-year-old Antonella Rivoir to stay in her apartment at Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, for 30 days to take care of her cat and five dogs while she was out of the country on vacation with her husband, WPLG Local 10 noted.
LOCAL 10 EXCLUSIVE: An Illinois woman is accused of neglecting two dogs, one of whom starved to death after she was hired to watch over them in Sunny Isles Beach. https://t.co/vwCWRLYb3N
— WPLG Local 10 News (@WPLGLocal10) September 21, 2023
A few days before returning home, Gutierrez asked her housekeeper to clean the apartment, according to the outlet. The housekeeper reportedly found the pets looking “sad” and emaciated, with the apartment covered in urine and feces. Two dogs, an 8-year-old Pomeranian named Daisy and a 13-year-old Pomeranian named Lucy, were sent to an animal hospital in critical condition.
Daisy could not be saved. An autopsy later confirmed that Daisy’s death was a result of severe neglect and dehydration. While Lucy managed to recover, it bore visible bruises all over its body, according to WPLG. (RELATED: Starved Dog Makes Miracle Recovery After Severe Neglect)
Gutierrez reportedly left detailed instructions on how to take care of her pets and remained in contact with Rivoir throughout her trip. Rivoir allegedly reassured Gutierrez that all was well, but Gutierrez thought it was “weird” that she sometimes could not access her home camera through her phone.
Camera footage reportedly captured Daisy following Rivoir into a bedroom with no camera, squealing in pain, and then limping out of the bedroom. Gutierrez believes that Rivoir intentionally unplugged the cameras sometimes to avoid being recorded.
None of the food Gutierrez had left for the pets had been used, and they allegedly did not receive their required medication during her absence. Police also confirmed that Rivoir’s boyfriend had been staying in the apartment despite Gutierrez’s explicit instruction that he was not allowed to live there.
“They were not given food or water for 10 days,” adding that “When Daisy laid unconscious, [Rivoir and her boyfriend] were out snorkeling,” Gutierrez told WPLG.
Officials said Rivoir caused the “cruel death” of Daisy and the “unnecessary pain and suffering” of Lucy and charged Rivoir with two counts of animal cruelty with intent to injure or kill.
Gutierrez has created a GoFundMe account to honor Daisy’s memory and benefit the Saving Sage Animal Rescue Foundation.