Deltona resident spreads awareness of alleged dog abuse on Facebook

Dog rescued from Deltona back yard, another remains in owner's care

By Lisa Bell - Anchor


A seemingly starving dog was rescued from a Central Florida back yard after a neighbor took action on Facebook, but another dog remains in the owner's care.

Brenda Gombola said she had been calling Deltona Animal Control for months, but her neighbor's dogs, Trigger and Bella, continued to deteriorate.

Gombola was afraid the dogs would die if someone didn't rescue them immediately.

"I had to do something. I had to do something now," said Gombola.

Gombola said she first noticed the dogs starting to deteriorate last summer.

She and her husband tried to feed them on her own, but the dogs' owner told them to stop.

"I would open the gate and then we would put the water in there and the food in there," said Gombola.

[PHOTOS: Dogs abused at Deltona home | UPDATE: No charges filed ]

In October, Gombola began sending emails to animal control with pictures of the dogs attached.

The dogs' owner was ordered to get Trigger and Bella to the vet, but Gombola says they continued to starve.

Gombola said Monday was the final straw. She snapped a picture of Trigger, showing his ribs, sunken face and tailbone.

Gombola said she once again called animal control, but this time they hung up on her.

Feeling helpless, Gombola turned to Facebook and started the "Help Save Trigger and Bella" page. She posted all of the shocking photos of the dogs, video of a healthy Trigger four years ago and phone numbers to Deltona's mayor and other city officials.

Within hours, the page had received nearly 2,000 likes from people around the world and Deltona Animal Control showed up at the home.

The dogs' owner relinquished Trigger and he was taken to Halifax Humane Society for treatment.

"This is a pretty severe case, but unfortunately we do see animals come in in this condition, more than we'd like to," said Tyler Stover of Halifax Humane Society.

But Gombola is now concerned about Bella, who is still with her owner.

Deltona Animal Control said Bella was slightly underweight and ordered the owner to get her veterinary care. If the owner doesn't show proof of the visit, Animal Control will remove the dog from the home.

When Local 6 knocked on the owner's front door Tuesday night no one answered, but a dog could be heard barking in the garage.

A Deltona city spokesman said right now the owner is not facing charges.

"At this point in time, we don't have any proof that this was an intentional, malicious act, and from what the vet has told us, that the dog appears to be suffering from a severe infestation of hook worms," said Lee Lopez, Deltona City spokesperson.

Gombola is outraged and thinks animal cruelty laws need to be stronger.

A spokesman with the Humane Society said that Trigger weighs just 30 pounds. He has undergone a series of tests. The Humane Society is hopeful he'll recover and eventually be placed up for adoption.

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