A man who runs a Miami-Dade dog rescue is hoping for a miracle to save the more than 100 pooches that may soon find themselves homeless when the county shuts down the operation in about a month.
Robbie Coy has been saving stray dogs for a long time, and two years ago he decided to start housing them on a remote Southwest Miami-Dade farm on 227th Avenue.
The Sabbath Memorial Dog Rescue was running smoothly until a complaint in April turned Coy's world upside down.
The authorities who responded to the complaint found the dogs in fine condition, but discovered that the dogs weren't allowed to be there.
Unfortunately for Coy, the nine acres were zoned for agricultural use, and boarding dogs is a violation of the county's zoning code.
Now he has until Oct. 1 to find homes for the dogs.
"It's gonna take a lot of money, it's gonna take a lot of manpower," Coy said yesterday. "Certainly not gonna take 30 days...it's gonna take a year."
Coy leases the property and the corporation that owns it enjoys a tremendous property tax exemption because it's zoned agricultural, and the owner doesn't want to apply for a zoning change.
Coy thinks the county should make an exception in his case.
"Because we are doing something to help our community, we're not doing anything to hurt anybody. If we were out here selling dogs and making money, then they shouldn't, but we're not," Coy said.
Coy has hired lawyers to talk with county officials, and even the mayor is aware of the ordeal. He's also received help from local animal advocates, like Sharon Jacobson.
"It's absolutely heartbreaking," Jacobson said. "I mean, these dogs would be dead without these guys here."
Coy still clings to hope that there will be a positive resolution to the problem.
"We've had people come out and adopt dogs which might not have happened if this didn't happen, so there's good and bad to all this," Coy said. "Maybe something very good will come out of it, but there was really no reason to start all this."