FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A large dog fatally mauled a longtime volunteer at a Florida animal shelter who was trying to help it acclimate to humans after it was found in the Everglades.
Pam Robb, a 71-year-old retired high school teacher, died in Thursday’s attack at the 100+ Abandoned Dogs of Everglades Florida shelter near Fort Lauderdale, officials said. A second woman who tried to intervene suffered minor injuries.
Robb’s wife, Angie Anobile, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that Robb had been working with the female mixed-breed dog the shelter named Gladys since the dog arrived about a month ago. She said the dog pulled Robb to the ground by the arm and attacked her.
She said Robb had been gushing recently about the progress Gladys was making. The dog weighs more than 100 pounds (45 kilograms).
Robb “was one of the few that the dog resonated with,” Anobile told the newspaper. “She was just starting to build trust with the dog. Her greatest joy was having these dogs respond to human contact, and I don’t blame anybody. It was a tragic accident, but I do blame people who abuse animals, who don’t love them like they should be loved.”
The shelter issued a Facebook post saying the staff is grieving and asking for privacy.
In a Jan. 18 Facebook post, the shelter showed Gladys’ rescue. The dog was sitting on a canal bank in an empty field and had been there for at least three days, the video says. The rescuers threw chicken to the dog until they were able to coax her into a car to applause.
The shelter then posted periodic video updates on Gladys, recently saying her progress was “slow and steady.”
“We have no idea what this poor girl (has) seen in her past but it (has) definitely traumatized her and made her rehab difficult, but we are pressing on,” the post said. It said volunteers were “trying to teach her to be confident, and not to be afraid.” In the video, Gladys was sedately lying next to someone, chewing on a bone.
Broward County animal control took Gladys after the attack. The agency did not immediately return an email Friday seeking comment on what will happen with the dog.