“I’ve seen her hit them”: Abuse concerns have neighbors fighting to get dogs removed from a Gainesville home

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 11:56 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Gainesville residents believe Loren Cava is responsible for causing pain and abuse to multiple dogs inside and outside her home. People explain that they often hear dogs crying and howling coming from inside the house.

Kathryn Boston and other neighbors said what they see on the streets surrounding the home on Northwest 24th Avenue is heartbreaking.

“I’ve seen her hit them, the dark one at least six times. Sometimes she carries an umbrella with her, and I’ve watched her strike the dark one. Six times in the last six months,” explained Boston.

According to public records, dozens of neighbors have continually contacted animal control, filled out affidavits, and sent photos and videos. They said they keep getting the same response, there is an open investigation, and Cava is complying with Alachua County Animal Services orders.

However, one neighbor Amanda Bernuth hasn’t seen any changes.

“I feel terrible for these dogs because I’ve never heard her once say something sweet or kind. I can hear everything through our windows and our walls. You can’t hide anything,” explained Bernuth.

Last month an officer with the Gainesville Police Department expressed concern about the dogs well-being.

“I don’t think she hates these dogs,” said the GPD officer. “I think she loves them, but she is going to kill them.”

The officer thinks the dogs look like they should be on a sad TV commercial.

“She is the one who called. She called in and said people are bothering her and taking pictures of her. I was like, Loren, it cause your dogs look like they should be in one of those sad TV commercials,” explained the officer.”

An officer with Alachua County Animal Services responded by saying, “I’m totally frustrated with this myself because it has gone so long.” That same animal services officer be heard on the police officer’s body camera saying that he would take these dogs away if it were up to him.

“If it was me personally, I wouldn’t let her have dogs,” explained the ACAS officer. “I can’t control my superiors.”

According to neighbors, all they want for her dogs to be taken away.

“I think the dogs need to be taken. I don’t think she should be able to ever own another living thing, living animal whatsoever,” said Rachel Borklund.

One of the main concerns raised by Cava’s neighbors is that she drags her dogs. Cava even demonstrated to the GPD officer and ACAS officer how she walks her dogs.

“I try to get them where they are like, and I’m pulling on them now to show you.,” said Cava.

Bernuth has animals of her own and is a nurse who said she cries herself to sleep some nights.

“I’ve woken up and been startled thinking it was like a nightmare and then just being so upset by hearing these dogs,” explained Bernuth.

All of the neighbors wish they could make it stop.

Ed Williams, the Animal Services Director at Alachua County Animal Services, sent TV20 a statement saying in part, " There is an open investigation into these allegations. The owner of the dogs has been issued an order to provide care by Alachua County Animal Services due to the physical conditions of her dogs.”

There are documents filed against Cava dating back to 1997. A spokesperson for the Gainesville Police Department said there are no criminal charges. The neighbors advocating for the dogs to be removed are planning a protest outside of Alachua County Animal Services on Saturday at 2:30 in the afternoon.

We tried to speak with Cava as she was walking her dogs and riding her bike, but she did not stop for comment.

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