Rambo had a family who loved him and wanted to adopt him. He had a rescue that had pulled him hours before he was going to be killed at Miami Dade Animal Services. But an aggressive, pit-bull hating animal control officer named David Aycook decided that Rambo didn’t deserve to live, so he confiscated Rambo and killed him in spite of notification that the rescue had filed the legal paperwork to get Rambo back.
Rambo’s foster family loved him. His foster mom spoke through her tears when she said, “He was the sweetest, sweetest, sweetest dog.” After four weeks of Rambo sleeping with their three-year-old, snuggling and licking their baby, playing with their cat, and loving their other foster dog, they had decided to adopt Rambo. Before they could fill out the paperwork, tragedy struck.
Rambo escaped from his foster’s backyard through a hole that the other foster dog had dug under the fence. He saw the neighbor’s lawn guy using a weed whacker and tried to bite it. Unfortunately, the lawn guy tried to fend Rambo off using the weed whacker, which may have made Rambo frightened. He bit the guy. The foster mom came out when she heard the guy scream. By then, Rambo was not attacking the guy.
The guy admitted that he had probably provoked Rambo, albeit unintentionally. He refused the foster family’s offer to pay his doctor bills, saying that he had insurance and would let them know about whether it was all covered. He said that he didn’t want Rambo killed because of this, nor did he call the police. The neighbor called the police to report the dog bite.
Two days later, an Animal Control Officer named Jason visited the foster family. He told them about the dangerous dog law and that the dog would have to be quarantined for ten days. A few days later, another animal control officer visited the foster family. His name was David Aycook. He left documents and told the family that they could set a court date, and he explained to the family that keeping a dog who was declared “dangerous” was a hugely expensive proposition. He told them it would cost thousands of dollars in insurance and that they would have to muzzle Rambo outside of the house. He could only be on a three-foot lead.
The family told him that they had only had the dog for around four weeks and that a rescue had pulled him from Miami Dade Animal Services. They were fostering him. He told them that they could not give the dog back to the rescue. He insisted that the rescue was not allowed to take Rambo back, even though legally the rescue was Rambo’s owner. He also told the foster to not talk to the rescue about anything. He told her that the rescue would just rehome the dog without letting the new family know about the bite and that “it will be on you if that happens.”
Aycook did not hide the fact that he hated rescues. But he also acted like he cared, and she trusted him. He told her that he worked in animal control because he loved animals so much. He said he wanted to save them all, but he learned that not all should be saved. Interestingly, during this writer’s conversation with Aycook, he said that the rescue had no business putting a dog who had been used as a bait dog in a home with children.
So when her child tried to take away one of Rambo’s toys and Rambo snapped at her child, the mom was frightened. She took an action that she regrets — she called Aycook and told him. He told her that she had to keep the dog for the quarantine as the city had no place to quarantine the dog. The night before the quarantine was up, she and her husband looked at Rambo and decided that they were going to keep him. They realized that if Rambo had wanted to hurt their children, he had had plenty of opportunity to do so. He loved their children. And they realized that when a dog snaps, it’s a warning. If a dog wants to bite, it bites.
They had researched the “dangerous dog” insurance. and far from being the thousands of dollars that Aycook had told them it would cost, it was $500. They planned how they would walk him, and they had already put up a privacy fence. They told the other ACO, Jason, that they were going to keep Rambo. In their own words, “Jason was pissed.” He asked them if they were sure. The next morning, the foster mom heard someone beating on their front door. She didn’t answer the door, but she called her husband. He called animal control and they told him that if they didn’t give the dog to animal control, they were going to call Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) and report them for putting their children in danger.
Never mind that for the ten days that the dog was in the foster’s home in quarantine, animal control didn’t want to take responsibility for the dog. They never said to the family that they needed to get the dog out of their home because their children were in danger. But as soon as the quarantine period was over, they threatened this family. She called the rescue so that they could get the paperwork and court documents started and animal control came to get Rambo. Her husband walked Rambo to the truck, but balked when asked to sign the release. Instead, he signed a profanity, “F### you.”
Never mind that when this reporter talked to Aycook, he told me that the family signed Rambo over to animal control. He NEVER mentioned that the family told him they had decided to keep the dog and that they loved the dog. He told me that they were scared of the dog. A blatant lie.
The foster mom wants everyone to know, “I feel that my rights were completely violated in this situation, this is my home, my family, and we loved that dog.. what happened to him was supposed to be our choice! I haven’t been able to sleep. When I woke up that morning, he was sleeping with my daughter!”
She went on to state, “The outcome of this situation should have been our decision. They took that away from us when they chose to threaten my family with child protective services, if we didn’t allow them to take and kill Rambo. We were bullied and threatened into letting Pompano Beach Animal Control take Rambo, this needs to be stopped.”
The rescue worried that something would happen to Rambo, and they shared their fears in a post on a Facebook page. They wrote: “The rescue has followed all due process and abided by the instructions from animal control. She has filed an injunction and requested a court hearing to have the dangerous labelling of the animal reconsidered in light of the circumstances and within the timeline prescribed in the notice from animal control.” But their fears were realized, and Rambo was killed before morning by animal control.
Not only did the animal control officers lie to the foster family and threaten them, they filled out the paperwork incorrectly. The foster mother’s name is incorrect, her address is incorrect, and in spite of paperwork showing Rambo was an American bulldog, they listed him as a pit bull. Both the rescue and the foster family believe that Rambo was killed illegally. The rescue had filed all the necessary paperwork to have a court hearing. Animal control knew that. They also knew that the foster family was not Rambo’s owner, and even told the foster family not to return Rambo to his rightful owner.
A Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy has also questioned the legality of the proceedings. He saw that the foster’s name was incorrect, as was their address. Although Rambo was pulled from MDAS and listed as an American Bulldog, the animal control officer listed him as a pit bull. He also pointed out that the rescue/owner of Rambo filed the necessary paperwork for them to possibly regain possession of Rambo. The first sentence of his email is “First and foremost please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of Rambo.”
When someone from the rescue was at animal control the day after Rambo had been killed, she saw Aycook and told him she wanted Rambo’s body back. The next thing she knew, Aycook had thrown Rambo’s body into her open trunk. He also, at some point told her to “get over it.”
The veterinarian who did a necropsy on Rambo said that there was internal bruising and bleeding on Rambo’s body consistent with his having been beaten. Both the foster family and the rescue are devastated that a government entity would be so cruel and heartless. They can’t believe that the City of Pompano Beach allows a bully like David Aycook to represent the city as an animal control officer.
They are not going to let this rest. Rambo’s memory won’t let them.
Feel free to email Dennis Beach, the city manager, at: email@example.com, about this situation. Email city commissioners at: firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
Note: For further proof of David Aycook’s lack of love for animals, read “Pompano Beach: Bailing the Ocean with a Thimble.” Aycook aggressively kills stray cats because he doesn’t believe in TNR (trap, neuter, release) for cats. Aycook certainly is consistent in what he says. In this two-year-old news article from the Sun Sentinal, he was claiming that “he loves cats.” The article goes on to point out: And that’s why, as chief animal control officer for Pompano Beach, he sends so many to the county shelters to be euthanized.
According to Aycook, killing animals is not a big deal. Rambo died? “Get over it,” Here is what he said about the mass killing of cats: “There are worse things that are happening to animals out there than humane euthanasia,” he said. “The animal basically just falls asleep.”