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A 14-year-old girl is working to bring attention to homeless dogs that are living near illegal dump sites in Miami Dade County.
Jaclyn Menendez is in the ninth grade and she has already developed an eye for the camera and for editing. She created a 13-minute long documentary called “Dumped – A Rescue Story” that focuses on dogs that are roaming an area of Miami Dade called the Redland. It’s a mainly rural and industrial area in the western portion of the county.
“These dogs were showing emotions through their eyes and I really wanted to capture their eyes,” said Jaclyn Menendez. “The camera is able to capture what I saw, and show people what is really out there.”
The Doral Academy Preparatory School student combined her passion for film making with her love for animals. Her family rescued their stray dog named Pepper and she decided to use her free time to help other animals that need homes.
It’s an issue the NBC 6 Investigators have reported over the past year.
“It was just a tragic thing to see all these dogs trying to survive,” said the ninth grader of what she captured on film.
Many of the animals she witnessed are living and taking shelter under illegal dumping grounds. Menendez said she didn’t expect to capture so much film during the project.
“I was just struck at how much footage we had, it was very overwhelming,” she said.
Menendez edited the film herself, with the guidance of her parents. “This is another part of Miami many people don’t see and it’s part of Miami that looks like a third world country,” said her mother, Jeanette Melian. “I have to say I’m very proud of my daughter for taking a good portion of her summer vacation to put together this documentary to raise awareness.”
The documentary follows the process volunteer groups go through to feed the homeless animals, find them foster homes, and eventually forever homes.
The student’s documentary has already been viewed thousands of times on YouTube and she’s hoping it will cause more families to adopt and to have their pets spayed and neutered.
“The dogs don’t have a voice, so making this documentary, it’s like I’m speaking for them, because they can’t talk,” said Menendez.
Even though the documentary’s done, she says she’s going to be spending time volunteering to feed homeless animals in the Redland, as part of her community service hours for high school.