Triumph Over Tragedy: Elderly Shih Tzu Defies Odds After Heartless Dumpster Dump, Now Thriving


Xyla’s Second Chance: A Tail of Resilience

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — Xyla’s tale might have ended in tragedy had it not been for the quick action of two compassionate employees at a local Family Dollar store. This 16-year-old Shih Tzu, discarded without a second thought, has become a beacon of hope and survival.

Photo Courtesy: LCSO

From Trash to Treasured Companion

It was a regular Wednesday when Fox 4’s Briana Brownlee joined Sheriff Carmine Marceno and Louis Lado, one of Xyla’s rescuers, for an uplifting update. The tiny survivor, clad in a festive Christmas ensemble, brought smiles to the LCSO headquarters, her spirit undimmed by her harrowing experience.

This is no ordinary dog story. Xyla, after a narrow escape from a dumpster’s depths, is now prancing through life, a furry testament to resilience. “You can tell she’s reveling in the joy of the season, making the most of her time with us,” shared an elated Marceno.

A Discovery that Changed Everything

The tale took a turn for the miraculous when Lado and his colleague Sophie Stephens discovered Xyla, abandoned in the trash. “It’s incredible she’s still with us,” Lado reflected, recounting the moment he freed Xyla from her confines, “She was more than just discarded — she was left with no chance, and yet, here she is.”

“It’s incredible she’s still with us,” Lado reflected, recounting the moment he freed Xyla from her confines, “She was more than just discarded — she was left with no chance, and yet, here she is.” stated Sophie Stephens.

The story of Xyla’s rescue began with a shocking revelation from Sheriff Marceno, who reported that Anthony Bellman discarded the senior Shih Tzu as if she were nothing more than refuse from the day before.

Courtesy: LCSO

Captured on camera during his walk of shame, Bellman faced the consequences of his actions. Meanwhile, Xyla lay trapped in a dumpster for a harrowing two hours, her body confined in a bag, a rope ominously tightened around her neck. It was within this dire scenario that store manager Louis Lado, alongside his colleague Sophie Stephens, emerged as her saviors.

Recounting the moment of discovery, Lado expressed his astonishment at Xyla’s resilience: “I removed the bag, snipped open the top, and as it collapsed, there she was — a little fighter, overheated and emitting a foul odor, a stark contrast to the barren metal dumpster that had been her prison. It’s nothing short of miraculous that she survived the fall from such a height.”

Photo Courtesy: WFTX reporter Briana Brownlee

The Creation of a Task Force: LCSO’s Commitment to Animal Welfare

Sheriff Marceno highlights that it’s precisely because of cases like Xyla’s that the Animal Cruelty Task Force exists — to be the voice for the voiceless. He didn’t hesitate to praise Lado and Stephens, heralding them as true heroes in this tale of survival.

Lado’s sentiment echoes the community’s heart: “It’s the hope that all of us would step up to save a life in need, to extend a hand to the helpless.” And in Xyla’s eyes, you see the gratitude for that very humanity.

While Xyla’s immediate future involves recovery and care, her story is far from over. The LCSO assures that she’ll soon seek a forever home, ready to start anew after her ordeal.


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