The Conservancy of Southwest Florida congratulates City of Naples Detective Cara Melito, who recently was awarded the Humane Society of the United States 2016 Florida Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.
Last year, a fisherman was seen on surveillance angrily kicking a cormorant bird on Naples Pier after it took a fish off his fishing line. Detective Melito prosecuted this fisherman for aggravated animal cruelty. Following the incident, the cormorant was taken to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida to be treated for multiple injuries and trauma. Fortunately, the cormorant was rehabilitated and released safely back into the wild. Detective Melito has worked with the Conservancy before, bringing in other animals in need of care.
“Detective Cara Melito’s exemplary work is greatly appreciated,” said Joanna FitzGerald, Director of the Conservancy’s von Arx Wildlife Hospital. “Support from law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels is greatly needed in our efforts to protect wildlife and prevent injuries.”
Attending the ceremony was the mayor of Naples, Bill Barnett, City Council Member Reg Buxton, and the Human Society of the United States (HSUS)’s state director for Florida, Kate MacFall who presented the award. In addition, Detective Melito’s friends and coworkers, as well as the director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital, Joanna Fitzgerald, were in attendance to support Detective Melito.
We congratulate Detective Melito on her much deserved award. We are happy to have the support of dedicated officers such as her in protecting and supporting our local wildlife.
For information on how you can protect wildlife, visit: www.conservancy.org/wildlife