The Miami-Dade pound killed roughly 40% of the pets in its care in 2012 according to a local news report. The figure represents approximately 12,000 dead dogs and cats of the more than 31,000 taken in by the pound last year. Miami-Dade kills animals every day of the week, 365 days a year. Unborn puppies are commonly killed while still in the belly of the mama dog. Owner surrenders are killed upon intake. Pets are killed and bagged within view of live animals. Some rescue groups have been banned. Pound employee Kathleen Labrada blames overcrowding:
“Generally, the shelter population far exceeds the number of cages that we have,” said Kathleen Labrada.
Gee if only there was some proven way to effectively reduce intake while increasing live outcomes for animal shelters.
And she blames the public:
“With more than 30,000 animals coming into this shelter every year, we have more animals right now than we have homes. Until we get our community behind us and supporting the shelter and only adopting, I don’t see things getting better.”
Glad to see Miami-Dade is still waving that old-school “The Killings Will Continue Until Morale Improves” banner. Because that’s worked out great so far.
Not surprisingly, shelter pet advocates have a different take on the killings at Miami-Dade:
“We don’t have a shelter, we have a killing facility,” said Ailyn Deno of Coastal Boxer Rescue.
“We literally have to fight with the shelter,” she said. “We have to beg them, ‘Please let me take this dog today because it needs help.'”
Deno says she has documented at least five animals her rescue promised to take that were killed before they were supposed to be, and before her group could get them out of the shelter.
This seems like a good time to underscore the point that if Miami-Dade would release pets to rescue groups willing to save them, it would reduce overcrowding in the shelter. If anyone cares about a little thing like that. I mean, I realize killing also frees up cage space but I just wanted to mention the possibility of live release, in case anyone at the pound might be interested.
When the reporter asked about the recent firing of a veterinarian who was reportedly sacked after oops-killing a cat with a rescue hold, Ms. Labrada laughed and denied there was any connection. She did however concede that the pound had thrown rescuers one teeny tiny bone this year:
Animals used to be put down starting at 7 a.m. — too early for some last-minute hold requests to be processed. As of late January, cats and dogs are now put down starting at 11 a.m.
“That was in direct response to the complaints from rescue that the holds weren’t being processed,” Labrada said.
Miami-Dade must be so proud. We gave our kill techs the morning off! Now don’t ask for anything else or you’ll really be sorry.
The Miami-Dade County Commission will hold a final vote on Tuesday, June 4 on a shelter funding referendum which was passed overwhelmingly by citizens last November. The initiative will provide nearly $20 million in annual taxpayer funding for programs aimed at reducing shelter intake, such as low and no cost neuter, as well as programs aimed at increasing live release such as an expanded foster program. The meeting is open to the public.
(Thanks Clarice for the links.)