Miami-Dade Pound Manager: “Obviously we’re doing something right”

The troubled Miami-Dade pound in FL is funded by taxpayers, in part to provide a safety net for stray pets in the community.  But when a Good Samaritan tried to help a dog he found loose on a highway by bringing him to the pound recently, he was turned away.  A Miami-Dade pound employee was caught on video telling the man the pound had no room and that he’d have to try again another day to get shelter for the dog.

Local news reporter Jacey Birch showed the video to manager Kathleen Labrada who described what happened as a “miscommunication”:

“For strays the doors are always open. We have no option in taking in strays,” said Labrada.

We have no option but to do the jobs taxpayers pay us to do. Except when we don’t do our jobs, in which case miscommunication.

But in this SuperFantasticWishTime exchange, the reporter doesn’t fail to do her job:

“If you euthanize for space, how could the shelter ever be at over-capacity?” asked Birch.

“The goal is to never euthanize for space,” said Labrada.

“But you do euthanize for space?” asked Birch.

“The shelter will euthanize for space as needed, but we take many actions to prevent that from ever happening,” said Labrada.

Like not accepting animals?

“In February, we saved 88 percent of the dogs and 82 percent of the cats, so obviously we’re doing something right,” said Labrada.

“Isn’t it because you’re not accepting the animals anymore?” asked Birch.

“No, not at all. We’re open for intake seven days a week,” said Labrada.

Jacey Birch: 1
Kathleen Labrada: 0
Stray pets in Miami-Dade County: We have no option but to miscommunicate you.  Obviously.  Because otherwise we’d have to do our jobs.  Which sounds like work.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

10 thoughts on “Miami-Dade Pound Manager: “Obviously we’re doing something right”

  1. Are municipally funded shelters legally permitted to refuse to accept animals that were found in the shelter’s area of jurisdiction?

  2. I’m all for managed open admission. I’m also all for not killing for space.

    But turning strays in need away at the door (when that may mean that they are simply released back onto the streets) with just a “hey, sucks to be you” to the good Samaritan is inexcusable.

    Not everyone knows what to do if they find a dog. Not everyone can hold on to that dog.

    I wonder if they have a hand out sheet for how to list a dog as found?

    I wonder if they have foster homes where they can move a dog to make space for another?

    I wonder if they were really full or if the guy simply didn’t want to do his job (or care for another dog)?

  3. I’ve attempted to turn in a stray at Austin Animal Center when they were full. They said they would take the dog, if needed, but because they were over-capacity, it meant that they would need to create space. They then asked if there was anyway I could hold onto to the dog for a few days while they make room via a call to the public. They scanned the dog and found a microchip and called the owner (microchip phone was bad and 2nd phone was owners mother whose English was a 2nd language) and took pictures of the dog and posted it on their website as a found dog. I appreciated them letting me know the gravity of the situation while being understanding, if I needed to drop off the dog. I remember being impressed at how it was handled.

    Yes, I think Miami-Dade could have handled it better. There are some irresponsible people that are happy to dump animals in the Everglades (or on the side of the highway as noted).

    I’ve seen it more times than I’d like to admit where a good Samaritan helps and animal and then is “stuck” with said animal and asked to rehome/ donate to entice for rescue/ bullied for turning an animal in to a shelter. I often worry that in the future, the same good Samaritan will pass an animal in need next time around.

    I’m glad that they have a much higher live release rate. There are so many places in Florida where killing is defacto status quo. Just hope that they don’t put more animals in harms way but choosing to not accept strays.

    1. Hmmm…well that’s interesting too…is it really legal to have the person that found the dog keep it for a few days? While the dog might be better off with the person that found the dog rather than with a shelter (depending on the shelter) and might be more likely to be RTO depending on what steps the finder takes, I’m not sure that the shelter should knowingly be having a stray or lost dog stay with the person who found the dog.

      My understanding, though, is that kill rates aside, shelters are not legally allowed to refuse to accept animals found within their jurisdictions, and are technically now allowed to accept animals that were knowingly found outside of their jurisdiction.

      And regarding your story about the Austin Animal Center, how long ago was that? As I understand it, overflow dogs from Austin Animal Center can go to Austin Pets Alive (though that’s only been happening for a few years).

      1. Joel, the same thing happened to me last fall at Austin Animal Center. They didn’t actually refuse to take the dog, but they said that they were above capacity and it would be better if I could keep her while we looked for her owner. I emailed them a photo of the dog, and they put her on their website in their searchable database as a found dog. I also put her on Craigslist, and posted flyers in the area where I had found her. As long as the dog or a photo of the dog is made available to the public so the owner can find them if they’re looking, what’s the problem with letting the finder hang on to the dog, as long as the finder agrees to it? As for Austin Pets Alive, overflow dogs can only go there if APA isn’t also over capacity at their shelter, or if foster homes can be found. There’s no magic here.

      2. Sarah, it might not be that big of a deal. Technically though, I would still say that the shelter is refusing an animal. And if someone starts keeping the loose dog, eventually a legal situation will develop over who the dog belongs to, as well as what counts as sufficient networking. Not every shelter might post the photo and not every finder might be as proactive as you.

        Case in point:

        How often is APA over capacity, and how many dogs are they refusing?

      3. I don’t count it as refusal, because they did give me the option to take the dog in, and I actually did bring her to the shelter after she recovered from the URI I had had her treated for, and then went into heat. I kept her for about a week, and then took her to the shelter. I kept calling to check on her, and when they told me she was very timid in the shelter and that she was HW+ I knew she’d have a hard time getting adopted and could possibly be headed for the “at risk” list, so I adopted her (for free, and all freshly spayed and vaxed.)

        I agree that there would definitely be a problem if the shelter didn’t post a photo, but AAC does. As far as legal ownership of the dog, I believe the 3-day stray hold rule applies even when the shelter doesn’t actually have the dog – it would count from the time they get the dog into their system. The case you’re referring to occurred in a jurisdiction with no municipal shelter to take or report the found animal to, which is a situation that will inevitably lead to that type of problem.

        Both AAC and APA are always either at or over capacity. I don’t know how many animals APA is declining, but you could possibly get that information from AAC. If you look at their statistical reports ( you can see how many animals they kill each month, and it’s likely that most of those are animals APA and AAC’s other rescue partners were unable to take.

      4. I don’t count it as refusal either. I could have easily left the dog there if I didn’t have the means to hold onto it. The only reason I took it there was because the vet clinic missed the microchip to begin with.

        I have found approx 10-20 animals that have been able to avoid the shelter entirely and go straight back to the owners thanks to a microchip or tags (most of the animals I have found had microchips). I do wish more people knew that they can take found animals to their local vet clinics to scan for microchips free of charge and do so with a found animal.

        I find it morally wrong to accept an animal, and to not disclose a reasonable alternative to killing if there is another option and allow the finder to work things out if they are able.

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