Monday, June 13, 2011

Winograd's CAPA - will it legimatize hoarding and no kill sanctaury abuse?

About those "No Kill Nation" squirrels and nuts......
In Nathan Winograd's world it's not the irresponsible pet owners who are responsible for shelter killing nor is it the irresponsible people who allow pets to be bred indiscriminately nor is it the many well meaning "rescuers" and transporters who "rescue" these animals sitting on death row in our many high kill shelters - the fault for killing lies entirely with shelter directors who lack compassion and enjoy killing innocent pets.

Winograd and his cultist followers determined to build a "No Kill Nation" claim that there is no "pet overpopulation" problem in states like Florida but instead plenty of "good homes" for all of these creatures too go to.  The vision for The No Kill Nation website was to work towards seeing a day when no savable animal is senselessly killed in an animal shelter.  But does that goal include making sure we see a day were animal suffering is ended as well?  Each and every person who cares about companion animals has a role to play in helping our nation reach this goal - of not only ending the killing but more importantly of ending the suffering as well.

"The No Kill movement’s break with traditional sheltering is less about saving “pet” dogs and cats and more about focusing on the individual animal. Regardless of whether a shelter takes in 30, 300, 3,000 or 30,000 dogs and cats each year, No Kill is premised on—in fact demands—fundamental fairness to individual animals." - Nathan Winograd

The question that remains unanswered by Winograd's approach at "mandating" the saving of animals doesn't take into account that each animal "saved" needs this fundamental fairness that is missing when you fail to properly define and qualify what "responsible rescue is.  Obviously, none of the victims of sanctuary abuse have been moved into a safe environment where their individual needs are nurtured but instead they are simply dumped into overcrowded environments where situations arise that has money donated for their care absconded in same foul smelling wind that takes any hope of a future as well.

But the truth is far from the many myths, half truths and misconceptions portrayed by the 'no kill" movement as it attempts too legitimatize their movement.  It is not a myth that many of these creatures are not "saved" but end up becoming victims living tortured lives in squalor conditions with diseases and illnesses that last for months even years before death takes it's toll. 

While Winograd was building his career at a rural shelter in Tompkins County NY the only people who denied the existence of pet overpopulation were the mass breeding elements either running puppy mills or an underground commercial enterprise of backyard breeders who didn't have a clue what responsible breeding was or simply didn't care. 

Many advocates have started to question some of the concepts portrayed by Winograd while pushing his version of the "no kill" movement.  Perhaps the most glaring is Winograd's claim that there is NOT a pet overpopulation crisis in this country.  No only is there an easily recognizable pet overpopulation crisis in every public shelter in the state of Florida but we also can play witness to the thousands and thousands of homeless animals who are forced to survive on our streets and who are forced to endure abusive conditions in overcrowded sanctuaries as well.  Living on the street is not a home nor is living in a sanctuary absent of human care, companionship and the basic survival needs that define an animals quality of life.

Ironically, it is not the overwhelmed rescue community that benefits from "laying to rest" this so-called myth of pet overpopulation but it is the same irresponsible breeders who now have even more reason to justify there ignorant existence.  Not surprisingly, it is these same irresponsible breeders who are Winograd's most vocal supporters in his trash and burn onslaught against large animal protection groups not limited to the HSUS, the ASPCA, Best Friends and even Maddie's Fund. 

One thing is certain, anyone who dares speak out against Winograd does so with the full expectation of becoming a target of trash and burn as well.  This writer is no exception.  Unfortunately for Winograd - he's taken his best shot - I'm not Pat Dunaway - I have no intention of going off message to simply appease his desire to become famous..Over the years my reputation of being overly candid and thorough in my investigations speak for themselves. 

Unlike Winograd who only draws his experience from a few short years as a shelter director I draw my experience from a hands on approach pulling, responsibly rescuing, rehabilitating and ultimately either finding homes or providing hospice care for over three hundred animals who have been given refuge in my home.
Many of the success stories evolved into writing projects to help define the role of responsible pet ownership and build a consensus of what responsible rescue defines as well.

One frequent target for Winograd's rants is the Humane Society of the United States.  In Winograd's world companion animals would be much better off if we advocates work together to expose HSUS and in effect put them out of business.  One would assume that since Winograd also denies the existence of hoarding cases or sanctuaries gone wrong that this important milestone would be the stepping stone to building a "No Kill Nation". 

However, there is a serious myth involved in Winograd's preaching - those involved in advocating for homeless dogs and cats in Florida have experienced the horrible truth that not all sanctuaries have the animals best interest at heart. 
In April 2011 came the horrible news of abuse of animals, many of which were dogs with disabilities, the the Sanctuary Animal Rescue run by Palena Dorsey.  According to her website:
The Sanctuary Animal Refuge is a Non Profit Registered 501(c)3 Organization dedicated not only to the rescue of animals but also to the education of the community.

Our Sanctuary was founded by Palena Dorsey in March 2004.
Her mission was to help those animals that were considered fearful and aggressive or who were old and ill and about to be put to sleep because of the overwhelming influx of animals at local shelters.

Her dedication to work with these animals to help them overcome their fears and to nurture them back to health has been a lifelong dream come true. To watch her work with and love each Dog, Cat, Pig, Horse and other animals brings such joy and tears to ones eyes.

To keep this love going she needs the support of all animal lovers.

By making a small monthly donation she can make this dream a reality for so many animals to live out their lives in peace.

For years kind hearted animal lovers not only opened up their hearts for Palena's efforts but their wallets as well.  Sadly, many would feel violated when the news about how the animals as officials moved in too close down the sanctuary this spring.  Disabled dogs who came with sponsors were either found in horrible squalor that no animal lover would ever want a pet to endure.  Some were missing and assumed dead. 

One can only imagine the heartbreaking suffering these poor souls experienced when their rescue went so horribly wrong.  As much as this writer despises the idea of killing an animal while there is still hope - this type of rescue is not hope - it is in the plainest of terms a betrayal that leads an animal to endure unconscionable suffering at the hands of their savior. 

When news of the sanctuary raid first hit Dagmara Monsalve, president of Rescue Adoption Inc. in Fort Pierce, shared her observations with reporters,
"I've never wished myself to witness anything like what I saw over there. Very bad. The filth, the amount of cockroaches, rats. We were killing huge spiders out of the bowls of water the dogs had."
Other volunteers wrote poignant eyewitness accounts of the horrible suffering of the animals, many of whom had lived at the sanctuary for years, in such vivid details that even the strongest person couldn't help but experience tears of betrayal.  Those of us committed to responsible rescue understand that this torture and lack of basic humane treatment is totally opposite of everything we stand for.

Many animal lovers who helped sponsor dogs who were supposed to live out their lives in the grandest of settings pleaded for information on their whereabouts.  Sadly, many came to grips that these creatures were not only not saved but in many cases forced to live out there days in an even more abusive situation then where they were rescued from.

How did Palena Dorsey, who was once considered for Animal Planet's "Rescuer of the Year" award fall so incredibly far that she would allow this type of abusive care for the animals she loved?  How did the rescue community not see this drastic change in conditions at the sanctuary as well?  Somehow the many remarks praising the work at the sanctuary do not explain the conditions found this past spring when authorities stepped in and closed it down.

Ironically, Winograd's "No Kill Nation" isn't involved in cleaning up the mess left behind from years of sanctuary abuse but instead it was the HSUS who stepped in to try and help with this horrible situation.  Winograd's and his cultists followers barely discussed the implications of abuse in ":rescue" sanctuaries with the exception of a few snide comments insinuating that HSUS was only interested in killing the survivors.

Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary

A fancy picture on a website seeking donations doesn't define a caring sanctuary
Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary is a private, no kill animal shelter owned and operated by Steve and Pennie Lefkowitz. Located on 8 acres of rural, agricultural land in Alachua County, FL on the outskirts of the city of High Springs, Steve and Pennie share their home with 200 cats, a dog, several horses, and some roosters.

Concerned about the high euthanasia rate at Animal Services, Steve and Pennie decided to incorporate and became Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary, Inc. In 2003 and were granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status in 2005.  Since its inception, no cat that has needed help has been turned away.

On Tuesday, June 7, 2011, the Humane Society went into Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary in Alachua County, Florida to save the precious cats there.

Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary is located at 21023 NW 168th and owned by Steve and Pennie Lefkowitz of Hillside, Florida. Alachua County Animal Services had been investigating reports of animal neglect there.

To watch a video of the seizure:

There needs to be some serious changes in how large sanctuaries in Florida are allowed to operate virtually with no government oversight in the quality of care being provided the animals held in rescue.  Shelters by definition should be required to make sure animals released from the shelter through adoption or through "transfer to rescue" are not victimized in that process.  There is a moral obligation that we as a community find safe refuge for this onslaught of pets being dumped in our shelters are protected from future abusers.

In typical knee jerk reaction the No Kill Advocacy Center in partnership with a new south Florida advocacy group "No Kill Nation" is pushing for a state wide Companion Animal Protection Act or "CAPA" that would require shelters to turn over dogs and cats to any rescue group that operated as a 503 C non profit.  This law would do nothing to protect animals from hoarders and abusers who quite frankly are not only ignoring their responsibility to the animals they claim to be rescuing but are also using donations for purposes that have nothing to do with the sanctuary's operations. 

What does CAPA mandate?  If passed CAPA  makes it illegal for a shelter to kill an animal if a rescue group or No Kill shelter is willing to save that animal.  In other words, rescue "groups (even though Florida is one of many states that doesn't require persons representing themselves as rescue to be licensed or inspected) and "no kill" sanctuaries would only need to be "willing" to take an animal in as opposed to being capable of responsibly caring for that animal with an end goal of seeking a "forever" home for the pet being saved. 

While I understand that there are many responsible sanctuaries like Best Friends who are capable of providing true sanctuary of animals that are possibly un adoptable I defy any reasonable rescuer to explain how over 90% of the animals who survived the squalor and suffering at these two sanctuaries were NOT adoptable?  This type of operation is NOT rescue - it is hoarding in the plainest terms.

Over the past few months I have made the decision to highlight the weaknesses in this Facebook "trend" some are calling a "No Kill Movement".   In response to many of my articles the No Kill Movement has quite typically decided to lash out at my articles even by attempting to call me an "apologists" for the killing and to suggest my advocacy work is part of the problem. 

As an long time advocate who has worked and helped define issues that include shelter reform, puppy mill reform, a discussion on the role of temperament testing in shelters and one who has helped define the differences in what is responsible rescue and what is not it is not only my right to speak openly and candidly on these issues but more importantly it is my duty.  I am not  not have ever been indebted towards any one particular group, mission or movement.  

My advocacy voice will always represent what is in the best interest of the animals I advocate for.  The purpose of my writing should never be misconstrued as an attempt to convince anyone to agree with me but more importantly hopefully some of the information, experiences and observations I share will help fellow advocates use reason to draw their own analogies on these critical issues.

In the end, my decision to continue to speak out comes not from a perspective of not supporting a dream of a "no kill nation" but in making the determination that there is a lack of leadership in these groups who want to claim a mandate on a movement that they have little or no knowledge on the direction they are taking.  It is NOT the mission I abhor - it is the simple minded leadership of that movement that must either be replaced or ignored as part of the problem and not part of the solution..

In the end those of us advocating for a compassionate cruelty free no kill nation still have it in our hands and eyes in helping to make this dream come true.  That reality won't come from buying more books or attending more cheer leading seminars given by people who have lost touch with the concerns of the true rescue community but instead will come from inside your own hearts. 

It is YOUR choice whether you want to join the band of thugs who have simply reverted to a lazy mentality of blaming shelter directors for all the killing when in fact there's is enough blame that should be shared equally by those who breed irresponsibly - those who rescue irresponsibly - those who own pets irresponsibly and the community politicians who support irresponsible high kill shelters that are not representative of their community's values for our companion friends.

It is up too YOU to question what you don't agree with and too insist on answers and not pigeon hole comments that you bare part of the problem because you refuse to follow the preaching of the cult.  You not only have the right to ask these questions but more importantly you have a duty.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Chimes of Freedom

Far between sundown's finish an' midnight's broken toll
We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing
As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds
Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing
Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight
Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight
An' for each an' ev'ry underdog soldier in the night
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

In the city's melted furnace, unexpectedly we watched
With faces hidden as the walls were tightening
As the echo of the wedding bells before the blowin' rain
Dissolved into the bells of the lightning
Tolling for the rebel, tolling for the rake
Tolling for the luckless, the abandoned an' forsaked
Tolling for the outcast, burnin' constantly at stake
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail
The sky cracked it's poems in naked wonder
That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze
Leaving only bells of lightning and it's thunder
Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind
Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind
An' the poet an the painter far behind his rightful time
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

In the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales
For the disrobed faceless forms of no position
Tolling for the tongues with no place to bring their thoughts
All down in taken-for granted situations
Tolling for the deaf an' blind, tolling for the mute
For the mistreated, mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute
For the misdemeanor outlaw, chased an' cheated by pursuit
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Even though a clouds's white curtain in a far-off corner flashed
An' the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting
Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones
Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting
Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail
For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale
An' for each unharmfull, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Starry-eyed an' laughing as I recall when we were caught
Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended
As we listened one last time an' we watched with one last look
Spellbound an' swallowed 'til the tolling ended
Tolling for the aching whose wounds cannot be nursed
For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an' worse
An' for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.  - Bob Dylan 1964

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

You set the scene

You go through changes, it may seem strange Is this what your put here for?
You think you are happy, and you are happy
That's what your happy for
There's a man who can't decide if he should
Fight for what his father thinks is right

There are people wearing frowns who'll screw you up
But they would rather screw you down
At my request I ask for nothing
You get nothing in return
If your nice you'll bring me water
If you don't I will burn

This is the time and life we are living
You'll face each day with a smile
For the time that I've been given such a short while
And the things I do consist of more then style
There are places I am going

This is the only thing I am sure of
And that's all that lives is going to die
And there'll always be people here to wonder why?
And for every happy hello, there will be goodbye
There be time to put yourself up

Everything I've seen needs rearranging
And for anyone who thinks it strange
Then you should be the first to want to make this change
And for everyone who thinks that life is just a game
Do you like the part your playing?

I see your picture, it's in the same old frame
We meet again  - Arthur Lee

Alone again my dear

Ohio Puppy Mill Victim

Yeah, said it's alright
I won't forget
All the time I've waited patiently for you
And you'll do just what you choose to do
And I will be alone again tonight my dear

Please come get me

Yeah, I heard a funny thing
You said it's alright
I won't forget
All the times I waited so patiently for you
Now, you do just what you choose to do
And I will still be alone again tonight my dear

Will I Ever Get Out?

Somebody said to me
You know I could be in love with almost everyone
I think that people are
The greatest fun
But I will be alone again tonight my dear

While many people may be familiar with the term "puppy mill" few are aware of the magnitude of the horrors associated with them. Puppy mills are facilities that mass-produce puppies for sale to individuals or for pet stores throughout the country as well as to emerging foreign markets. From back yard breeders to those selling via the Internet, thousands of puppy mills aren't even regulated or inspected by the USDA since they sell directly to the public.

Whether they are born in a licensed facility or not, puppies face a dismal and uncertain fate at the hands of individuals who are motivated by greed. Some die while being transported to pet stores or shortly thereafter and others find themselves in the hands of irresponsible or abusive guardians.

Dogs used for breeding suffer an endless misery imprisoned in small cramped cages, often soiled with their own excrement, breeding litter after litter till they can no longer reproduce.

They are, alone again my dear

Puppy Millers Breed Pain, Suffering, Death

For all the "puppy mill apologists" who claim puppy mill breeders are not responsible for shelter kill numbers - watch this video.  Not only do millers dump the dogs they don't want to bother killing, but millers "have no regard for animals".  Here's a video:

Sadly, as the report suggests - there is NOTHING illegal about running a puppy mill in Mississippi.  When the profits failed to materialize, these millers simply abandoned their mill and left their dogs behind for the animal shelter.  They won't be charged for running a puppy mill but will be charged with animal cruelty.  Puppy mills are a major player in the pet overpopulation problem that's prevalent throughout the south.

The enemy within the shelter reform movement?

"As an organization committed to shelter reform, part of our efforts include revealing the truth about organizations that CLAIM to be working towards shelter reform, but whose funding is actually going elsewhere. We’re often accused of “bashing” the big three (the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)). But “bashing” isn’t our purpose or intention. What we’re doing is alerting people to the realities of where their hundreds of millions of dollars in donations are going."

I had hoped to not have to answer No Kill Nation's recent blog which attempted to give "reason" to the endless attacks on large animal protection groups coming from the No Kill "movement".  Since this blog doesn't allowed "uncensored" responses on their blog site I will instead respond here on an uncensored format.

While I have no intention of defending the "honor" of the extremist views perpetuated by PETA - I will explain the distortion that have been expressed on HSUS, Best Friends and the ASPCA.  For clarity, over the years I have written a number of articles critical of HSUS and the ASPCA for positions these groups took on shelter issues including the support given failed temperament testing protocols, lack of vision on pit bull issues, shelter euthanasia methods and a failure to lead on the shelter reform movement in general. 

However, HSUS and the ASPCA do offer progressive programs that protect animals not limited to educational programs encouraging responsible pet ownership, but more importantly these groups are front and center in lobbying for reform of the laws which regulate state and national laws that regulate puppy mills, animal cruelty laws, factory farming reform , wildlife abuse, combating dog fighting and a fur free America.  Are these programs advocates would like to see ended as well?

Since the  No Kill movement devotes a considerable effort trying to rewrite history by suggesting we don't have a "pet overpopulation" issue by perpetuating the "myth of pet overpopulation" which originated in breeder support circles the question that really needs to be asked is "who's side are the No Kill cultists really on? 

Ask yourself how many blogs coming from the leaders of the "No Kill" movement discuss the cruelty and killing that goes on in puppy mills? Do YOU support the concept on allowing MILLIONS of dogs to be held captive in substandard conditions far worse then those conditions in even our the worst of our public shelters?  I was saddened the other day when I read a quote from the leader of "Pet's Alive" who announced he was distancing himself from the long accepted battle cry of advocates like myself who vehemently opposes puppy mills by removing his bumpersticker which said "Don't buy puppies while shelter dogs die" or another "no kill advocates lame excuse for not supporting Missouri's Prop B because he questioned the involvement and support of HSUS on issues in the bill including the provision of "only" allowing commercial breeders to have 50 dogs in their breeding program?. 

Are these positions YOU support as a no kill advocate because if they are you have lost this shelter reformist support.  Over the years I have worn the shoes of both a shelter reformists, puppy mill advocate and a rescuer.  In that role I have participated in rescuer hounds from both public kill shelters and the rewarding efforts participating in "purchasing" breeder "rejects" at many of the breeder auctions in Missouri. 

On the later there has been no greater reward then knowing I was able to prevent a dog who has spent years locked up and confined only to be pulled out to produce another litter from either being sold to another irresponsible puppy miller or killed.  Now the No Kill Movement wants me to forget about all the beautiful hounds I have rescued from puppy mill abuse by standing shoulder to shoulder with these same breeders who are ardent supporters of the No Kill Movement.

"Every social movement in U.S. history culminated in the passing of laws. The goal was not to get promises and commitments that we would strive to do better as a society. The focus was always on changing the law to eliminate the ability to do otherwise, now and for all time."  Nathan Winograd

Why is it that Nathan  supports laws that focus on shelter reform but is silent in his support of laws that crack down on ;puppy mills?  Wouldn't eliminating the ability to abuse animals by enslaving them now and for all time also be a noble cause?  Yet, how many of Nathan's blogs offer encouragement to the animal protection groups like HSUS who are out front waging the battle to change the laws that protect this abuse?  Could it be that Nathan is concerned over losing the support of breeders in the process? 

No Kill Nation wants me to support a platform that protects and in fact encourages irresponsible breeders to continue with exploiting hounds I love by breeding even more for a pet store market I deplore as well.  

Why is it that the President of No Kill Nation has no experience on her resume with shelter reform but does rub shoulders with hobby/show breeders instead?  Are those the qualifications we follow in a No Kill Nation movement?  Fact is, none of the leaders with No Kill Nation have any success in THEIR past reforming even the shelters in their own backyard.  True leaders lead by experience not by regurgitating mindless rhetoric.

"We shouldn’t just want a promise that shelters will try to do better. We already have such promises—and millions of animals still being killed despite readily available lifesaving alternatives show just how hollow such promises are. We must demand accountability beyond the rhetoric. And we shouldn’t simply be seeking progressive directors willing to save lives. We should demand that the killing end, now and forever, regardless of who is running the shelters. And we get that in only one way: By passing shelter reform legislation which removes the discretion of shelter directors to ignore what is in the best interests of animals and kill them."  Nathan Winograd

Really think puppy mill breeders value life?
Nice concept, after all would take exception to the thinking that there are alternatives to simply killing shelter animals.  But why doesn't that same concept apply to the victims of puppy mill and irresponsible breeding abuse?  Shouldn't we be equally to supporting the animal protection efforts lead by groups like HSUS, Best Friends and the ASPCA in their efforts to pass laws that would put an end to THIS cruelty and this killing as well?  Is Nathan or are you naive enough to believe that puppy mills don't bury their dead?

The silence on this form of animal abuse is deafening while their attacks on the only voices demanding an end to puppy mill abuse is disturbing.    and excuses blaming the animal coming out of the No Kill leaders. 

Are "WE" not partners in the noble cause of ending irresponsible pet ownership (dog fighters - hoarding) and of ending the political correctness that we have a right to breed irresponsibly while shelter animals continue to die?

When I made the decision several months ago to discuss the issues surrounding the "movement" I did so because of my commitment to be the voice for all animals who are being exploited or abused and not just the abuse that goes on in our shelters. Unlike the leaders of No Kill Nation and even Nathan my "resume" includes a long history as a reformist on not only shelter reform but puppy mill reform as well yet Nathan responds to my voice with the following comment he posted on his Facebook page where he wrote:

Winograd - "Jack, I am not going to allow Randy to use this Facebook page for his defense of the status quo and his defense of those who needlessly kill animals as he has done on other pages. He can go defend killing on HSUS' Facebook page:" 

I'll ignore the insult of claiming that I defend "those who needlessly kill animals" because it is a comment that is so absurd it doesn't deserve a comment, but I will ask Nathan why he ignores the truth behind his own support through his silence and ignorance pushing a flawed concept on pet overpopulation isn't he supporting the senseless abuse and killing done at the hands of irresponsible breeders.  The truth is you can't run from issues simply because your concerned it may have an effect on book sales.

I write this article not in an attempt to win over your support on views.  I certainly an not interested in selling you books, webinars or a seat at the next no kill circus as well.  I'm only interested in hoping that some of you will use reason and do your own homework on these issues and focus your support on the animals we all claim as THEIR VOICE?  Are the animals better off without the protections provided by the large animal protection groups or are we simply being asked to send our donations to an unproven and flawed group that supports the real enemy within - those irresponsible breeders who perpetrate this abuse?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Strange bedfellows provide support for the "No Kill" movement

National Animal Interest Alliance - Mofed supports No Kill and sled dogs?
For all who are rightfully outraged at the slaughter of 100 sled dogs in  British Columbia the National Animal Interest Alliance supports the rights of those who choose to own "sled dogs".  This would be the same NAIA who is now one of the staunchest supporters of the no kill movement as well.  To date no one in a leadership role has pointed out how an animal use group liked the NAIA can support the use of animals in puppy mills, used for research and in this case sled dogs as well.

Why would an animal use group known to oppose any and all regulations for the "animal use industry" also be an ardent supporter of Nathan Winograd and the "no kill" movement?  One needs only look at the position statement's Winograd promotes with his "no kill movement" that creates a false impression that pet overpopulation is a myth (it is not) and the position that it isn't irresponsible pet breeders and irresponsible pet owners who are responsible for the millions of dogs and cats still being killed in our publicly funded shelters but it is solely the fault of shelter managers who do the killing. 

Of course, there is no explanation on the role of forcing millions of innocent dogs and cats to live out there entire lives without human contact and oftentimes in cruel and substandard conditions. 

Animal rights groups like the Animal Liberation Front wrote this about the NAIA's support of the puppy mill industry. 

It seems disengenous for the leaders of the No Kill Movement to constantly attack animal welfare groups that include Best Friends, the ASPCA, and HSUS simply because of policy positions these groups have that differ from those positions held by the no kill movement itself.  Why not call out these major animal use players as well?

It is important that we are judged by the "company" we keep and for this reason I can no longer support a movement that places all the blame on shelters while turning a blind eye to supporters of that movement - especially in light of the trend to capitalize on the no kill movement itself.  To read more about the animal "use" groups please do your research on the major including:

National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA)

Meet the Animal Interest Alliance Board - (note - you won't find any shelter reformists in this group)

Missouri Federation of Animal Owners (Mofed) - lobbied for opposition to Prop B in Missouri and has been linked to a bill which would have criminalized activists taking pictures of puppy mills or pets stores without permission.

To read NAIA position on sled dogs

So, the question remains - why is the No Kill Movement willing to enable those who use pets for personal gain by silently soliciting their support?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Are you an enabler of the needless killing of shelter pets?

Our battle for a No Kill nation is not against the public. It is against the cowards of our movement who refuse to stand up to their colleagues and friends running shelters that are mired in the failed and defunct philosophies that allow (indeed, cause) killing. Our battle is against those who claim to be part of our movement but fail to recognize the killing of millions of animals every year as an unnecessary and cruel slaughter and to call it what it is. It is against those who will not do for the animals that thing which is their solemn duty to do: to change themselves and to demand that their colleagues change, when that is what the situation calls for.Nathan Winograd

While I read Nathan's comments in his book "Redemption" and as it's been repeatedly been used in other conversations about the No Kill movement I never realized that those involved in rescue like myself are the "enablers" who are in fact causing this senseless slaughter of our nations shelter pets.

This gets pointed out in Shirley's "YesBiscuit" blog "Are YOU an enabler of the needless killing of shelter pets?" when she emphatically states

"Rescuers who pull animals from a shelter in order to save them while remaining silent about the needless killing of healthy/treatable pets there are enabling those who kill shelter pets." 

I first noticed this blog when it was posted on the No Kill Revolution Facebook page.  While I expected NKR to set the record straight on the foolishness of her comments instead they chose to defend her comments.  Since I'm blocked from commented on No Kill Revolution I will share my opinion here.

For those of you unfamiliar with Shirley - she is the resident "No Kill Nation" blogging expert who writes about everything no kill including shelters she has never visited.  In fact, Shirley's never been involved in rescue except for an occasional stray dog she's claims to take in.  Now that Shirley has a following on No Kill Nation she has been ordained as an expert on "all things" No Kill and in fact will be a featured speaker at the upcoming No Kill Conference in Washington DC later this summer.

So what are Shirley's viewpoint on rescuers who "only" rescue dogs and cats from kill shelters?  Here's what Shirley has to say about US enablers as she writes: 

While I can understand the idea that saving a few is better than saving none, I tend to maintain a broader view.  I say, speak up for no kill policies and let the shelter director ban every last rescuer from the place.  Organize and go to the people above the director, to the media, and to the public.  Shine a light on the needless killing going on at the shelter and the director’s efforts to prevent rescuers from saving pets. 

Common sense, which appears to be lacking with the No kill Nation leadership team would suggest that if all rescuers took this confrontational approach with high kill shelters that NO dogs or cats would be rescued and rather then saving "some" lives we would save No LIVES.  While Shirley the the No Kill Nation team may be willing to sacrifice innocent lives in this Armageddon against kill shelters I am not.  I hardly suggest it is my right to choose to sacrifice an innocent dog or cat solely to promote a poorly conceived agenda of superiority that "YesBiscuit" suggests.  Thinking like this is not only ignorant but lacks any moral compass I would be willing to follow.  The zealots leading this so-called No Kill Movement need to step back and tell us all what the end game is all about.  Certainly they would lose or have lost support from those of us who have spent years agonizing over dogs and cats in our kill shelters and who have sacrificed so much so even a FEW might live.

I won't apologize for EVEN one of the hounds I have been fortunate to save even if that effort required me to "look the other way'.  I'm reminded of years ago when I tried in vain to rescue a single beagle I called Hunter from the Spalding shelter.  I knew full well that Spalding had a horrible record of not providing adequate care for their shelter dogs/cats and I knew full well that the community's silence played a role in the many dogs and cats who died horrible deaths in that shelter's gas chamber, but it was my silence that made rescuing Hunter a possibility.  In Hunter's case my efforts failed. 

When I showed up at this horrible shelter the doors had been locked by the Department of Agriculture in order that all the dogs be killed because of a parvo outbreak.  For days I wrestled with my conscience and mourned the loss of a single beagle I had never met.  I suppose I could have slammed the shelter director, who was only following the advise of the DOA, I suppose I could have attacked the county commissioners who allowed this to happen, I suppose I could have blamed myself for not reacting quicker to pull poor Hunter to safety.  In the end, I remained silent.  Does that silence make me an enabler?

The fact is I chose a different course because experience had taught me that reacting with anger would only prevent me from rescuing other beagles in the days and years to come - while this anger may have fueled my ego on being a vocal advocate this anger would not bring about the change needed nor would it bring Hunter back.  Ultimately, those of us who actually rescue have played out this lesson over and over again.  While we have failed innocent dogs like Hunter time and time again we have to understand the significance for the perhaps the hundreds we have saved by funneling our anger in a more productive way. 

In time change did come to Spalding, but that change didn't come as the result of hot headed rescuers who were willing to toss out the baby with the bath water.  It came from working in partnership with other advocates who cherished EVERY dog and cats right to be rescued even if those efforts failed from time to time.  Those of us who choose to open up our hearts, our homes and our wallet's to dogs like Hunter do so because we cherish the shelter dogs we get involved in/  Anyone who tries to explain away that love by accusing us of being "enablers" is not only wrong but ignorant as well.

Advocates need to get involved in our local shelters and in our local communities as well.  My advice for Shirley is that if she truly cares about making a differences she might try volunteering and supporting change at her local shelter first.  My guess is she's not as interested in getting involved locally as she is in being on the national stage. 

YesBiscuit "ARE YOU ENABLING THE NEEDLESS KILLING OF SHELTER PETS? Our battle for a No Kill nation is not against the public. It is against the cowards of our movement who refuse to stand up to their colleagues and friends running shelters that are mired in the failed and defunct philosophies that allow (indeed, cause) killing...  Enablers make the continued practice of killing possible.  No shelter director can go it alone.  He counts on the support of those who are sympathetic to his lies about being “forced” to kill friendly pets.  Strip away that support.  It’s time to sink or swim.  Learn.  Grow.  Change.  Join us.

So there you have it - we who silently rescue are the cowards of our movement who not only allow this killing but cause it as well.  Should I say more about this twisted physiology of hate spewing from lour "No Kill" movement?  Shirley, your going to have to "go it alone" because what YOUR asking is too high a price too pay.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Playing the Shelter/No Kill Blame Game

The "irresponsible public" that shelters so much blame for their killing, is the same public who has made it possible for other shelters to become no kill.  Shelters are blaming YOU, for their deaths, for killing healthy and treatable animals with YOUR tax dollars. -  Nathan Winograd

One of the basic tenants from Nathan Winograd's book "Redemption" is the repeated claim of shelters blaming YOU for the killing done in your public shelters.  It is common for shelter managers to explain away the number of dogs and cats killed by placing blame on the "irresponsible public" that breeds indiscriminately, fails to spay/neuter their pets and/or violates various local animal ordinances.  A case could be made that any pet owner who's pets end up at the shelter are indeed "irresponsible" pet owners.

Shelter managers are NOT blaming "responsible" pet owners for having to kill their pets because as a responsible pet owner WE DON'T ALLOW our pets to be in a public kill shelter in the first place.  It's also fair to say that those who show an interest in shelter reform or even an interest in the "No Kill" movement by nature are not "irresponsible" in providing care for their pets but are blatantly responsible in all aspects of caring for their pets.  Shelter managers are NOT blaming US for the deaths of dogs and cats at our community shelters but are rightfully placing the blame where it belongs - with those pet owners who are NOT responsible.

Properly put in perspective, "irresponsible" pet owners and "irresponsible" breeders are responsible for the dogs and cats entering our shelter - responsible pet owners and responsible breeders are not.

Winograd goes on to state "in communities which have ended the killing of savable animals, it is the public which made the difference: in terms of adoptions, volunteerism, donations, foster care, and other community support."

Is this statement even remotely accurate in explaining the "No Kill" revolution?  One could argue that those same irresponsible pet owners/breeders who are part of the equation that drives intake numbers are NOT going to represent any "difference" in terms of adoptions - what responsible rescue group or shelter manager would adopt out any dog or cat to someone with a history of being an irresponsible pet owner?  Nor will we see huge numbers of irresponsible pet owners volunteering their time or money either and who in their right mind would trust an irresponsible pet owner with the enormous responsibility of fostering a shelter pet?

What Winograd does point out (in Redemption) "These (No Kill) communities have proved that there is enough love and compassion in every community to overcome the irresponsibility of the few."

This statement seems to contradict his earlier statement releasing the public of all blame in shelter killing.  The fact is, in order to successfully move from high kill to no kill a huge part of the solution lies in educating those pet owners who might have been "irresponsible" in the direction of becoming responsible pet owners by providing critical services including low cost spay/neuter programs, pet retention services, micro chipping and licensing programs that return more lost pets to their owners and expanding the reach of low cost vaccination programs as well.  In effect, a community evolves towards killing less by educating it's citizens on becoming more responsible with their pet ownership.

Thus, Winograd's statement "So we need to put to bed, once and for all, the idea that dogs and cats = animals most Americans now consider cherished members of their family - need to die in U.S. shelters because people are irresponsible and don't care enough about them."

In a perfect world Nathan, what we need to put to bed is the notion that all pet owners WOULD be responsible and treat their cherished pets as such.  Until we reach that Utopian state WE must continue to educate and legislate those who own and breed pets irresponsibly.  Giving out blame free passes to those who fuel our shelters and placing the burden of saving and rescuing the pets who have irresponsible owners is simply an irresponsible solution that will never work

Knowing one regressive shelter manager doesn't make you a "know it all"

"No Kill Nation's" Hannah Sentiac attempted to address the role of replacing regressive shelter director's in implemented the infamous but highly suspect "No Kill Equation" needed to successfully become a No Kill community.  In an blog posting called "Know One Regressive Shelter Director - Know Them All" many of her comments deserve clarification.

Sentiac "One of the many, many things I took away from this event was the concept that communities across the US are incredibly alike when it comes to the shelter system. Every state, county, city generally thinks they’re unique, given their community’s particular demographics, history and set of circumstances. But the truth is, when it comes to regressive shelter management, they’re all very much the same."

Actually, the above comment should be reversed - all public kill shelters are unique based on the demographics, budget, history, politics and an assortment of other tangibles features that make the communities themselves unique.   In other words, Tompkins is not like Austin, Tx which is not like Miami Dade when it comes to it's citizens, economic issues and the politics which forms it's culture.  Shelter manager's tend to mimic the community values that hired them in the first place. 

Sentiac "Regressive shelter directors are cut from the same mold. They trot out the same tired excuses, and make the same horrible mistakes. They don’t have enough resources, the public is irresponsible, the animals are unadoptable … etc., etc."

All "regressive" shelter managers are not cut from the same mold but instead have the same "tired excuses" that include not being given adequate resources or not having the critical support from the community they need.

Sentiac "Of course, you need to take your region into consideration when it comes to local politics, but the key thing to remember is that that the fundamental approach should be the same as it’s been in numerous successful communities across the US. What is the approach? Well, lucky for No Kill advocates across the US, it’s been documented. Check out The No Kill Advocacy Center’s comprehensive document, Reforming Animal Control. "

Now, if only the leaders of No Kill Nation, including Hannah, would read and follow the "road map" to shelter reform from NKAC's Reforming Animal Control".  It is a logical approach that seems to get tossed out the window in favor of unleashing a mob mentality seeking to blame everything on an over-burdened shelter director instead.

From "Reforming Animal Control" we find:
“In the face of what is construed as “entrenchment”, how can local advocates put an end to the killing at MDAS? If you follow the recommendations for reforming entrenched shelters the answer lies in a five-step process: 1. Inform; 2. Negotiate; 3. Prepare for Battle; 4. Fight; and, when successful, 5. Rebuild.”

The first rule of effecting change is the need for No Kill advocates to be reasonable and professional. That starts with going through the steps, one at a time, so, for example, if NKN advocates believe conflict with Miami Dade Animal Services is unavoidable, it will be clear that attempts to work within the system were rebuffed by an uncaring bureaucracy and not from an “uncaring advocacy” movement instead.

Change starts with the right message, which addresses four aspects crucial to a successful animal services program; saving animals, protecting it’s citizens, exercising fiscal responsibility with the taxpayers money mitigating liability. If only one of these (saving lives) but not the others is addressed progress will be hampered.

As important as the right message is, it is imperative to send the right messenger. Along that line No Kill Nation has failed miserably. When No Kill Nation made the determination to call or allow others to call Dr Sara Pizano “Dr Death” they effectively ceased to be a partner in MDAS's future.

When No Kill Nation threw support into public protests demanding her resignation/firing, including one protest at her (Dr Pizano’s) residence they effectively removed themselves from being taken seriously as anything but the thugs they were behaving like.

It is questionable whether No Kill Nation as an entity will ever be accepted as a reasonable partner working towards a common goal of ending shelter killing in Miami Dade. Instead of presenting a vision of the future of partnering with MDAS in bringing about positive change, No Kill Nation’s approach was adversarial, demanding and demeaning.

In it's only meeting with MDAS staff, no blueprint for change was ever presented.  Instead, an unreasonable proposal to simply “stop the killing” was presented and when management was unable to comply it’s manager was labeled as “regressive”. 

The No Kill Nation’s leadership team should have understood the importance of identifying in writing exactly what changes were needed.  Instead, the No Kill Nation focused on the mantra rally call demanding only that MDAS “Stop the killing” without a reasonable discussion on the effect this would have on the rescue community and the animals themselves. 

With no CLEAR place for the 100 plus dogs and cats that enter the shelter each day to go one could make a case that forcing animals to live in the inhumane, disease infested shelters wasn't a solution either.

This meeting wasn’t about the future of MDAS, it wasn’t about partnering to saving more animals, it wasn’t even about offering reasonable solutions to problems that have nagged MDAS for years – it was about taking advantage of an opportunity to gain publicity and grow it’s own organization – the No Kill Nation. It was about being deceptive in their intention and negotiating in bad faith.

If we are to believe Nathan’s math on successful No Kill shelters are we to believe that less then twenty shelters across the country have successful no kill directors meaning that the other 3,480 plus shelters that fall short need new “compassionate” directors?

Let’s hope your no kill movement uses a little more common sense in replacing all of these directors rather then the short sighted approach used in Miami Dade. After all, the animals we are trying to save are counting on it.  It's time to put the focus on  seeking solutions that will save more dogs and cats from MDAS in front of the agenda of "growing" another animal welfare organization that seems to have forgotten those needs.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tight connection to my heart

You want to talk to me.
Go ahead and talk.
Whatever you got to say to me
Won't come as any shock.
I must be guilty of something
You just whisper it into my ear

Madame Butterfly
She lulled me to sleep.
In a town without pity
Where the water runs deep.
She said, 'Be easy baby.
There ain't nothing worth stealin' in here'

I'm gonna get my coat.
I feel the breath of a storm.

There's something I've got to do tonight,
You go inside and stay warm.

You're the one I've been looking for
You're the one that's got the key
But I can't figure out whether I'm too good for you
Or you're too good for me

Well they're not showing any lights tonight
And there's no moon.
There's just a hot blooded singer
Singing 'Memphis in June'
And they're beatin' the devil out of a guy
Who's wearing a powder-blue wig.

Later he'll be shot for
Resisting arrest.
I can still hear his voice crying
In the wilderness.
What looks large from a distance
Close up ain't never that big.

I never could learn to drink that blood
And call it wine
I never could learn to hold you, love
And call you mine.

You got a tight connection to my heart

Friday, April 22, 2011

Miami Dade Shelter Report 2001 - 2010

This spreadsheet represents MDAS shelter records FY 01/02 through FY 04/05.  This represents a period of time where MDAS was managed by Miami Dade Police Department.


FY 01/02

FY 02/03

FY 03/04

FY 04/05
















Return to owner





Number animals saved





Number euthanized





Percent euthanized





This spreadsheet represents the data from FY 05/06 through FY 09/10 which represents the time period after Dr Sara Pizano took over managing the Miami Dade Animal Services Unit.


FY 05/06 (*)

FY 06/07

FY 07/08

FY 08/09

FY 09/10



















Return to owner






Number animals saved


         10, 413




Number euthanized






Percent euthanized






Evaluating Key Shelter Performance Factors


The number of dogs and/or cats adopted from MDAS is a critical measurement in life saving performance.  Adoptions during the four years prior to Dr Pizano's tenure averaged around 3,300 per year.  As the numbers show adoptions doubled the first year alone to an astounding number of 6,000 dogs/cats being adopted back into the community.  Adoptions have continued to climb at a rate of 37% in years FY 08 through FY 2010.  Adoptions only saw a slight decline in FY 2007/2008 which represents the beginning of south Florida economic decline.

This is an area where improvement under Dr Pizano's leadership will continue once the new shelter is built.  The fact that she has been successful in improving adoptions despite being burdened with an old, disease pronged shelter is refreshing. 
Performance Grade - A

Rescue Transfers

Rescue transfers were almost non existent while MDAS was under police department control - averaging around 1,150 dogs/cats each year.  Many of these transfers occurred in 2003 - 2005 as a result of rescue groups stepping up to pull animals and as a result of a loosening of restrictions on rescue groups because management was under fire.  

Under the watch of the "old guard" police, policies enforced  included banning volunteers, prohibiting rescue volunteers from taking pictures of dogs/cats listed as urgent, and a data base that was so inaccurate it was useless for all practical purposes.

With the implementation of MDAS "rescue partners" program dogs and cats being transferred to rescue has risen dramatically to over 4,000 during the last fiscal year.  This represents an increase of over 300% from the results under the Miami Dade Police Department control. 

This is also an area where the rescue community can continue to see improvement if they double or triple the number of rescue groups that become team players with MDAS Partner program. 
Performance Grade A Plus

Return To Owners

Returning family pets to their owners is a community effort.  It requires policies to be put in effect that encourage pet identification and offers low cost options that assist pet owners with identifying their pets.  These numbers have remained fairly stagnated with  only a slight bump in the number of pets returned home.  Still the number of pets returned to owners under the old leadership team averaged slightly over 1,050 each year to an average of slightly over 1,400 (or 40%) under the new leadership team.
Performance Grade - B - Minus/C Plus

Number of Animal Saved

In FY 01/02 less then 15% of the dogs/cats entering the shelter survived.  Many died horrible deaths due to diseases contracted during even very short stays at the shelter.  In FY 02/03 the number saved only increased to 19%.  In FY 03/04 the number of animals saved improved to 22% in part due to a 10% decrease in the number of animals entering the shelter.  In FY 04/05 or the last year of management under the police department the number of animals saved dropped to 20% - in other words, MDAS was killing four out of five dogs and cats entering the shelter.

During Dr Pizano's first year the number of animals saved jumped to 30% (FY 05/06).  This represented an increase of 63% (5667 to 9040) in one year alone.  FY 06/07 that number of animals saved increased to 10,413 or another 10% increase from the previous year.  However, this increase was negated by an increase in intake numbers of 13% as intake climbed from 30,000 dogs/cats entering the shelter to over 34,000.

In FY 07/08 MDAS was able to hold it's own on the number of saved animals despite what was the beginning of an economic recession taking hold in south Florida and throughout the country. 

In FY 08/09 the number of animals saved again increased from the previous year by over 30% as it climbed from 10,630 to 13,700.  This number represents a sustained increase of over 250% (5,667) from the previous total under the "old guard" of MDAS mismanagement in 2005. 

MDAS was able to improve the number of animals saved slightly in FY 09/10 as the saved numbers rose to 13,942.  Performance grade on saving animals - A plus.

Shelter Intake

Unfortunately, all of the gains made in adoptions and animals transferred to rescue has been negated by an startling increase in the number of animals entering the shelter (intake) over the last five years.  Intake has climbed from a four year average of 30,000 dogs/cats a year FY 01 through FY 05 to an average of over 34,400 during the last five years.  This represents an increase of 15% on intake alone. 

Intake numbers represent a community problem that must be dealt with in order to reverse this trend.  It is NOT an area where shelter management of an open admission shelter has much control.

Dr Pizano has put forth a number of recommendations that focus on reducing intake by expanding spay/neuter programs, promoting  pro-active pet retention programs and partnering with rescue partners by transfering animals before they enter the shelter.

Performance Grade - community D MINUS - MDAS policy review - B - minus

Number of dogs and cats killed at MDAS

No one disagrees that the 20,000 dogs and cats that are consistently being killed at MDAS remains a serious community problem for which solutions must be found.  Those solutions are NOT going to come from the constant attacks from many groups who aren't even from the Miami Dade/South Florida area. 

The solutions needed for MDAS will only come by continuing to build a foundation of local support that can address the growth in intake numbers, by doubling even tripling the number of rescue partners and a surge in efforts to educate the community on responsible pet ownership while providing pet owners the programs needed for this transition.  The solution also requires building the long overdue new shelter as well.

History of Miami Dade Animal Services
Note: Miami Dade Animal Services (MDAS) became an independent department in October of 2005.

Animal Services was originally a part of the Dade County Public Safety Department, and was later designated as the Animal Care and Control Division under the Public Works Department.

In 2001, the Miami-Dade Police Department took over the operation, and on October 1, 2005, the Animal Services Department (ASD) was created as a stand-alone entity in an effort to provide focused care for the County’s animal population.

By becoming an independent entity, the Animal Services Department is be able to concentrate its resources on its core mission of caring for the animals in its custody. MDAS receives approximately 22 percent of its budget from the County’s General Operating Fund, while the remaining 78 percent is derived through dog license tag sales, shelter fees, enforcement fines, private grants, and donations.

Miami Dade Animal Services Director - Dr Sara Pizano

Sara Pizano, D.V.M., is responsible for the oversight of the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department.

She began her career as a veterinarian intern at the Animal Medical Center in New York City, one of the busiest animal centers in the country. She moved to South Florida in 1998 and has been very involved in the animal care community.

She brings to Miami-Dade more than 11 years of experience in the field of veterinary medicine and animal services delivery, including five years as the director of veterinary services for the Humane Society of Broward County, where she was responsible for managing a $1 million budget and increasing clinic donations by 231 percent.

Dr. Pizano holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University.

Five Year Performance Report Highlights

In 2005, the Miami Dade Animal Services Department (MDAS) became independent, answering directly to the County Manager. Since then, a myriad of changes and improvements have been and continue to be made.

In 2010 the Department was presented with the Outstanding Team Achievement award for a spay/neuter initiative as MDAS was responsible for the sterilization of over 4,000 community cats with minimal impact to the operational budget.

Miami-Dade Animal Services is one of the top ten largest shelters in the country, based on the number of animals abandoned. Between FY 2005-2006 and 2008-2009, the intake of animals increased by:

  • Introduced micro chipping for community pets that includes automatic registration (2008)
  • Created new educational handouts to prepare pet owners for adoption and care of their new pet
  • Lost and Found Procedure Improvements
  • Created lost pet handouts for owners
  • Trained staff to enter tag/chip information into Chameleon (pet and owner information database) to generate reports for shelter animals with identification
  • Created Pet Detectives Volunteer Program to increase reunification rate of lost pets with their owners
  • Updated adoption and spay/neuter contracts to include the picture, microchip, tag and animal ID (2005)
  • Introduced spay/neuter agreement to decrease time shelter pets were exposed to infectious diseases.
Community Outreach

• Advertised on trains, buses, newspapers and magazines
• Developed an ad campaign featuring three (3) uniform messages :   Spay/Neuter o Adopt-a-Pet
• Secured approximately $50,000+ annually in in-kind advertising (ongoing)
• Secured regularly featured spots on Comcast Pets on Demand, Telemundo 51 and GenTV
• Partnered with Petsmart to do mobile adoptions (2009)
• Created a Facebook page

Concentrated outreach efforts have helped to increase adoptions and improve MDAS’s overall visibility and reputation throughout the community, though proper funding has not been allocated in the budget to this area. MDAS has developed advertising campaigns, improved media relations and developed partner websites that all contribute to getting people involved and saving more animals.

Outreach efforts included the following:

Rescue Partnership

In 2006, a formal Rescue Partnership was created with 501c3 Rescue Groups and humane societies. Twice daily, our Rescue Partners receive auto e-mails via the Chameleon shelter software with a list of shelter pets that would most likely not be moved into adoptions.

For the FY 2009-2010, there were sixty (60) Rescue Partners, one of the largest partnerships we know of in the country, who collectively saved a record breaking 4,074 shelter pets. Rescue Partners also provide Medical Foster Care for some dogs during their stray hold period.

Volunteers Partnership

Volunteers were welcomed back to the shelter in 2006. They attend a formal orientation and tour to learn about the operation of Animal Services, then help with the care of shelter pets, adoptions, bathing dogs, assisting in the clinic and with events. Shelter volunteers have donated a total of 39,762 hours between FY 2006-2007 and FY 2009-2010.

As an extension of the volunteer program, the Pet Detective Club was created as well and volunteers research the Internet matching flyers of lost and found pets at the shelter or found by Good Samaritans. The Puppy Foster Care program was created in October 2008, and since then hundreds of puppies have been saved that would have otherwise been killed. Continued program for dog spays and neuters for the public for $25 

Challenges for tomorrow - reducing intake 

It will take a community effort to overcome these challenges.  A community working in partnership with Dr Pizano and her staff.    

Spay/Neuter Programs

Targeted spay/neuter programs have proven to be the only way to effectively decrease shelter intake. Examples of targeted programs include those that focus on free roaming cats, areas with high shelter intake and for low income pet owners. The Animal Services Department has developed many private sector collaborations to increase the number of donor subsidized spay/neuter opportunities in our community and are open to foster new collaborations and seek grant funding for sterilization programs.

MDAS is seeking the help of the Florida Legislature to expand use of the $5 surcharge on animal code enforcement violations to include Spay/Neuter Programs (state law currently requires proceeds from the surcharge to be used solely to pay for costs of training for animal control officers). Spay/Neuter programs help to minimize population growth and MDAS has created numerous donor-subsidized initiatives that include:

• Maddie’s Funding Received $22,000 in funding in FY 2008-2009
• Florida Animal Friends Grant Coalition plus donations to Animal Services Trust Fund helped provide 1,401 free cat spay/neuters for the public on the mobile surgical unit (MAC)
• ASPCA Pet Fair Grant Received. $24,000 in FY 2010-2011.

FY 2009-2010 to provide cat spay/neuter services for a $15 co-pay on the MAC
• Volunteer Vet Surgery Days FY09/10 funding used to continue cat sterilizations for a $15 co-pay on the MAC
• Continued efforts to apply for spay/neuter grants with PetSmart Charities
• Partnered with the Clydey Foundation 908 cats sterilized between 5 events. Hosted the spay/neuter mobile unit at Animal Services. 

• Dog Spay/Neuter Program sponsored by the Animal Services Trust Fund Offered dog spays and neuters for the public for $30 (over 700 surgeries performed) o
• Created partnership with the Humane Society of Greater Miami (HSGM).  HSGM now operates the Spay/Neuter clinic and utilizes MDAS's Mobile Animal Clinic (MAC) units.

To read the complete Miami Dade Animal Services Five Year Report: