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:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rest in Peace Honey - how did we fail you?

Many of us have been following the dreadful story of the Sanctuary Animal Refuge in Florida.  A few hours ago I came across an email thread that simply broke my heart.  It was about a desperate plea for information on a disabled dog named Honey.  I've omitted the names in order to focus on Honey's story:

"We called her Honey, also known as Punkin.

We sent her there, she was paralyzed and had bad urine scald, when she was sent to the Sanctuary Animal Refuge, it was supposed to be for a better life, not death... Please copy all parties if you can tell us anything about her. The news we are getting is that all the paralyzed dogs are dead, and buried on the grounds all over the place.
We must know!!  If she is there we will find a place for her.
Thanks ............." 

"I am on scene and have been here since day one. We have confirmed that all paralyzed dogs are dead. I am so sorry. The devastation that Palena has caused cannot even be put into words.  "xxxxxx" and I have been the only ones on scene through this ordeal and we are going to leave here with memories that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I am so sorry about Honey." 

"Thank you True for your work there and trying to help the remaining animals.  I and others are trying to understand what happened to these handicapped pups and why they are dead? 
A former emplyee that cared for her has stated that she died in the early winter and I would like to know how. Were these animals euthanised or did they die from neglect? 
I am sorry , but I would really like to know what happened as was responsible for this poor pup and want to never make a mistake like this again that caused an animal even more suffering than she had already been through.  Thank you, ..............." 

"We can all speculate.  All I can say factually is there are no veterinary records once dogs were at the Sanctuary."

I too am so sorry for Honey and the rest of the sanctuary dogs who supposed to be safe.  Honey deserved a better end to her story then one of neglect and suffering.  This is the part of the No Kill Mantra that hasn't been addressed.  While the No Kill Movement in south Florida is calling for the head of MDAS's shelter manager have we in rescue built a foundation of support where dogs like Honey will not face an even more horrible situation.  No one is opposed to stopping the killing - as long as that process considers the reality of providing safe havens for ALL of the dogs and cats being rescued - especially for disabled dogs like Honey.

Many of my rescue friends have shared my story of Mulligan, our once crippled basset who bravely overcame his disability.  During Mulligan's struggle to regain his ability to walk I was graced with meeting the kindest of people who fostered disabled dogs.  This news of Honey's demise puts into perspective the responsibility we must take on in providing a disabled pet a safe and loving environment in which to flourish.  If anything, disabled pets need MORE attention not a life in a setting where there is no hope.

While you'll hear all the fancy rhetoric and slogans being tossed around the No Kill Nation world reality tells a different story for victims like Honey.  You won't find Honey's story on No Kill Nations - because her story doesn't fit the mantra and dream of a No Kill Nation without consequences.  It does tell a story of complacency with a FACEBOOK advocacy movement that seems to ignore consequences of our own ignorance.  Those consequences are a tragic reality for all those dogs we fail.

It is my hope that advocates step back and think hard about the decisions and policies we embrace.  We must never forget - this battle to save our beloved pets isn't about US - it's about dogs like Honey who we have all failed. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

You get what to get

Welcome to our latest blog "Drat, the squirrels and nuts are taking over".  This blog is a spin off that combines the writing from my local "We the Pet Owners of Gwinnett" blog that addressed animal welfare issues and my "Trailed by 20 Hounds" which was a portrayal of life living with twenty plus hounds.

Over the years I have shared the experiences of the 1,500,000 miles traveling this great country with my beloved hounds.  While the focus of my stories has always addressed social issues the stars were always the hounds themselves.  I  have shared the laughter their antics have added to my life and I've shared the heartache as they pass.

This morning I awoke to this comment from Steve Phipps: "You think everyone is against you Randy. That's a symptom of your addiction. When are you going to get help. I know some of your friends want you to get help. Why don't you?"

No, Steve, I don't think everyone is against me.  If I thought that I'd run and hide like you.

To clarify that statement, Steve Phipps has never been one of my friends, thus, he has no knowledge of the relationship my friends and I have.  I share my life with my friends on Facebook everyday.  We won't talk about Steve's addiction to guns and the religious right - until later.

Fact is, anyone is welcome to follow the antics of my hounds as well.  I am blessed with being able to spend most of my time in the company of my beloved hounds.  Living with twenty plus hounds for ten years now only has been nothing but joyous - to suggest that I am ungrounded is simply a shallow opinion that Mr Phipps would have no knowledge about.  People, who again are not my friends nor who have ever actually met me, would suggest I'm an idiot or suggest I'm less then intelligent.  You be your own judge - below are the links to issues I've addressed.  You can disagree with any fact or issue I've commented on but to simply attack me only shows the quality of character lacking.  

If you want more information on articles I have written over the last ten years you would have to go through yahoo grooups like Puppymillfighters, stopthesskillingmachine, or a number of others.  Of course, you could also google "by20hounds" and you'll come up with more information on my background.  Quite frankly, I'm not looking for new friends - if that makes you angry, get over it.  I already have the most loyal friend in the world and I get along quite well with him.  That friend is MYSELF.

As for the direction this blog will take - this isn't a short term project.  This blog will  be used to open up discussions on a variety of my OWN interests.  Those interests will reflect my observations from over forty years of advocating on a number of issues not just limited to my work advocating for animals,  It's a blog about life itself from my perspective - if you don't like what I write the easy solution is too not read it.

 Billy L commented that this blog only has three followers.  It does, but I have 300 plus friends who share my comments with their friends and so on.  I'm not as worried about the distribution of my work as apparently Billy is.  They probably should worry.

One last comment, one unnamed person commented on my spelling and grammar skills - my lack of spelling skills, especially on Facebook reflect the fact that there are much more important uses of my time then proofreading my comments - of course spending time with my hounds would be at the top of that list.  I don't get "paid" for my writing - you get what you get and that's all you get.  This is my discussion and I don't need any one's permission to have it.

Have a good day - today I have a date with a few of the hounds.  Can't think of a better way to spend my day

No Kill Gwinnett on Facebook!/pages/No-Kill-Gwinnett/126165217428735?v=info
We the Pet Owners of Gwinnett on Facebook!/pages/We-the-Pet-Owners-of-Gwinnett/146231598744336
We the Pet Owners of Gwinnett
Trailed by20Hounds
No Kill Gwinnett on Twitter!/by20hounds

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Billy LeFeuvre "It's the rescue community - fool"

"He is the type of person that gives animal welfare advocates and rescue groups a bad reputation, not No Kill Advocates who choose to distance themselves from these people." -   Billie Lefevere

Seems No Kill Nation's, Billy LeFeuvre, the latest mouthpiece on No Kill has some interesting comments on who's responsible for "perpetuating" the myth of pet overpopulation.  According to our latest expert it's not the breeders who have are working hard at recapturing that image problem that is costing them market share - it's the animal welfare advocates who are responsible. 

In a recent post Billy writes:  "Unfortunately, Amelia, animal welfare advocates have been ineffective... at changing the situation at shelters and, in fact, they have even helped to perpetuate the myths of "overpopulation" and "irresponsible public." They are, too often, their own worst enemy."

Billy goes on to write "What successful No Kill groups have shown is that you don't need a consensus or agreement from all interested people. In fact, it is a waste of time, a distraction."

Keep in mind, we're only talking about less then twenty "No Kill Community's" out of a pool of 3,500 public kill shelters across the country.  Billy comes from Ontario so it's easy to see how he can dismiss the "southern reality" of regional "overpopulation" of our public open admission shelters.  He doesn't talk about his success in reforming animal control but instead focuses on spewing his great knowledge on everyone else. 

Billy and his ilk completely ignore the issue that when these same advocates question what doesn't work in implementing the No Kill Equation" they're questions are answered with accusations of being "part of the problem".

In a more confusing comment Lefeuvre writes: "Every No Kill Community has achieved that status despite opposition from rescue groups, national organizations, shelter management, and other naysayers. If they put collaboration and consensus before the welfare of animals, then they would not be where they are today." 

So, now it's the rescue community who is responsible for the killing - not the cult of irresponsible breeders giddy over this shifting of blame? 

Lefeuvre explains his premise with  "Instead, they (the rescue/ineffective advocate community) would still be stroking egos and playing politics, as people agreed on half measures that don't work and haven't worked for the past 50 years.  If you have read Redemption and the other materials I mentioned, you should know that."

There you have it - our latest No Kill expert explains the errors of our ways - had we only just "read the book" history would have been different and thousands of innocent lives that we in rescue killed would still be alive.  Of course, Billy would know that, after all, he's not one of "those" killing apologists from the rescue community.

His final comment explains it all "Collaboration is completely overrated. The only thing that counts is what is true, and what is effective. The train doesn't have to stop for anybody. I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of social justice movements. Perhaps you should read The People's History of the United States."

To think, all these years we've been doing this all wrong.  Thank you Billy for showing us the errors of our ways.

MDAS Comcast Pets - if you want to help




Animal Services Location and Hours
Miami-Dade Animal Services is an open-admission shelter meaning that no homeless animal is turned away. Our goal is to reunite lost pets with their owners and when that is not possible, find a new home for them, provided that they are healthy and not aggressive.
Animal Services has a myriad of responsibilities, including the enforcement of Chapter 5 of the Code of Miami-Dade County. The code addresses a number of regulations, including cruelty and special breed issues; but the Department also specifically serves the population of homeless animals in Miami-Dade County.
Shelter Address:
7401 NW 74 Street
Miami, Florida 33166
Telephone: Dial 311
 Adoption and Lost and Found
Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday 10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
 Animal Citation Payment
Room 106
Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Closed on Saturday and Sunday
 Rabies and Microchip Clinic Hours
Monday - Friday 10:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
 Facility Hours
Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Pet Surrender / Pet Euthanasia
Monday - Friday 8 a.m.- 6:30 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Closed all major holidays
County Clerk, Code Enforcement (citation and license fees payments)
111 NW 1 St., Suite 1750.
Miami, Florida, 33128
Office Hours:
Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Miami Dade Implements new cleaning protocol

Miami Dade Animal Services has released details of it's new cleaning procedure for West Wing.
Cleaning Procedures
We are in the process of updating the official Standard Operating Procedures with regards to sanitation but this memo will serve as a review of how the west wing is now flowing.
Each morning, the kennel staff feeds and moves the west wing dogs to the inside part of the runs and proceeds to clean the outside section.  First, all material such as feces, vomit or toys, are removed.  Then the degreaser/Bio 12 is sprayed on all surfaces (including water buckets) and scrubbed with a scrub brush then rinsed with water and dried with a squeegee.  The bleach, in a separate canister, with the orange plastic piece in the inside tubing that ensures the proper dilution (1:32) is dispensed and sprayed on all surfaces.
At no time should the degreaser and the bleach be mixed or the bleach poured directly on material.  Doing that inactivates the degreaser and the bleach so they  must be used separately.
The respiratory (RED) section dogs should only be moved to the inside part of the runs when the quarantine section dogs (across from RED) are on the outside.  We don’t want to expose the dogs in that section to respiratory infections!
When a dog is removed from a run and leaving, the water bucket should be turned upside down as the universal sign that the kennel staff needs to clean and disinfect the run or cage.  This is very important to ensure that we are decreasing cross contamination as much as possible.
Enforcement Placing Dogs in west wing
Once the north and south east sections of the west wing are full (one dog per run), you may begin using the quarantine section as the 3 sections are currently serving the same purpose.
Lost and Found
When touring pet owners who have lost their pets, please begin at west wing #1.  The cage cards for the RED section are hanging on the gate so if the pet owner does not see their dog, there is no need for them to enter the RED section.  Proceed through the middle of the west wing and show them the other two sections on the north side of the west wing.  If you do have to enter the RED section, take only one family member and wear the booties provided.  Please do not allow people to touch the RED dogs to avoid cross contamination.  As always, when dogs are leaving the RED section, they should exit by the northwest corner to go to euthanasia or the gate by the Annex to leave for adoption or rescue.
Thank you for your attention to these important details that will help us keep our shelter pets healthy!
Dr. Sara Pizano, Director
Miami-Dade Animal Services Department
7401 NW 74 St.
Miami, FL 33166
Phone: (305) 805-5982
Fax: (305) 805-1619

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

With the brain of a squirrel and the ramblings of a nut

So, you ask - what is this "Drats, the squirrels and nuts" are taking over.  Quite simply, this blog captures the moment of clarity that exposes leaders in our advocacy and the truth behind their rambling.

This week winner of the Rocky and Bullwinkle "Peabody Award" for most outrageous comments coming from someone who should be capable of having an intelligent thought goes to "MICHELLE L = one of the leaders of No Kill Nation.

In a discussion about the leadership at MDAS, concerns were raised about whether changes in leadership at MDAS might end up being worse for those rescue partners and ultimately lead to more killing, not less.  This poorly thought out campaign to remove Dr Pizano wasn't based on any investigation into Dr Pizano's record introducing change at MDAS but entirely on an unfortunate situation that occured at the shelter while she was on vacation.  The statements in support of firing or forcing Dr Pizano resignation offer no evidence that such a change would bring about the cherished end of killing as the cultists suggest.

Here's our Michelle's take on bringing in new management.

Michele writes:
"....... please stop being a naysayer. If you don't like our course of action, then move on.
We will not stop fighting because they may or may not allow pictures or join the police department again. What if they DON'T? Pizano didn't change shit and stop defending them."

Fact check:  So, No Kill Nation isn't concerned whether during an interim period new management might be the police department and it is irrelevant whether they allow pictures to be taken.  Maybe Michelle could explain where in Redemption this trade off would move MDAS in the right direction towards killing less animals?  Fact:  NKN leadership is willing to trade off the fate of any dogs or cats entering the shelter - gambling on their agenda of "regieme change" instead.  This fact isn't shared by the many rescue partners who have worked diligently towards rescuing animals at MDAS under the current shelter administration.

Michelle:  "We are starting to think that you work for Miami-Dade.   Pizano did nothing. All that happened was that FB rescue groups starting saving more dogs because of their ability to network. Pizano had nothing to do with that, because she changed NOTHING--except maybe her salary which probably went up."

Fact check:  I don't work for Miami Dade, nor do I live in South Florida.  MDAS Five Year Report lists among the changes that Dr Pizano has implemented is the "Rescue Partner Program" which has produced sustancially more dogs and cats being moved to rescue then before she became shelter manager.  Fact is there wasn't a workable relationship partnering with the rescue community before she took over.

If Michelle's thought process thinks that I work for MDAS why would anyone assume her thought process that leads to a solution is any more carefully thought out?

Michelle- And actually it was the Mayor (when he was in the police department) who was formerly in charge of MDAS when their million dollar donations went missing and was NEVER investigated.
And even if hypothetically Pizano did have something to do with the numbers dropping, killing 54 animals a day is NEVER acceptable.

Fact check - Everyone agrees that shelter management under the police department was more about the corruption then it was about saving animals at MDAS.  The conditions that pet endured under the old management were horrible.  Everyone agrees, including Dr Pizano that the killing is not acceptable.  The difference is Dr Pizano has presented a plan that will work on lowering intake levels at the shelter, thus far advocates are still waiting for No Kill Nation's ideas and plans.

When can we expect this plan in writing? 

When will the Nathan Winograd clearly address the issues facing MDAs.  It iks a well known fact that all the leaders of the No Kill Movement, including Nathan, Mike Fry and Mitch (shelter director from Reno) were in south Florida last fall yet no oned at No Kill Nation thought it wss important enough to visit what is being dubbed such a horrible shelter?  I guess they were too busy patting each others on the back while sipping their cocktails.

Michelle - They should have been doing everything in their power to get those animals adopted! Instead of firing a whistleblower,who was saving animals, and keeping the CRUEL, SADISTIC HEARTSTICKING KILLER.

Fact Check - The shelter is doing everything in their power to get these animals adopted or out to rescue.  Unfortunately, there is not enough support from the community to furfill that goal.  As much as we talk about the cats who were killed in this incident the fact remains had a rescue group pulled those cats they would still be alive today.  Does it really matter how they die or should the focus be shifted toi what need to be done to move more 20,000 more dogs and cats back into an rescue and pet community that is woeingly inadequate to handle those numbers? 

Miami Dade is not alone with a huge shelter killing problem.  Fact is, there are anogther 58,000 dogs and cats being killed in nearby Broward and West Palm County as well. 

How does Miami dade compete when the shelter at MDAS is so horribly old?  With solid management that works towards solutions rather then fixating on what's wrong.

Michelle - You have no knowledge of the REAL issues of MDAS nor of the No Kill movement, so please stop diffusing our message.

Fact Check - This writer has been working on shelter issues related to MDAS since 2002.  This would suggest my background on MDAS goes back to days when Ms Lazaoroe was still in high school learning to walk and talk.  As for my involvement in Miami Dade I am the founder for a group called the Miami Dade Rescue Railroad which has worked WITH both the old police department regieme and the new administration under Dr Pizano. 

My knowledge of "No Kill" includes ten years "in the trenches" of the shelter reform movement.  My contributions include formation of local citizen coalitions including We the Pet Owners of Gwinnett", a political action group focused on raising awareneess on pet issues in our community in 2008, No Kill Gwinnett - a coalition that has worked on reforming our local shelter, formed in the summer of 2010 and a group called Southern Style Shelter Reform which consisted of a group of advocates working on shelter reform in Georgia (2007). 

My advocacy work and resume on shelter reform speaks for itself.  What about the rest of the No Kill Nation team- what is their contribution? 

Perhaps, Michelle, Amy R or Debi Day for that matter would care to share THEIR resume on shelter reform or were they have worked effectively in any group setting?  How about George Moris - what shelters has he reformed?  Just because your able to create an organization that exists only in cyber-world doesn't tranlate into having any shelter reform experience.

Michelle - It is not just AMY who is fighting this. She has THOUSANDS of angry residents and rescuers behind her.  You are misinformed and you are trying to diffuse our message. Please move on."

Fact check:  It's irrelevant how many people are angry about MDAS.  What' important is how many are willing to put aside their anger in working WITH the shelter to find solutions.  Anger, name calling and telling advocates who offer a different perspective won't find you those solutions, although as Michelle admits - these angry exchanges very well could lead to far more killing.  None of us have the right to suggest the animals who end up as "collaterol damage" during this battle are expendable, especially when reconcilliation offers a much safer future. 

You might say I have moved on - I'm no longer wasting time communication with those entrenched in ignorant choices and have instead created THIS BLOG "Drats, the Squirrels and Nuts have taken over.

So, Michelle - take a bow - you are our winner of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Peabody Award for hard work working to spread ignorance.

No Kill Gwinnett on Twitter!/by20hounds
Miami Dade Rescue Railroad on Facebook:!/pages/Miami-Dade-Rescue-Railroad/150163931678946
No Kill Gwinnett on Facebook!/pages/No-Kill-Gwinnett/126165217428735?v=info
We the Pet Owners of Gwinnett on Facebook!/pages/We-the-Pet-Owners-of-Gwinnett/146231598744336
We the Pet Owners of Gwinnett
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Is Pet Overpopulation a Myth?

  • Nathan Winograd is the author of "Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America" and director of the national No Kill Advocacy Center. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School, a former criminal prosecutor and corporate attorney, and was director of operations for the San Francisco SPCA and executive director of the Tompkins County SPCA, two of the most successful shelters in the nation. Photo courtesy Nathan Winograd.

We've all read by now the various arguments about the "myth of pet overpopulation" that first surfaced in Nathan Winograd's 2007 release of Redemption. 

The Myth of Pet Overpopulation did not originate with the release of Redemption but was first circulated in a book written by Patti and Rod Strand fourteen years earlier in a book called "The Hijacking of the Humane Movement Animal Extremism.

The Hijacking of the Humane Movement Animal Extremism: (1993) Author: Patti Strand, Rod Strand

Patti Strand is a long time Board Member of the American Kennel Club who chaired the infamous "High Volume Breeders Committee" in November of 2002 as the AKC struggled with finding ways to increase litter registrations by recruiting "High Volume Breeders" to join the ranks. 

Strand is also the founder and president of the National Animal Interest Alliance a political action group that represents and protects the legal interests of a diverse "animal use" groups including commercial breeders (puppy mills), furriers, hunters animals "used" for research.  

The National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) was founded in 1991.  According to their mission statement the NAIA  "supports the responsible and humane use of animals for food, clothing, medical research, companionship, assistance, recreation, entertainment and education.". 

Does the NAIA support the rescue community?  Here's a quote praising the defeat of the Puppy Mill Protection Act in 2002:

NAIA also notes that campaigns to stop pet overpopulation have been so successful they have caused a shortage of puppies and small dogs in many shelters. Rather than declare success and close their doors, some of these shelters now pay for puppies and dogs and import them from other cities, territories and countries so they will have dogs available for adoption.  NAIA believes some of the rescue groups and shelters participating in this relocation process are acting as dealers and pet stores and should be licensed accordingly.

If we are to believe according to Patti Strand pet overpopulation ceased to exist close to ten years ago.  How many of YOU have had to resort to importing puppies from overseas to keep your doors open and to continue to rake in them profits?  

How many animal advocates would rightfully be skeptical on the words of a woman who represents the AKC, founded the county's most prominent animal use group the NAIA, encourages the AKC to expand it;s reach and support irresponsible commercial breeders who support the NAIA, who supports Hunte Corporation (the world's largest puppy mill distributor and has supported the AKC's partnership agreement with Petland?  Where does credibility comes in play?

So, why does the self proclaimed guru of the No Kill Movement give creditability to Strand's unproven thesis based on a flawed Shelter Statistics Survey study conducted from 1994-1997?  

While Nathan Winograd promotes the "Myth of Pet Overpopulation" to offer false hope for shelter reformists - Patti Strand uses the "myth" to promote and protect commercial breeding. 

In what should be classified in an extremely "strange" collaboration, both distance themselves or ignore the effect mass breeding has as a contributing factor that promotes irresponsible breeding, irresponsible pet ownership and the resulting high number of dogs that ultimately end up filling our public kill shelters.

Even if, one chooses not to make the connection between puppies sold through pet stores (puppy mill products) and the problem with high kill shelters how does one support the cruelty involved in forcing breeding stock to live out their lives in cages?

While Redemption rightfully rails on shelters that kill with empty cages shouldn't we be equally outraged with dogs forced to live out their lives in a cage simply to supply puppies to areas where there are dogs being killed in our public shelters?

Nathan Winograd's and the leaders of the No Kill Movement's silence on this issue is deafening to all the dogs who suffer through this miserable puppy mill existence.  You can't rail out against the abuse that goes on in our shelters while ignoring often times worse abuse at the hands of kennels run by greedy puppy miller where the only motivation is profits.

In doing so, Winograd attempts to completely remove breeder responsibility from his No Kill Equation,  The result is Winograd shifts all the blame on our overcrowded shelter system and the besieged shelter directors stuck with doing society's dirty work of killing.

While this writer believes there is enough blame to go around it is also imperative that advocates, rescuers and pet owners do their OWN research on this important issue.  Once you start peeling away the layers you are left with the unsightly reality we all face - that unless we proactively campaign to reduce irresponsible pet ownership, demand tighter restrictions on irresponsible breeders and work towards building partnerships with our shelters, as opposed to this dotted line support being given irresponsible breeders - we will never reach our dream of a No Kill Nation.

Is Pet Overpopulation a Myth?

In an article called "Is pet overpopulation a myth?  Inside Nathan Winograd's "Redemption" Christie Keith wrote this in an article posted on SF Gate:

"In the still-heated debate over reducing shelters deaths in California, there is probably no more polarizing figure than Nathan Winograd, former director of operations for the San Francisco SPCA.
At first glance, Winograd has all the credentials any animal rights activist or shelter professional could ask for. He's a vegan. He left a lucrative career as a prosecuting attorney to devote himself to helping animals. Last year, his income was only $35,000. He has spearheaded the No Kill Advocacy Center, a national organization aimed at ending the killing of pets in animal shelters. While director of operations at the San Francisco SPCA, he worked with then-president Richard Avanzino to implement a wide variety of animal livesaving programs, and then went on to achieve similar success as director of a rural shelter in upstate New York.

For the sake of full disclosure, Ms Keith also writes articles for the "Pet Connection" which reports on various issues involving the American Kennel Club.  For the sake of accuracy, Nathan Winograd's tenure as "Director of Operations" at the San Francisco SPCA was limited to a period of less then two weeks.  In future articles I will explore the history, politics, facts and fiction of the No Kill successes in Tompkins, Reno, and Austin, Tx.

The first step is GET INFORMED.  Don't believe everything you read, much of what you read is nothing more than spin, especially by those with books to sell, webinars to hawk or tickets to the circus to sell.  Do your own research before opening up your check book and your hearts to but another animal welfare organization promising far more then they can deliver.

The Shelter Statistics Survey, 1994-97
This Survey, initiated in 1994, by the NCPPSP gathered the names of shelters and organizations believed to be sheltering animals. Only shelters that housed more than 100 dogs and/or cats each year were included. The final list had 5,042 names. All responses were kept confidential.  Information linking the names of shelters with their responses was not released.

A survey card was constructed requesting shelter name, address, contact person and phone number. In addition, data were requested for the number of dogs and cats entering the shelters through animal control, owner relinquishment or other methods, and for the number of dogs and cats exiting the shelters through adoption, owner reclamation, euthanasia or other methods. Kittens and puppies were counted in the cat and dog categories, respectively. The data card was sent to the initial list of shelters in February 1995 requesting data for 1994. Reminder cards were sent out later that year. Changes to the mailing list were continuously made in response to shelter comments. The study was repeated for 1995, 1996 and 1997. The collection of data by means of survey cards was halted due to the low percentage of response by animal shelters.

While others might conclude that a fifteen year old study of a small sampling of shelter numbers that was halted due to a low percentage of responses by animal shelters is something we should blindly follow.  Most shelter and rescue advocates admit that our personal observations in the trenches of our own local shelters consistently tells us an entirely different analogy of pet overpopulation.  We can not agree with any analogy that there is NOT a pet overpopulation crisis in our own communities based on on those observations.  Not only are all the public shelters constantly full but most of the rescue groups and humane no kill shelters are full as well.

I can not find any degree of truth in the denial of a pet overpopulation crisis in Florida either.  How do you explain away the fact that over 78,000 dogs and cats are killed in South Florida alone?  When you start adding the numbers of dogs and cats killed the numbers are startling.

"Drats the squirrels and nuts are taking over" was created to explore these issues and to open up an honest dialog for discussion.  There has been an effort by the "No Kill Movement" to stifle this conversation by accusing anyone who questions any of the positions taken with accusations of "not knowing the facts, not having read Redemption, being part of the problem and being advised to shut up. 

Stay tuned for the rest of the story - shutting up is not an option.

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Update on Miami Dade Animal Services

Here is the latest update from Miami Dade Animal Services

From the desk of Dr Sara Pizano

As you know, we invited the University of Florida Shelter Medicine Team to do an analysis of the shelter and evaluate the level of infectious diseases between March 21 and 23.  Initially, 45 shelter dogs and puppies were tested for Distemper and a variety of other diseases including Streptococcus zooepidemicus (Strep zoo).  30 tested positive for the Distemper virus and 12 tested positive for the bacteria Strep zoo.

Based on the increased number of cases of reported Distemper, in particular on March 23, we decided to temporarily suspend the intake of puppies and dogs as well as the unconfined stray dog pick up and the Rabies/Microchip Clinic.  There are several reasons that the infectious disease level escalated that include:
  • An inadequately designed facility that is impossible to appropriately thoroughly disinfect
  • The absence of both a Clinic Supervisors and Kennel Supervisors to ensure the flow of shelter pets and staff not paying attention to the risks of cross contamination
  • Severe overcrowding
The University of Florida is still working on site with us and will eventually have a full report and list of recommendations, many of which are already being implemented.

Time Line of Events and Action Plan

March 24
  • Press Release sent announcing temporarily suspended services to media, area shelters and local veterinarians
  • The adoption of dogs/cats/puppies and kittens was never suspended
All shelter dogs and puppies received 48 hour-acting penicillin injection because 12 dogs tested positive for Strep zoo.  (Some of you may also remember that there was a problem in the shelter in February of 2008 with the bacteria Strep zoo.  At that time, we partially closed the shelter while all shelter pets received antibiotics.  Little is known about how or why Strep zoo infects certain dogs and not others but 12 dogs were lost during that outbreak in 2008, which was controlled immediately.  This is in comparison to another mid-west shelter that lost over 1,000 dogs due to a Strep zoo outbreak.)

March 25
  • Began publishing daily Action Plan for staff and volunteers so everyone was aware of daily changes and plans
March 26

  • Thanks to the University of Florida, Pfizer donated over $8,000 of the week-long acting antibiotic injection Convenia.  Since we did not know if the strain of Strep zoo was sensitive to the Convenia, adopters and rescue partners were also given a prescription for free antibiotics at Publix.  Once the culture proved that the Convenia would kill the Strep zoo, all adopters and rescues were contacted with that information so they could safely stop the oral antibiotics.
March 24-27
  • The shelter staff stayed open late each night to help all interested adopters and Rescue Partners
  • Over 500 shelter pets went to a Rescue Partner or were adopted
  • All dogs/puppies went with a Medical Release due to the Distemper exposure or infection and people informed they were responsible for medical care and to not expose them to other canines.
  • The University of Florida sets up an online survey and hotline so all exposed dogs and puppies can be tested for Distemper  and over 100 samples have already been collected

March 26 and 27

  • County Manager waives pull and adoption fees for remaining shelter population
  • All adopters categorized so enforcement officers can follow up and ensure the cats and dogs were in the registered home and being cared for (as of April 6, 77 adopters have been visited or contacted)

March 26
  • 40 x40 tent set up on property with walls, air conditioning and lights for injured dogs/puppies, police cases and confiscations.  This tent was considered GREEN, or healthy pets, because none of those pets were exposed to the original population.
March 27-present
  • Staff stationed at front gate to ensure Distemper pets do not enter building and clients educated about available services
March 28
  • In communication with Humane Society of Broward County and Animal Control
  • West wing disinfection begins
    • Drains cleaned by sewage company (done on a monthly basis anyway)
    • Drain covers removed and cleaned
    • Disinfection of walls, floors, etc. monitored
  • Disinfection of adoption building begins
    • Open cinder blocks with roaches and mice under banks of cages found, coordinated with pest control companies
    • Demolition of concrete slabs and cinder blocks begins so can put cage banks on wheels
    • Planning of projects
      • Add runs in back of N adoption runs so dogs can be placed there instead of tethering so safe during disinfection
      • Trees cut down behind N runs because leaves were clogging drains
      • All adoption cages removed from building, disassembled and disinfected
      • Tile floor removed in entire adoption hallway
      • All cages in recovery and T removed from building, disassembled and disinfected and plastic walls removed from walls
      • Floors in T and recovery demolished
      • Company hired to fabricate bases with wheels for cage banks
      • Cat condos ordered
      • Painting of west wing almost completed

March 29
  • Culture proves Convenia sensitive to Strep zoo so University of Florida and Animal Services staff begin calling adopters and rescues to let them know they can stop the cephalexin antibiotic and to check pet’s health
  • 20 x 20 tent set up on property with walls, air conditioning and lights for 4 remaining dogs from original population.  Staff in this RED or exposed tent, were not permitted in the GREEN tent to avoid cross contamination
March 30
  • Puppy brought in by owner, not adopted from Animal Services, to be euthanized for Distemper
  • Dogs from GREEN tent with respiratory signs added to RED tent
  • These are several examples proving the endemic nature of Distemper and respiratory disease in our community.  Three of those dogs from the GREEN tent tested positive for Distemper
March 31
  • Moved dogs from GREEN tent into the west wing
  • Moved dogs from RED tent into RED section in west wing
April 3
  • Opened Rabies/Microchip Clinic for the public
  • Increased MAC spay/neuter days from 2 to 4 so Monday/Tuesday dogs for $25 and Thursday/Friday for cats for $15

Current Status and Timeline

Adoptions remains in the west wing for dogs and puppies and Cat Receiving is serving as receiving and cat adoptions. 

The concrete slabs in 7 adoption rooms have been demolished which has been very time consuming so we are now in the process of doing the floors in the entire shelter area.  Once the surgery and recovery areas are done, we will be scheduling spay/neuter surgeries for our adopters as we have a backlog of several months.  Those pets adopted recently will not have surgery for two months to ensure they are not going to break with Distemper or be shedding the virus.

Once the floors in the shelter area and N runs have been redone we will be able to resume normal services.  We are unsure when the vendors will be finished all the necessary work at this time but are trying to expedite all projects.  We do not anticipate resuming all normal services for approximately 2 weeks.

We are in the process of updating several Standard Operating Procedures with respect to sanitation, flow of pets, holds and the handling of shelter pets with respiratory signs.  The University of Florida has continued to re-train staff in these areas.

Plans to Decrease Shelter Intake

Every shelter struggles with infectious diseases and Distemper is disturbingly common in our community due to lack of immunity/vaccinations.  One of the reasons that the infectious disease load became so widespread at Animal Services is because of the sheer volume of animals abandoned each day and being overcrowded due to constant requests to extend holds.  We want nothing more than to have every pet saved but it is inhumane to overcrowd the shelter and continue to expose so many animals to infectious diseases.  We have introduced or are introducing the following in hopes that people can make a more educated decision about leaving a pet with us and look for alternatives:

We have invited our Rescue Partners to stay in receiving and pull animals directly from receiving, before the pet enters the shelter.  Partners must contact Xiomara Mordcovich at to schedule time. As usual, contacts would have to approve all pets being transferred. We were scheduled to begin this program April 4 but have postponed it due to the renovations.
  • If a pet is being surrendered by their owner, the Rescue Partner has the option of signing the pet directly over to them and not paying a pull fee. In that case, no services would be provided by Animal Services.
  • If a pet is being surrendered by their owner and the Rescue Partner wants all regular services, the pet would be signed in and then transferred to the Rescue Partner at the regular fee and surgery scheduled at a later time if needed.
  • If a pet is a stray with a mandatory hold, the pet will be signed in and the picture taken for the foster board and signed out to the Rescue Partner at the regular pull fee under foster care.
We are asking for volunteers to be stationed in receiving to educate people about the risk of infectious disease exposure and euthanasia for the pet and offer alternatives to surrendering the pet to the shelter.

A recommendation of the University of Florida and at least one commissioner, is to stop taking in owner-surrendered pets since we do not have the facility or staff to care for them properly. The Department is not obligated by law to do so and we are looking at ways to create alternatives for these pets. This is not in the official plan right now but under consideration.

Plans to Decrease Length of Stay

We are making every effort to get pets out of the shelter as fast as possible so their exposure to infectious diseases is minimized and we are better able to handle the number of animals in the shelter.

  • There will no longer be adoption holds placed on pets, it will be first come, first serve in an effort to get pets out of the shelter as soon as possible.
  • Anyone in Miami-Dade County may be part of the Foster-to-Adopt program if interested in a pet during the stray hold (they must be a Miami-Dade County resident and the pet have no traceable identification). They would sign an agreement stating they understand they would have to return the pet should the owner be found within the stray hold and understand they are not the official owner until the stray hold is over. They would pay the regular adoption fee and spay/neuter deposit if necessary, all of which would be reimbursed if the pet was returned to their owner.
  • Interested adopters from other counties would have to wait until the stray hold period is over and again, it would be first come, first serve.

All current holds on shelter pets are being honored.  Beginning April 14, we are trying a pilot program in attempt to fast track shelter pets.  Rescue Partners, in addition to being able to schedule time in receiving, will be able to place 24 hour holds for pick up.

All spay/neuter surgeries would be scheduled after the dogs and puppies received a second booster vaccine.

Upcoming Events

Sunday, April 10

Second Distemper Vaccine Event at Animal Services, 10am-4pm

Sunday, April 17

Free roaming cat spay/neuter day sponsored by Commissioner Jose ‘Pepe’ Diaz Saturday April 30 and

Sunday May 1
'Nothing Like a Pet’ ASPCA Partnership Community Adoption Event at Animal Services, the Humane Society of Greater Miami and the Spay/Neuter Clinic in Cutler Bay with Cat Network.

Ways to Help

Many people have asked how they can help make a difference for our shelter pets and help change what happens at Animal Services.

  • Make a financial donation to the Animal Services Trust Fund by donating online at .  The fund is used to supplement the spay/neuter program on the MAC for the public, to purchase items for shelter pets like toys and beds and can be used to improve the building.
  • Become a volunteer at Animal Services and help care for our shelter pets, work in receiving educating those surrendering, help with adoptions or virtually with our Pet Detectives Club reuniting pets with their families or become a Puppy Foster Parent.
  • Make a financial donation to the Spay/Neuter Miami Foundation, Inc. (formerly the Animal Services Foundation) that is focusing on funding low cost spay/neuter programs.  Most recently, the foundation sponsored the last free roaming spay/neuter event and 115 cats were sterilized with volunteer vets.
  • Print and distribute our Wish List from our website.
Thank you, to all of you who care so much about our shelter pets and work so tirelessly on their behalf.  We are committed to improving the way we operate and saving as many pets as possible and appreciate your patience, understanding and support.

Dr. Sara Pizano, Director
Miami Dade Animal Services Department
7401 NW 74 Street
Miami, Fl 33166

Phone: (305) 805-5982
Fax: (305) 805-1619

Contact the shelter for more information

To learn more on how YOU can help the dogs and cats at MDAS follow us on Facebook!/pages/Miami-Dade-Rescue-Railroad/150163931678946