AR-News: (FL - US)Miami Dade Shelter is investigated by HSUS

Snugglezzz at Snugglezzz at
Wed Jun 23 11:52:44 EDT 2004

  Last weeks public hearings with the Humane Society hired to investigate conditions at the Miami Dade Shelter brought out many emotions that have been building in the community about the quality of care that MAC provides the county's homeless pets.
HSUS will prepare recommendations that should be ready in September hoping to improve the conditions at the shelter.
>From this meeting however, two suggestions deserve some serious consideration.  The first was the suggestion to privatize the shelter and allow a professional animal welfare orhanization to take over care of the animals housed in the shelter.  
The other was to take a serious look at mandatory spay/neutering in the community.  It might well be time to put ALL the cards on the table including breeder licensing as well.     
FL - MIAMI-DADE County animal services criticized 
The Miami-Dade Police Animal Services Unit came in for harsh criticism before a team from the Humane Society of the United States.

miamipr at

Animal lovers lined up Monday to criticize the county's Animal Services Unit, saying the facility was mismanaged and that animals were mistreated.

The outburst came during a public hearing by a five-member team from the Humane Society of the United States, which is preparing a report on the much-maligned unit.

Representatives from Miami-Dade police, which runs Animal Services, sat at the rear of the room as 35 people -- from an audience of about 100 -- took turns criticizing how the shelter is run.

Many punctuated their comments with what they said were personal accounts of cruel and abusive treatment -- such as a lack of water bowls and working fans and a Rottweiler with a broken leg left crying for hours in a cage.

Police Capt. Carlos Vazquez said the department would await the outcome of the Humane Society report, which is due to County Manager George Burgess in mid-September.

Those who addressed the Society spoke passionately, and some of them appeared to be on the verge of tears.

Dee Chess of Friends Forever Rescue said poor cleaning procedures were partly to blame for illness among the animals.

Andy Bass of Coastal Poodle Rescue in Pompano Beach said he has been rescuing dogs for over 12 years from Animal Services but that his rescue group recently blacklisted the shelter because of problems with distemper and parvovirus.

''If it was a pet store it would be shut down,'' Bass said. ``Close it and the rescue groups will go out on the streets and take care of the stray animals.''

Veterinarian Elton J. Gissendanner suggested privatizing Animal Services and letting a professional animal welfare organization care for the creatures while allowing the police to do enforcement.

He also urged the society team to consider pushing for a new ordinance making spaying and neutering of all companion animals mandatory with limited exceptions, such as certified breeders.

Xiomara Mordcovich of Miami Pets Alive said Animal Services should ``set the example of good pet care and guardianship.''

She also cited the need for trained, caring staff, socializing animals and improving cleaning procedures.

``You can't market a dog to a family when it is sitting in a dirty cage in its own urine.''

Some of those who spoke suggested that Animal Services would benefit from business procedures including a master plan, a citizens advisory board, policy manuals, accountability, proper record-keeping including microchip ID records, and professional animal welfare top management. Others lamented the end of the volunteer program, which was shut down two months ago.

The Humane Society will work through Friday conducting an on-site inspection.

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