It’s no secret (or surprise) that Miami Dade Animal Services is disease-infested. Animals continually leave the facility sicker than they arrived – and many are rescued only to die shortly thereafter.
MDAS, however, chooses to blame the public for these conditions, citing the drop off of un-vaccinated animals for their situation, and essentially absolving all responsibility. In reality, these diseases could be managed and contained IF MDAS took standard precautions – vaccinated animals on intake, properly cleaned and sanitized the facility, made an effort to quarantine animals, etc. But they do not.
And now, they’re reporting a distemper (and potentially parvo) outbreak at the facility. Their solution? LOCKDOWN. A suspension of all services and intake (see press releases below for a full explanation from MDAS).
Read between the lines – what do you think this means for the approximately 600 or so dogs currently in the facility? Since it’s a canine outbreak, they may not kill the cats right away, but you can be sure that once it’s time to “sanitize” the entire facility … their days will be numbered.
And WHOSE fault is this?! MDAS would have you believe it’s YOUR fault somehow – the public’s – for surrendering un-vaccinated animals. And yet they’ve refused time and time again to accept the assistance of No Kill Nation or implement any life-saving procedures to reduce their kill statistics.
DO NOT let them get away with laying the blame elsewhere, and DO NOT believe their spin. This situation is their fault, and no one else’s. What many fear will be their “solution” (to kill all current dog inhabitants), will NOT solve the problem. Given their procedures, these outbreaks will continue to happen time and time again. The only real fix? Change shelter procedures, change leadership. And in the meantime, for the animals currently at the shelter? Organize responsible rescue efforts to get as many out as possible. NOW.
The shelter has not yet announced how long these animals have before they’re killed … they’re claiming publicly that there will not be an immediate mass killing, but the pressure needs to stay on them to make sure this doesn’t happen. We can’t trust them to do the right thing once the cameras are off – or even on, for that matter (this is the same shelter that once killed a puppy when a camera crew was on the premise …).
Please express your concern to city officials about the current conditions (click here, and you’ll find their contact information at the bottom of the page). Shelter staff should be working tirelessly to reach out to responsible rescue groups to save these animals’ lives … but that would be a little too much to ask for a facility that’s ok with killing 22,000 animals per year.
Check out No Kill Nation’s note about the breaking news, and see the press release from MDAS below.
Press release from Miami Dade Animal Services:
(Miami, FL, March 24, 2011)
The impact and control of infectious diseases is a challenge for every open admission shelter. Many dogs and puppies are not vaccinated prior to entering shelters and are incubating viruses, such as Parvo and Distemper.
In the FY 09/10, 36,000 animals were abandoned at Animal Services, creating overcrowding and stressful conditions for the shelter pets, which leads to the spread of infectious diseases. Distemper, in particular, has become endemic in the shelter and all dogs and puppies are ill or considered exposed and at risk. After a thorough collaboration with the University of Florida’s Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program veterinary experts in infectious disease and the ASPCA, and in an effort to decrease the pathogen load in the shelter, the following services will be temporarily suspended for no more than two weeks, effective immediately.
* Services Temporarily Suspended
Intake of all dogs and puppies by the public
Stray dog pick up by Animal Control Officers (if unconfined)
Spay/Neuter surgery for current shelter dogs and puppies
*Services operating normally
Cat and kitten intake, adoption and spay/neuter surgeries
Adoption of puppies and dogs with disclaimer regarding Distemper exposure
Lost and Found/Return to Owner
Investigations (animal cruelty, dangerous dogs, etc.)
Purchase of licenses
Payment of citations
MAC spay/neuter surgery programs for the public’s animals (dogs on Tuesdays and cats on Thursdays)
Animal Services will no longer accept owner surrendered pets.
Miami-Dade Animal Services is responsible for enforcing Chapter 5 of the Miami-Dade County Code, as well as Florida Statute 828, which deals primarily with animal cruelty issues. Each year, the shelter impounds more than 36,000 pets. The goal at Animal Services is to reunite lost pets with their families or find life-long homes for as many animals as possible.