Tragic ending for fearful dog rescued from Miami Dade Animal Services

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In May 2013, local news Channel 10 in Miami, Florida ran a story on the Miami Dade Animal Services, (MDAS) giving some disturbing and disheartening statistics.  At that time, 40% of all animals entering the shelter would be killed due to lack of staffing and space. According to the shelter director at that time;,they took in 30,000 animals a year. Of those animals, approximately 30 were killed daily, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  Some were killed the very day they were dropped off.

In June 2016, Miami Dade Animal Services moved to a new 70,000 square foot facility which is twice the size of their previous one and sits on five acres. According to Channel 6 News in Miami:

“The new home is intended to give both the animals and those who come to adopt them, a comfortable environment that includes air-conditioned kennels and bigger areas for the animals to play in.

The facility will also allow for Animal Services to expand its spay and neuter services, which is part of the county’s goal to eventually have their shelters be “no kill.”

However, although they have a new facility with much more room, and their kill rate has decreased, the number of animals brought in still exceeds the number of cages. Because of this, many of the animals entering MDAS will not make it out alive through no fault of their own.  On May 3, 2017, a white Labrador retriever mix named Spot was brought in and surrendered by her owner. From day one she was extremely fearful to the point that vaccinations could not be administered to her. That same day, the vet tech examining Spot noted the dog was crouched at the back of her cage and avoided any eye contact.  An anti-anxiety medication was prescribed for Spot to get her over her fears. By May 14, Spot’s behavior had not improved with treatment. She continued to sit trembling in the corner of her cage; emotionally shut down. Due to her “behavioral distress” it was recommended that Spot be transferred to a rescue group for further care and socialization. If she was not placed by May 22, she would be euthanized.

A plea went out to rescue groups to save Spot, and people rejoiced when they heard that Spot was taken in by a group called “Their Lives Matter” rescue. Unfortunately, Spot was not going to get her happy ending. The fearful dog escaped during transport on May 27,2017. After much searching, she was found dead.  No one knows exactly what happened to her or how she died. It is a tragic story all around for two-year-old Spot. First, she was betrayed by her owner, who dumped her at MDAS; not caring how frightening and traumatizing it would be for her. When help finally arrived, the poor dog did not realize she was being helped and fled. According to the transporter, the dog opened the window by pushing on the button and jumped out.

Spot is just one example of the millions of dogs who enter the often overcrowded county animal shelters daily across the nation.  Dogs betrayed by the people they love and trust the most who then become the victims of pet overpopulation brought about by ignorance, negligence and apathy. Unfortunately, Spot cannot be brought back. She will never know the feelings of safety, security and trust.

There are so many more just like her waiting in shelters everywhere. Miami Dade Animal Services is still in need of adopters, fosters, and volunteers. If you can help them, visit their website. 

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A sweet and unusual friendship!




15 replies
  1. Cynthia Como says:

    How crushing and heartbreaking! I’m so outraged that our country finds it acceptable to kill MILLIONS of dogs EVERY SINGLE year!

  2. Adrienne says:

    Fearful dogs need so much help and it is hard to convey to these animals that you are there to help them.What they must have gone through prior to being dumped at a shelter we will never know.Their owner may have treated them poorly prior to dumping them, but that was the only place that felt like home to them, so any strange, new place will put fear in them.Wish there were more animal trainers/behaviorists who could assist these shelters with animals like Spot. Hope she is at peace and running free.

  3. Sheri says:

    My gosh! Isn’t there rescue group that will come in and help take some of these pets?? Won’t people step up to the plate and help this shelter??? Do fund raisers, volunteer their time? C’mon people in the Miami area!!!! Help out!!!!

  4. Sherry says:

    I believe that spot crossed the rainbow bridge; where she was welcomed with the kindness and love from humans and other animals that escaped her in this world. .So sorry we let her down though. Run free and happy, Spot! I went to visit several shelters and pet adoptions over the last few weeks and it is indeed heartbreaking, all the stressors and panic those lovely animals experience. Tears my heart up.

  5. Linda Szymoniak says:

    When I transport rescue dogs they are all in crates – or at the very least, tethered – in my vehicle. If I have more than one dog on the transport, all of them, or all but one, are crated. I will sometimes let one ride “shotgun”, but then are safely tethered and I lock out the automatic window with a button on the driver’s side. My own dog, Ran, loved going places with me and discovered early on how to push the button for the window. Luckily I had her tethered the first time, so she wasn’t able to get out the window (not that she would have from fear, but perhaps seeing something that got her attention). NO animal should ever be loose in a vehicle – they can slip out of open doors, or in the worst case scenario get loose in the case of an accident. It’s heartbreaking that this poor dog was failed by her “owners”. I appreciate that a rescue was willing to try to help, but they do need to work with anyone who transports for them. I’ve been driving rescue transports for seven years and my biggest fear is that a dog get loose from me (especially when handing off between drivers, which is when most escapes happen). RIP, sweet pup. We will continue to work for you!

    • Soraya Esteban says:

      I need help finding homes for my dogs. These dogs I love them dearly, they are rescues. I’ve looked for no kill shelters. I called the Humane of greater Miami who referred me to Miami Dade animal services. I was willing to drive from Hollywood to Doral. After reading the story about spot I’m having second thoughts. Can you recommend a rescue organization that will care and love them as I have. Please help I’m in need of medical attention and can’t take care of them like I have been.

  6. Roselyne CORNETTE says:

    Tant que les peines ne seront pas plus sévères, rien ne changera, arrêtez le sursis et mettez la prison ferme et plus longue. Il y a trop de barbares et d’assassins. Ce sont des parasites qu’il faut éliminer. Pas d’excuses, pas de pitié pour les monstres.

  7. Bunny Peters says:

    RIP poor precious furbaby……. it’s too bad humans failed you……

    When we transport dogs and cats, they are in pet carriers and buckled for safety with seatbelts.

    Also, in our cars, the driver can lock all the windows and doors so that passengers can’t open them {our former neighbors’ 2 year old toddler was able to open a back seat window, fell out of the car while it was on an expressway and was run over by her own mother (tragic, unnecessary death)}……..

  8. Barkley's Mom says:

    Miami Dade was and never will be a good option to leave unwanted pets at, I’m actually surprised they even went as far as to find a rescue for poor Spot. The state of our shelter system in the US is despicable with many like this one and the ones in Texas and California, nothing more than death camps. I’m sorry for poor Spot, she never had a chance. I wish I could wave a magic wand and solve this problem but I don’t know what the answer is!

  9. tina says:

    RIP Spot. I’m sorry you never made to a new loving home. Regarding the window button, for every advancement in technology there’s always a set back. I’m always nervous my dog will to the same.

    • Barkley's Mom says:

      Most cars are equipped with a child proof button that will lock the windows, I know mine is, my Beagle thought it was fun to push the button and open the window.and bark out the window, had to curtail her fun before she fell out,

  10. Pamela Garlisch says:

    It doesn’t sound like that transport or rescue was very knowledgeable about what could happen. I really think that a database needs to be kept for people that relinquish their animals and if they relinquish them they should not be allowed to have another animal ever.

  11. Stephen Lee Phillips says:

    Why the HELL did that transporter NOT CRATE Spot??? In all my years and thousands of transport miles I’ve NEVER failed to crate or tether (with safe, protective harnesses) ALL my precious passengers!
    Only when heading to my lakeshore hone (close by) do my OWN dogs have free movement, and then ONLY after locking out both window and door locks from my driver’s station!
    I lay the responsibility for this tragedy squarely at the feet of that negligent person…
    Rest-in-peace, precious girl…


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