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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