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The Holocaust at Miami Dade Animal Services

The Holocaust at Miami Dade Animal Services

The Holocaust at Miami Dade Animal Services

There is a great tragedy that has been on-going in Miami Dade county, and in spite of protests, petitions, and calls for action, it continues. The Miami Dade Animal Services (MDAS) shelter currently has a 91% kill rate, which is the highest of any shelter in the country. In 2009, more than 20,000 animals were euthanized out of 27,000, of which 85% were considered healthy and adoptable. (

Inspections and observations from the HSUS, the public, and more have noted deplorable conditions, lack of protocols and structure, complete disregard for animal welfare, and overall apathetic attitudes. Animals that are brought in (via surrender, stray, etc) are hardly given a momentary examination to assess their health and temperament. Animals who show signs of fearfulness, aggression,  poor health (even very mild and treatable), genetic malfunction, or pregnancy are immediately considered non-adoptable and some are euthanized within hours of being brought to the shelter. Animals are seldom scanned for microchips although the shelter has this technology, and are often not photographed or catalogued in the even the animal was someone’s beloved pet. The HSUS’s report from 2004 is heartbreaking. (

After this terrible report, Dr. Sara Pizano was brought in as the new shelter director. Although many activists have called for her head, she has attempted to bring great change to the shelter since her hire. Adoptions are up nearly 300% from 3,002 to 8,334; however the shelter still had to kill more than 24,000 animals.

Rescue organization have begun to try to ease the strain of so many surrendered or stray animals, but are often met with complete apathy. The shelter will agree to hold an animal (or animals) for rescue pick-up, only to destroy the animal hours before the rescuer arrives. Potential adopters  have selected an animal, and returned later that day to find the animal destroyed.

Grace Avila, a former employee, attempted to blow the whistle on the inhumane conditions at MDAS and was terminated on January 10, 2011. She testified that the shelter was using an illegal euthanization method, called “heart sticking” where an intra-cardial injection is used and causes the animal to suffer before death, sometimes many hours because no sedation is used. ( The episode of October 22nd was caught on film and over 30 animals were killed in a matter of 15 minutes by a vet technician. Her sworn statement is enough to bring tears. (

This has brought a storm of controversy with full-scale protests and a staggering onslaught to the MDAS and Mayor’s Alvarez’s facebook  pages. You are welcome to read the stories for yourself.

First, let me say that pet overpopulation is a problem that we face everywhere in America.  We are no stranger to it although we have made great strides to combat it. The Humane Society of the United States has done great work, but there is still much to be done.

Miami Dade Animal Services needs reform, more space, and more assistance. We are in dire need of programs that transport these animals to other cities and states for rehabilitation and a chance of adoption. There have been no end of volunteers for this task with people driving from many states away just to adopt one cat!

We ask that you help in any way you can, through awareness, through action.  If the words of this message do not pull on your heart strings, perhaps some of these images will. (These 188 pictures are only a handful of the images available of the animals who have been destroyed since Jan 15th 2011.)!/album.php?aid=30818&id=153548958025801

Thank you,



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