Miami-Dade County Commission Approves Plan to Increase Save Rate

Shelter dogIn November, 2012 Miami-Dade County 65% of voters approved a tax increase to improve animal welfare. The vote was non-binding, but the county commission has now approved a plan that would budget $20 million from increased taxes to stop the killing “adoptable” shelter animals and reduce pet overpopulation. Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz sponsored the plan which was put together by Animal Services.

The plan includes free and low cost spay/neuter at the shelter and from mobile van. The South Florida Veterinary Medical Association opposed spay/neuter clinics in low income areas, and that proposal was removed from the plan. The SFVMA did agree to handle an additional 1,500 sterilizations each week.

The plan also includes money for programs to educate people with pets and help them keep their pets instead of surrendering them to the shelter.

The goal would be to increase the save rate of dogs and cats at the shelter to 90% and slow the numbers entering the shelter. Intake at the shelter can be as high as 37,000 animals per year. Alex Diaz, the Animal Services Director, has brought the save rate up to nearly 80% for dogs and 60% for cats.

There was no mention of Miami-Dade County’s onerous pit bull ban that results in the surrender and killing of dogs that may resemble pit bulls. In 2011 it is estimated 200 dogs were euthanized simply because they were thought to resemble pit bulls. Repeal of the ban would immediately increase the county’s save rate.