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New Horror Story About Miami-Dade Animal Shelter

Please read below the horrific story Lee Morrison tells about Miami-Dade County Animal Services. Animals shouldn't be treated like trash! Help save the adoptable animals of Miami-Dade by sending Commissioners letters of complaint about Animal Services. Their email addresses are right under Lee's.

Lies from Mayor Alvarez about Animal Services 
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Dear County Commissioners and Media:

Margery Glickman is telling the truth in her post below.

I was in MDAS in July and asked to save a perfectly groomed, healthy, active, breathtakingly beautiful owner requested euthanasia fullbred Pomerianian. I was in the hallway by the "A" room where animals to be killed are held in cages outside the room's door getting a litter of puppies from the "B" Ward beside it.  When I asked to be permitted to save the Pom's life as well staff informed me they are "NOT ALLOWED TO PERMIT RESCUE OR ADOPTION  OF OWNER REQUESTED EUTHANISIA PETS." By the time I went to ask Dr. Pizano, Xiomara Mordcovitch or Jack Galindo to rescind this horrific rule for this perfectly healthy little dog he/she was killed - it took less than 1-minute from the time I saw the dog to run to the front lobby and access the dog's ID# in the computer. There was zero sense in looking further for one of the three authority figures as the dog was already dead.

From: [email protected] [[email protected]]
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 2010 8:50 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Lies from Mayor Alvarez about Animal Services

The letter (see below) that Mayor Alvarez will be sending in defense of Miami-Dade Animal Services contains lies. Contrary to what Alvarez claims, Animal Services' Standard Operating Procedures for "owner requested euthanasia" do not require Veterinary Technicians to evaluate all pets on their arrival. Here are their Standard Operating Procedures for owner requested euthanasia:

"The ACS [Animal Care Specialist] assigned to receiving will notify you if they have a pet whose owner brought them here to be euthanized (called an 'Owner Requested' euthanasia or 'Owners Request'). You are required to euthanize the animal ASAP or within 30 minutes, once the owner has signed the release form. Enter the information in the 'Outcome' box in Chameleon immediately before the euthanasia takes place. Complete the 'Owner Euthanasia Confirmation Form' attach the form to the cage card and give it to the Supervisor at the end of your shift."

These are their rules in their entirety. Animal Services has yet to document that they have saved one animal whose owner requested euthanasia.

It's unconscionable that instead of making changes that benefit animals, Miami Dade County employees are lying.

- Margery Glickman

According to Dr. Pizano, this is the letter the mayor's office will be sending:

Each day, between 100-200 pets are abandoned at Animal Services.  Last year that number reached almost 36,000 with 80% of those brought in as strays, many of whom had to be held five days.  The Animal Services Department works tirelessly to save as many pets as possible through reunification, adoption and Rescue Partners.  In the FY 09/10, almost 14,000 pets, more than ever before, were saved.

Since Dr. Pizano, a shelter expert and Cornell graduate joined us as Director in 2005, the number of shelter pets saved has more than doubled, a Volunteer Program was created, pain medication and treatment plans were introduced and we now have one of the largest Rescue Partnerships in the country with 62 groups and counting.  But if you ask Dr. Pizano, she will tell you that we are far from done since 20,000 pets were ultimately euthanized last year.  While focusing on saving animals, we are also working hard on targeted spay/neuter initiatives that will decrease shelter intake.  Dr. Pizano created a foundation whose mission is  just that and we were recently named the 10th ASPCA Partner Community that will help us save more animals in the future. 

All pets are evaluated for health and temperament on arrival by Veterinary Technicians with the exception of feral cats, who cannot be handled.  Technicians are taught to know the difference between normal and abnormal physical exam findings and if there are questions or concerns, the Technician writes the pet's information on the Vet Check List.  There are three full time veterinarians at Animal Services, which is open seven days a week.  One veterinarian is scheduled in the Rabies/Microchip Clinic and sees an average of 70 patients a day, while simultaneously responsible for checking/evaluating all the sick and injured shelter pets.  The second veterinarian is performing between 26 and 30 spay/neuter surgeries.  Veterinarians are unable to examine all pets that enter the shelter so their time is used as wisely as possible.

Also, in the FY 09/10, 1,076 owners brought their pets to Animal Services for humane euthanasia.  If owners were declined this service because the pet was healthy, they may have left with the pet or surrendered the pet to the shelter for potential adoption and entered as an 'owner surrender'.  Those particular numbers are not tracked.

To learn more about Animal Services and how you can make a difference, please visit our website at and in particular read the 4 Year Report which we are in the process of updating.   I would also encourage you to research other shelters our size as only then can you appreciate the monumental changes that have occurred at Miami-Dade Animal Services.

Thank you for caring and I hope you join our efforts.

Also note: Mayor Alvarez ran the MDAS as Director of MDPD. On his watch not only were the volunteer and rescue partnership programs  dismantled, but a $1 million dollar MDAS trust fund went "missing." The fund was created by Miami Dade citizens some of whom I know personally on behalf of MDAS. These individuals contributed out of their own pockets and did fundraisers, etc. to create this for the animals.  Mayor Alvarez ran MDAS into the ground. The Office of the Inspector General and Internal Affairs investigated; the HSUS was called in; and that's when MDAS was created as its own stand-alone department because the MDPD had done such a horrific job. To this day we're appalled criminal charges weren't filed and that MDPD hasn't been required by commissioners to reimburse MDAS. 

Lee Morrison

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