Animal shelter show hides truth about services, kill rate

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez will lead another dog and pony show today. Or should Pet's Trust we call it a dog and cat show?

The opening of the new animal services shelter in Doral is 12 years late, since voters approved it in 2004, but comes less than two months before absentee ballots drop in a hotly contested mayoral race where he is sliding. That is not a coincidence.

It’s also not a solution.

Sure, it’s a little more than a bandaid. This new shelter will be a cleaner facility with newer equipment and space for 100 more dogs, which Ladra bets will fill up in the first week. The dogs will have air conditioning. Woo hoo. But it’s mostly a shiny, new distraction to appease the animal advocate community and another cutie pie puppy photo op for Gimenez et al.

He won’t mention the 15 dogs and 12 cats that were killed in two days last week so they wouldn’t take up room in the new shelter. The dogs had names like Simba and Bruno and Zeus, evidence of a better life once. They were too old or too sick or too ugly to be transported to the new shelter.

Or maybe the county didn’t want to mess up the new “killing room.” How much you wanna bet that’s not included in today’s VIP tour?

Will it take 12 years for the 2012 people’s vote to be respected? Sure, the Pets’ Trust Initiative ballot question was non-binding, a straw ballot. But if 65% of your constituency votes for something, don’t you think you ought to do it? Gimenez has continued to thumb his nose at the 483,491 people who voted for the dedicated funding to a massive spay and neuter program that would bring the county to a no-kill status. Even though that is more than the number of people who have voted for Gimenez. Ever. In all his elections.*

Is that it? Is it jealousy, bruh?

That’s the only reason Ladra can think of that makes any sense as to why he continues to ignore the people’s will, the people’s freaking mandate. That vote was to fund a $20-million plan that would focus on massive spay and neuter programs in retrofitted low-cost neighborhood clinics with an extra $15 a year or so in taxes. The question was exactly as such:

Would you be in favor of the County Commission increasing the countywide general fund millage by 0.1079 mills and applying the additional ad valorem tax revenues generated thereby to fund improved animal services, including:

  • Decreasing the killing of adoptable dogs and cats (historically approximately 20,000 annually);

  • Reducing stray cat populations (currently approximately 400,000 cats); and

  • Funding free and low-cost spay/neuter programs, low-cost veterinary care programs, and responsible pet ownership educational programs?

Carlos Gimenez says we didn’t know what we were voting for. Ladra would argue that the 126,525 people who voted for Gimenez in 2012 didn’t know what they were voting for. That’s much more reasonable.

A dog is visibly nervous, perhaps he senses the other dead animals in the room, as he awaits his fate at the Miami-Dade animal shelter “killing room”

Meanwhile, he has increased the funding and is spending almost as much as the Pets’ Trust plan would have spent, but without making a dent in the stray population. The first year, he increased the funding from $10 million to $14 million for animal services. The next year it went up to $16 million and last year it went up again to $17 million. That is close to the $20 million that was needed in the Pets’ Trust plan, which was written over months and with the participation of our Animal Services Department director and several animal rescue groups and organizations. But instead of going to low-cost spay and neuter services that would lower and control our stray population, Carlos Gimenez hired more veterinarians and technicians at the shelter. The bulk of that money is going to staff salaries and benefits, not to spay and neuter services, which is the only way to make a dent in the stray population control.

About $300,000 went to a consortium of local veterinarians — who fought the Pets’ Trust plan tooth and nail — to do spay and neutering. About 5,000 operations were performed over two years and the money is gone. The Pets’ Trust plan says we need between 100,000 and 125,000 surgeries a year to cut down on the stray population.

And the best thing about it is that the budgeting would have decreased over time. Instead of going up and up like it is now, the budget would be decreasing because fewer surgeries would be needed and fewer animals would be killed.

The numbers the county is reporting from Animal Services now on the 90 percent save rate are a fraud. We have lower kill rates only because they take in fewer dogs and cats. They ship some of what they do take in to other states where we don’t know what happens. They turn people away at the gates. They tell callers to go to Broward. They don’t count owner surrenders if they can convince the owner to euthanize. They refuse to take in strays and abandoned dogs called in by residents.

One drive around the Redland with the activists who go out every evening to feed the strays dumped and abandoned there will prove to anyone that Animal Services is not doing its job (more on that later). A group from Orlando came in one day a few months ago and rescued 54 dogs. In one day. They took them back to Orlando in a caravan of 14 vehicles. You know that if you go out in one day and find 54 stray and abandoned dogs in a 12-hour period that Miami-Dade Animal Services isn’t doing its job.

Carlos Gimenez isn’t doing his job either. He is not representing the people who voted him into office. He just likes to cut ribbons a couple of months before his re-election.

The Pets’ Trust people — now organized as the Animal Power Party political action committee — will have a protest at 10:30 a.m. today in front of the new shelter ribbon cutting, 3599 NW 79 Ave. They ask that protesters wear red in solidarity. The protest has become more about democracy and respecting the people’s vote than even animal welfare.

*Gimenez got 10,844 votes to become District 7 commissioner in 2004, was elected sans opposition in 2008, then got 55,180 votes in the post recall free-for-all of 2011 and 102,445 in the runoff against Julio Robaina, and finally 126,525 votes in 2012 against former Commission Chairman Joe Martinez for a grand total of 293,994 votes. In 2012, a total of 483,491 people voted for the Pets’ Trust.

Disclaimer: Ladra’s alter ego, Elaine de Valle, is working with #TeamRaquel to get Raquel Regalado elected mayor instead of this clown we have now. This blog post, however, is not part of her work product. This is what Ladra does and has done since 2010. This blog has been Carlos Gimenez biggest critic since he was involved in voter fraud in the 2012 election. We will continue to highlight these stories as long as the mainstream media does not. And the fact that Ladra is helping Raquel Regalado does not make any of the aforementioned false. It is all still true.