“If You See A Risk And Walk Away…

Then hope you never have to say, I could have saved a life that day, But I chose to look the other way.” From a poem by Don Merrill, “I Chose To Look The Other Way.”

by Anna Cooke, Editor-in-Chief of The New Barker dog magazine.

We have a problem in this state. Call it whatever you want: pet overpopulation. Blame it on the irresponsible public, if you’d like. It has reached epic proportions in Miami-Dade. Law enforcement and government officials are turning the other way, saying it’s not their job, not in their pay grade, not in their circle of knowledge.

Small bands of animal advocates are stepping in, but it’s only a bandaid. The problem is growing, and dogs are dying as a result.

Dogs are being dumped in an area known as the Redland Rock Pit. Volunteers with organizations like the Redland Rock Pit Abandoned Dog Project are trying to help the dogs by either capturing or feeding them have witnessed cars driving up, doors opening to let a dog out, then driving away. In one heartbreaking scene that played out just last week, a German Shepherd Dog chased after his owner’s car. The dog stood on the corner as the white car took off. A volunteer with Racing 4 Rescues coaxed the dog, now named Brady, safely into her car. Racing 4 Rescues volunteers were already in the area with the goal of pulling a momma (another German Shepherd Dog) and her two pups to safety.

Momma and her two pups in the Redland Rock Pit area. Photography by Jaime Wald Seymour-Newton of JSN Photo/Animal Rescue.


Her puppies were pulled. But, momma eluded volunteers with Racing 4 Rescues.

Miami-Dade Animal Services is crowded – at capacity. Same story, different town. This, in spite of a grand opening in June 2016 of the brand new Miami-Dade Animal Services Pet Adoption and Protection Center. “The new Pet Adoption and Protection center is a significant accomplishment for our pet loving community and will help Animal Services continue to save lives,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “We built the best facility to help ensure every pet gets adopted, offer more low-cost spay/neuter services and enrich our life-saving programs,” he added.

Yet, in a response to the Redland Rock Pit problem, the Mayor sent this email last year, around the same time: “The shelter has rescued over 1100 strays from the Redlands/Homestead/Florida City area in this time period (three years). ASD continues to stand ready to respond to any issues identified by volunteers and asks all individuals to provide specific addresses and locations so that they can respond and follow-up on stray animals or cruelty issues.”

Mayor Gimenez, emails and phone calls are going unanswered. The dumped dogs, many of whom are unaltered, are left to fend for themselves. They are breeding, adding to the problem. Cruelty issues include dogs being sacrificed in Santeria rituals. Death by poisoning, or from being hit by cars. Starving to death.  Have you seen some of the cruelties, Mayor?

Welcome to Miami, Florida (warning – graphic images within this video)

Meanwhile, people and businesses from outside your community are coming in to help, donating time, services and food. Resources that could be used to help shelter pets and the pet overpopulation problems in their own communities.

Food, donated by Pet Food Warehouse of St. Petersburg, is loaded onto a truck bound for Miami.
Yoho Automotive & Towing, owned by Danielle Yoho – also the founder and president of Racing 4 Rescues.

But, your situation, Mayor Gimenez, has moved people to want to help, because it is a problem that belongs to all of us. And yet – no word from anyone in your offices, Miami-Dade Animal Services or law enforcement. Tell us, please, what should your constituents do? What can we, as concerned Florida animal advocates, do? We would love to speak with you. We’d love to hear your take on the situation. It is only going to get worse. My email address is anna@thenewbarker.com

Contact the office of Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez: mayor@miamidade.gov Call 305.375.1880.

Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners:

District 1 – Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan: district1@miamidade.gov; 305.375.5694

District 2 – Commissioner Jean Monestime: district2@miamidade.gov; 305.375.4833

District 3 – Vice Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson: district3@miamidade.gov; 305.375.5393

District 4 – Commissioner Sally A Heyman: district4@miamidade.gov; 305.375.5128

District 5 – Commissioner Bruno A. Barreiro: district5@miamidade.gov; 305.643.8525

District 6 – Commissioner Rebeca Sosa: district6@miamidade.gov; 305.375.5696

District 7 – Commissioner Xavier L. Suarez: district7@miamidade.gov; 305.669.4003

District 8 – Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava: district8@miamidade.gov; 305.375.5218

District 9 – Commissioner Dennis C. Moss: DennisMoss@miamidade.gov; 305.375.4832

District 10 – Commissioner Javier D. Souto: district10@miamidade.gov; 305.375.4835

District 11 – Commissioner Joe A. Martinez: district11@miamidade.gov; 305.375.5511

District 12 – Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz: district12@miamidade.gov; 305.375.4343

District 13 – Chairman Esteban L. Bovo, Jr.: district13@miamidade.gov; 305.375.4831

Brady, the dog left behind in front of witnesses at Redland Rock Pit, is in the caring hands of volunteers at Racing 4 Rescues. He has tested HW negative and is receiving treatment for skin issues.



by Anna Cooke, Editor of The New Barker dog magazine.

Yesterday, during NAVC, the North American Veterinary Community conference in Orlando, the Pet Leadership Council (PLC) announced the results of a study conducted by researchers at Mississippi State University (MSU). The study indicates the availability of dogs in animal shelters is at an all-time low. “The findings come when demand for dogs is increasing to new levels,” a quote included in the press release.

The study was developed to determine how many dogs are entering shelters and what happens to them after they do. It found that shelters take in 5.5 million dogs annually. Of those, 2.6 million are adopted, 969 thousand are returned to owner, 778 thousand are transferred and 776 thousand are euthanized.

“When you consider that it’s estimated as many as 20 million dogs were euthanized a year in the 1970s, it’s truly astounding to see how effective the efforts of shelters and the responsible pet industry have proven,” said Bob Vetere, PCL Chairman. “We believe this new research demonstrating the progress we have made will inspire increasingly strong demand for and focus on efforts to ensure responsible breeding and opportunity to meet the growing desire for dogs in our country,” he added.

“Mississippi State’s study will also have a significant impact on the national conversation about responsible pet ownership,” said Mike Bober, President of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and consultant to the PLC. “Without this concrete data as a starting point, it has been all but impossible to discuss solutions because we couldn’t agree on the scope of the problem. This data also provides valuable information for those contemplating legislation that impacts the availability of dogs in their communities.”

We Don’t Have A Pet Overpopulation Problem? Pardon Me?

The MSU report is troubling. First of all, to put it out there that we have a shortfall of adoptable dogs in this country is irresponsible. The number one cause of death for dogs and cats in the developed world is still euthanasia. Almost a million adoptable dogs are euthanized each year in this country alone. While the numbers are an improvement from the numbers in “the 1970s” we still have a long way to go.

And what about the “778 thousand” that are transferred? Transferred where? This, from the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS): “Colleges and universities obtain dogs and cats that they use in education and training from shelters/pounds; Class B random source dealers, biological supply companies. Pound seizure should not be considered a solution to the cat and dog overpopulation problem. The release of companion animals from shelters and pounds to research and teaching labs erodes the very core of a shelter’s purpose.” By the way, MSU is one of those universities that uses live animals for education and training.

Jeff Young, DVM (and star of Animal Planet’s Rocky Mountain Vet) recently wrote in a blog on Animals 24-7, “We cannot adopt, shelter, warehouse or kill our way out of dog and cat overpopulation. We can demand and change what we do, whom we support and how we support them.” Dr. Young believes that spay/neuter should be our society’s primary focus for controlling the pet overpopulation problem.

“Humane organizations have done a lot of great marketing to make so much out of so little,” wrote Dr. Young. “Many get rich while pretending they generally care about the plight of companion animals, while demonstrating genuine care of fewer and fewer. Humane organizations play with words and statistics to make us feel better about overpopulation, euthanasia and shelters.”

Playing with words and statistics is what the MSU study has done to reach its self-serving conclusions.

I am a proponent of the No-Kill movement, and a fan of Nathan Winograd. Many people in animal advocacy are not, including the editors of Animals 24-7 and Dr. Young. Winograd’s writings are often taken out of context to misconstrue the premise of no kill. It is my belief that as a society, no-kill is something we should at least aspire to. Euthanasia, as a means to control pet overpopulation, is just not the answer.

Rather than paraphrase anything Dr. Young wrote, here is the link to his most recent blog. It is radical, but thought-provoking.


Life From A Dog’s Perspective.

A regular column in The New Barker dog magazine is by our favorite Corgi, Guinness (as told to his human, Lon Martin). The column is always the last page in the magazine and has appeared in each issue since 2007. Rosie, his sidekick for many years, has since crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Since it’s Super Bowl week, we thought it appropriate to bring out an oldie but goodie. We discover that super bowl to Guinness and his pals means something entirely different.


Rosie and her super dog hero, Guinness.

So, I was sniffing out my tree-mail and leaving my signature, as needed, until I spotted Rosie getting all serious, shoving her delicate diva-snout in a patch of grass with purpose.  Well, whatever was going on was obviously going to require my personal attention, so I went over to see what was so important.  Rosie had discovered a nicely decomposing lizard that had the  most intoxicating fragrance.  Eau De Decay!

Just as I was about to assimilate the aroma of this claim for myself, Mom decided it was time to move on.  Bummer.  Later that day, I told Smokey, our new puppy pal next door, about our cool find and he was quick to share a few of his own points of interest.  After giving him a good sniff, I could tell even at his young age that he possessed a discerning puppy palette for the good stuff.  Smokey was kinda showing off, so I think he’s sweet on Rosie, but don’t tell him I said that.  Growl of Honor.

Smokey wanted to learn how to play football like a big dog, so I showed him some moves. He used those long Schnauzer puppy legs to his advantage, but he was still a noob!  As the star running back, I was going in for the touchdown and here comes Smokey breaking through and trying to tackle me.  Paw-leeeze.  Score!!  After my very excessive celebration in the end zone, I let Smokey have the football to work practice runs.  Rosie was playing referee and gave me two paws up.

Hut One! Hut Two! Wait, where’s the ball?

After taking turns slurping water, we each lay in the grass breathing really hard and wondering if another dead lizard might be close by.

Yesterday, Daddy told us there was a Superbowl coming up and Rosie and I are very interested to see just how big a “super” bowl can be!  Will it be filled with all the yummy-munchies our Auntie Sheryl sends us?  Or maybe even the most coveted treat: cheese and maybe even turkey?

Whatever the contents, we are anticipating that Superbowl Sunday may well be our favorite Howliday of the year (maybe even better than Growl-O-Ween).