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.
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?
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact the office of Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez: email@example.com Call 305.375.1880.
Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners:
District 1 – Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan: firstname.lastname@example.org; 305.375.5694
District 2 – Commissioner Jean Monestime: email@example.com; 305.375.4833
District 3 – Vice Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson: firstname.lastname@example.org; 305.375.5393
District 4 – Commissioner Sally A Heyman: email@example.com; 305.375.5128
District 5 – Commissioner Bruno A. Barreiro: firstname.lastname@example.org; 305.643.8525
District 6 – Commissioner Rebeca Sosa: email@example.com; 305.375.5696
District 7 – Commissioner Xavier L. Suarez: firstname.lastname@example.org; 305.669.4003
District 8 – Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava: email@example.com; 305.375.5218
District 9 – Commissioner Dennis C. Moss: DennisMoss@miamidade.gov; 305.375.4832
District 10 – Commissioner Javier D. Souto: firstname.lastname@example.org; 305.375.4835
District 11 – Commissioner Joe A. Martinez: email@example.com; 305.375.5511
District 12 – Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz: firstname.lastname@example.org; 305.375.4343
District 13 – Chairman Esteban L. Bovo, Jr.: email@example.com; 305.375.4831