Jun 29, 2023 - News

Overcrowding leads to crisis at Miami-Dade animal shelter

A veterinarian at Miami-Dade Animal Services checks up on the shelter dogs. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Miami-Dade County's tax-funded animal shelter is once again overcapacity and overflowing with rescued and abandoned pets.

Driving the news: Miami-Dade Animal Services has more than 650 pets available for adoption, a number so big it has temporarily suspended receiving new animals.

Why it matters: Capacity issues have plagued the Doral shelter amid a surge in homeless pets caused by pandemic disruptions and inflation-era financial struggles.

Of note: The no-kill shelter only euthanizes an animal if it is suffering from an untreatable medical condition or if its behavior poses a threat to public safety.

Between the lines: Animal Services director Bronwyn Stanford, who took over in 2021, has faced criticism from animal activists for limiting animal intake at the shelter and failing to properly address overpopulation issues through sterilization, the Miami Herald reports.

  • The shelter has blamed capacity issues on factors like staffing shortages, anti-pet policies at some apartments and crowded shelters they rely on when at capacity.

How to help: Adopting or temporarily fostering a dog or cat is the best way to alleviate shelter crowding, Animal Services spokesperson Gabriella Dominguez tells Axios.

  • If you find a loose dog or cat, first assume it escaped its home. "Many animals never return home because the finder assumes the animal has been abandoned or dumped when the animal has simply gotten out. Most loose dogs are within a mile of their home," Dominguez says.
  • If you can't provide temporary housing for the pet, don't remove it from its familiar location and post a photo on 24petconnect.com or NextDoor.
A side by side photo of Patches the dog and Lucky the cat, who are living at Miami-Dade Animal Services and in need of adoption.
Patches (left) and Lucky are looking for a forever home. Photos: Courtesy of Miami-Dade Animal Services

Speaking of helping, meet Patches and Lucky, two of the hundreds of animals stuck in Miami-Dade's overcrowded shelter.

  • If you have the means and time, now is the perfect time to adopt a new best friend and clear space in the shelter for other needy animals.

🦮 Patches is a 4-year-old terrier mix who is playful but polite, and ready to "steal your heart."

  • He loves cuddling, swimming in the pool and catching treats in the air.
  • Patches was brought in as a stray last August and has been at the shelter for nearly a year.

🐈 Four-year-old Lucky is a sweet and friendly cat who loves a good head scratch.

  • This domestic shorthair is a playful and loving companion.
  • He has feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) but can live a long and healthy life with proper care.

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