There’s a saying: Statistics don’t lie, statisticians do. Read on.
There have been many people critical of the county shelter in Miami, Florida, Miami-Dade Animal Services. A new video raises a chilling question. Are dogs dying at the shelter because those in charge can’t keep them safe? Are they allowing animals to fight to the death?
This video includes the statistics for the shelter for the past several years. In 2011 and 2012 the number of dogs and cats who “died” at the shelter (versus being killed) was between 200 and 300. In 2013 and 2014 that number jumps to between 500 and 600. What happened? Why are that number of dogs and cats dying in kennels or cages at the shelter?
Considering that the shelter has a full-time veterinarian on staff, very sick or dying dogs should be cared for or humanely euthanized to end suffering. But that number — the animals who just die at the shelter — is getting larger, and some people think that it’s because dogs are being allowed to fight in the shelter or dogs are being placed with other aggressive dogs all resulting in dogs dying horribly inhumane deaths.
Interestingly, the shelter totals include figures for feral cat trapping, neutering and releasing (TNR). Those additional figures skew the numbers to make that 81% “save” percentage. So while the bottom line, “Saved Total” changes from 14,759 in 2011 to 24,778 in 2014 (which looks fantastic), if you subtract the number for the feral or stray cats who were brought in for TNR, the figures for the last three years actually get a bit worse as the years progress. In 2011, around 17,000 dogs and cats were saved (excluding the TNR cats). In 2013 and 2014 the number stays at about 16,500 for dogs and cats saved when the number of feral cats TNR (which increased) is excluded from the figures. By doing the math with the TNR animals excluded, the actual “live release rate” appears to be around 54%. (If my math is wrong, please let me know!)
And, one might ask, why have the numbers of cats and dogs rescued from the shelter (pulled by nonprofit rescue groups) gone down? Fewer animals are being sent to rescue than in 2011? In 2011, 5,690 dogs and cats were pulled by rescue or transferred. In 2012, 7,245 were pulled. In 2013 and 2014, the numbers drop to 4,351 and 4,110 respectively.
Why does their euthanasia rate appear to have gone down dramatically? The people at Ready for Change at Miami Dade Animal Services show in their video a dog named Terra. She was supposedly returned to her owner (RTO) and listed as a live release in their statistics (according to the video). However, her owner requested that she be killed, and MDAS did just that, even though rescuers were trying to get her to safety. The video shows this information. The Facebook page for this group also claims that dogs are brought in and not put into the system because they are killed immediately (owner surrenders) so they don’t appear as another killed dog in the statistics.
The group Ready for Change at Miami Dade Animal Services posted a statement regarding MDAS’ change of stray hold from five days to three days. They also posted more information about the policies and procedures at MDAS.
They are requesting that those concerned take action. That information is on their Facebook page.
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