Director Asks County For New Animal Shelter

MIAMI – (CBS4) – Miami Dade County Animal Shelter officials hope a new site in Doral will help save the lives of thousands of animals each year.

On Monday, the Miami Dade County Commission will decide whether to approve the new site at 3651 NW 79th Avenue. The commission approved the purchase of a new facility back in 2004.

But now that the site has been identified, it needs their approval. The building would cost a total of about $14 million to buy the warehouse and retrofit it for the shelters needs.

“I can only tell you that as a public safety issue that as a compassion issue, this is something that’s long overdue,” said Dr. Sara Pizano, Animal Services Director. “This building needs to happen. It will last us for many decades and it will help us save more animals.”

Pizano said last year they had to euthanize about 20,000 animals for lack of space, illness and other issues. More recently, the shelter closed its dog intake wing to the public after a major distemper outbreak. They are still open for adoptions but there are only slightly more than a dozen dogs left as workers try to clean and renovate the facility.

“The new building would mean a healthier environment for the animals and the staff and the public,” Pizano said. “It would have the appropriate space for the animals so that we could clean in a way that doesn’t jeopardize their health.”

Overcrowding has been an issue for a long time at the Medley shelter. At any time they house anywhere from 250 to 600 animals there. It is hot and only expected to get hotter in the summer months with no air-conditioning at the shelter.

“It’s a sick building,” she said. “It’s impossible to sanitize. The design, lack of ventilation, air flow, lack of air conditioning all leads to the spread of disease.”

The current building was built in the late 1960’s as an animal hospital. It was never designed to house and care for animals at the capacity that it’s being used for today.

“Any kind of upgrade to a better facility sounds good to me,” said Caroline Rhame,” a visitor considering adoption. “I mean if you could have a newer facility with like a cleaner better setup, it sounds perfect.”


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