Dade Commission Approves Money For New Shelter

MIAMI (CBS4) – Miami-Dade’s Animal Services is one step closer to getting a new shelter.

On Monday the County Commission approved a measure to spend $6.6 million in bond money for a property in Doral, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald. The 70-thousand square foot property, located at 3651 NW 79th Avenue, was originally built to be a post office. Built in the late 1970s it can withstand a Category 3 hurricane.  It will cost a total of about $14 million to buy the building and retrofit it for the shelters needs including emergency generators.

“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, said last week as workers continued to clean their Medley shelter after a canine distemper outbreak. “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 because of the distemper outbreak.

“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 veterinary clinic. It was never designed to house and care for animals at the capacity that it’s being used for today.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)



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