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Miami-Dade Considers No-Kill Status For Shelter

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Miami-Dade Animal shelter gets massive scrub down in the wake of a massive distemper  outbreak. (CBS4)

Miami-Dade Animal shelter gets massive scrub down in the wake of a massive distemper outbreak. (CBS4)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A proposal to turn Miami-Dade Animal Services into a no-kill shelter program passed a Miami-Dade commission committee Tuesday, with a lot of questions about cost and implementation.

MDAS has been criticized for the high number of animals euthanized annually, more than 30 thousand in any given year. As a public shelter, MDAS must accept any animal brought to it, adoptable or not, and those not adopted are eventually killed.

Tuesday, Miami-Dade commissioner Jose Diaz proposed making MDAS a no-kill shelter, which means 90 percent of the animals brought to the shelter would be preserved. Up to 10 percent could be euthanized for reasons of health, temperment, and other issues.

The proposal, passed unanimously by the committee, asks the Gimenez administration to study if the no-kill shelter model is financially feasible for the county and report back to the commission within 6 months.

The plan would also consider a number of proposals to support the idea, including Comprehensive Adoption Programs, programs to trap and neuter stray cats, low cost spay and neuter programs, more work with volunteer pet rescue groups, and programs to convince people to keep pets.

Commissioner Lynda Bell is also considering a plan that would allow people with large amounts of land to operate temporary shelters to help save animals. Currently, that would be illegal under county codes.

Animal services officials say they are striving to save more animals. Currently, Miami-Dade saves about 72 percent of all dogs presented to the shelter. However, the euthanasia rate for cats is much greater.

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