South Dade Humane Society Shelter Could Be Forced to Close

Miami-Dade wants to contract a Jacksonville non-profit to replace the South Dade shelter as it strives to become a "no kill" county.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Humane Society shelter could be forced to close as Miami-Dade tries to become a "No Kill" county. NBC 6's Gilma Avalos reports. (Published Monday, Mar 17, 2014)

    Orange Tabby "Chibs" is currently in the recovery room after being neutered at the Humane Society of Greater Miami's South Dade Clinic. But cats like Chibs could soon be moving out of the shelter.

    Executive director Laurie Hoffman says the non-profit could soon be forced to close its doors for good.

    "Not only would we not be able to take care of the dogs and cats down there but that clinic also helps this shelter take care of the 300 or more animals that we care for on a daily basis," Hoffman said.

    She believes the location is at risk because of possible out-of-county competition.

    Miami-Dade is trying to become a "no kill" county. That means 90 percent of adoptable animals would not be euthanized. So the county would need extra help to tackle its animal overpopulation. There's a $1 million contract up for grabs for a company that can perform high-volume spaying and neutering. The Humane Society of Greater Miami wants that contract but there's another Jacksonville company vying for it.

    The Humane Society of Greater Miami says it performs up to 5,500 spay and neuter surgeries at the South Dade Clinic a year. But the county says it is thinking of contracting "First Coast"-- a Jacksonville company that does five times as many surgeries.

    In a statement, the county said that "the South Dade area and the entire county need much more than 5,000 surgeries to address the pet overpopulation problem."

    County officials insist a choice has not been made, but that the Jacksonville non-profit has a good reputation. It already boasts an existing contract with the city of Jacksonville as it pursues it's own no-kill goal.

    But Hoffman is pleading with officials to keep the contract local.

    "Let us help you get there. This is a core of our mission. Spay and neutering and adoptions," Hoffman said.

    Hoffman said the non-profit does not euthanize. It runs two clinics: one in South Dade and the other in North Miami. The shelter at the latter location helps animals find forever homes, no matter how long it takes.

    Hoffman said the Humane Society of Greater Miami can rise to the challenge with the proper funding.

    Worried for the South Dade clinic's future, Hoffamn has posted a petition on the Humane Society's website as well contact info for city leaders.

    "Call write, email. Do whatever you can to let the county commissioners and the mayor know you support the Humane Society to at least be given the opportunity," Hoffman said.

    The issue will eventually go before the board of county commissioners for review and approval. The Humane Society says if the contract is awarded to the Jacksonville company, it could be forced to shut the doors to the South Dade location within 60 days.