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Michael Rosenberg is surrendering on Friday, and he will be spending the weekend behind bars.
But Rosenberg, founder of the animal rights group Pets' Trust, will voluntarily spend three days and two nights in a cage at the Miami-Dade Animal Services building to bring attention to a question on the Nov. 6 ballot.
“I discovered about nine months ago that we killed 20,000 dogs and cats in Dade County (every year),” Rosenberg told NBC 6. “That’s what we have been doing for 25 years.”
Rosenberg said the solution is to curb the number of animals being born. Animal Services neuters up to 13,000 animals a year, but up to 80,000 such procedures need to be done to stop the overpopulation, he said.
So, he wants to raise awareness about the question on the Nov. 6 ballot, which asks voters if they are in favor of taking an average of $20 per home per year from property taxes for Pets' Trust. This would create a fund of about $20 million to pay for various animal services including veterinary clinics to do the extra spaying and neutering necessary, Rosenberg said.
“Our first challenge was to get the commissioners to let us put it on the ballot,” he said.
The outcome will allow officials to see how many people favor creating such a fund and then commissioners would still have to approve it, he said.
Rosenberg said it costs about $300 per animal euthanized, if feeding, veterinarian costs and other costs are added up.
About 100 animals are brought into animal services every day, officials said.
And so, Rosenberg will live in a cage starting at 2 p.m. Friday until the building closes on Sunday. He will surrender as any stray animal would.
“If I was an animal, I would have five days,” he said.
He will be sleeping in a cot, but don’t expect him to eat out of a bowl.
“I am just going to be there in the cage,” he said. “They gave me a nice cage.”
Rosenberg says the issue is not about politics.
“This is not Republican, Democrat. This is animals who have no voice,” he said. “Everyone knows the problems. They know there’s not enough funding.”
He also said residents should bring their children to see him in the cage, to teach them about being passionate and committed to a cause.
"Our reason for permitting this is to raise awareness about the homeless pets and the need for adoptions," said Kathy Labrada, the chief of shelter operations and enforcement for Miami-Dade Animal Services.
Labrada said they are not displacing any animals to make room for Rosenberg.
She added that officials are hoping residents come to adopt animals over the weekend.
"Hopefully he will be the only one in the shelter by the end of the weekend," she said.
The shelter is at 7401 NW 74th Street and hours are Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.