In an urgent push to save more dogs from being euthanized, the Miami-Dade Animal Services department is waiving adoption fees for adult dogs through the weekend. Puppies can be adopted at half-off.
The county said it granted a 48-hour reprieve to dogs who were scheduled to be put down on Friday.
"The hardest part about the job is not being able to find a home for them all," said Chief of Shelter Operations and Enforcement Kathy Labrada.
It's not uncommon to see two or three dogs sharing a kennel, because of an overcrowding emergency.
The shelter in Medley is caring for about 400 dogs waiting for loving homes. It only has cages for a little more than half.
"It's heartbreaking to see the number of animals entering the shelter," said Labrada. "It results in overcrowded conditions, which lead to disease and behavioral issues with the pets, so the best thing our community and our shelter can do for these pets is get them out."
On any given day, it receives up to 100 pets. During the summer, it sees a spike in the number of animals. The larger, older or sick dogs, which are separated in the respiratory-disease wing are more likely to end up on the euthanasia list.
"These animals need more help, it's not about the price, they need love," said Nicolas Tibo, who brought his family to the shelter to adopt a puppy.
The county is being squeezed too.
Last week, Mayor Carlos Gimenez decided not to raise property taxes, even though voters agreed to pay to save unwanted pets. Instead of the $19 million proposed under Pets' Trust, he'll find $4 million dollars in the budget for the Animal Services Department.
"I have been very supportive of our mission to save animals," said Gimenez in a statement issued late Friday. "I would also like to encourage our residents to adopt a shelter pet -- doing so will help contribute to the solution."
If you are interested in adopting a pet, visit the Miami-Dade County Animal Services shelter at 7401 NW 74th Street.