MEDLEY, Fla. - A South Florida man ended his weekend-long sit-in inside an animal cage on Sunday. Michael Rosenberg had been locked up at Miami-Dade Animal Services since Friday, as he tried to raise support for an initiative that's on the November 6 ballot in Miami-Dade County.
Rosenberg, the President of The Pets' Trust, spent three days and two nights inside a small space at the end of a row of chain link cages. He said his mission was to encourage people to adopt one of the 400 animals housed in the shelter and to bring awareness of the plight of those that who do not find homes.
"We kill 20,000 adoptable dogs and cats every year in Dade County," Rosenberg told Local 10's Michael Putney. "We've been doing it for decades. It's really unbelievable that that's our way of doing animal control."
Rosenberg appeared in a live interview from inside the cage on Sunday's episode of "This Week in South Florida." His colleague, Lindsay Gorton, joined Putney inside the WPLG Studio. Both stressed the importance of spaying and neutering Miami-Dade's animals, in order to curb the population.
"The majority of people who don't spay and neuter don't do it because they can't afford it," explained Gordon. She said many private vets charge around $300 to spay an animal, though some procedures can cost up to $600.
There are about 15,000 low-cost surgeries available each year, but according to Gorton, in a city as large as Miami, about 100,000 are needed to bring the animal population down to "controllable numbers."
Each day, 100 to150 dogs and cats are surrendered to the shelter. According to Rosenberg, 60 to 70 animals are euthanized daily, because the shelter doesn't have the resources to keep them alive.
The question on creating a Pets' Trust will be on a nonbinding straw ballot Nov. 6, but if voters say yes, then the County Commission would likely approve it. It would come with a slight increase in property taxes, about $20 a year on average, to support a program they say will make it easier to people to adopt these pets.
Rosenberg's student caught the attention of entertainer Gloria Estefan. She released a video announcing her support of Rosenberg's cause. She added that she would "adopt him" once he ended his stay inside the shelter and wished him luck.
"We need to get every single animal out of here," Rosenberg said. "I want to be the only thing left today, at the end of this afternoon."
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