What is the Pets' Trust?
Legislation that will create a dedicated source of funding for targeted, true low-cost spay/neuter surgeries, low cost veterinary care, pet retention programs and education to end the everyday killing of perfectly adoptable, healthy companion animals and to end the crisis of pet overpopulation. Pets' Trust is modeled after the Children's trust, which had the support of 86% of our community. There will be two facilities. One in North Dade and one in South Dade.
Where do the funds come from?
The legislation when voted into law would increase the millage rate by .000107864, which would generate 20 million in revenue. The average homeowner in Dade County would pay $20 per year.
How long will the program run?
We are asking voters to approve Pets' Trust for 7 years, after which we will go back to the voters and ask if they would like to continue supporting the program or end it.
How will money be used?
Our goal is to keep pets in their homes, out of shelters, greatly decrease the intake rate at Animal Services and works towards ending the killing of healthy, adoptable animals. We also intend to strategically approach the issue of free-roaming, feral cat populations and develop a program to stop the increase of these populations through targeted TNR. Additionally, it is the intention of Pets' Trust to assist the County and the South Florida SPCA by providing funding for large animal victims of neglect, abuse and abandonment. To reach these goals we plan to:
- Open one or two super spay/neuter clinics that can perform up to 50,000 surgeries per year, per clinic.
- Within each clinic will be a low-cost vet clinic and other pet retention programs (tbd).
- Each clinic will have dedicated vans that will go into the community each day to bring in pets whose owners do not have transportation, therefore reaching target areas and low-income pet owners.
- Create a high-volume TNR program to strategically reduce feral and free-roaming cat populations throughout the County (currently over 416,000 free-roaming/feral cats live in Miami).
- Provide sufficient funding for the S.FL SPCA, which is severely underfunded, yet continues to provide shelter, care and adoption services for all large animals that are confiscated or surrendered to the County.
- Develop educational programs for various demographics for adults and children.
- Develop educational campaigns to promote adoption, spay/neuter, life-long pet retention, etc.
How did we assess the number of S/N surgeries needed in our County?
Working with spay/neuter experts and other programs around the country that cannot meet the needs of their communities, we have determined that Miami needs 100,000 true low-cost surgeries (70% being targeted low-income) per year. These numbers are based on a population of 2.5 million persons, with a 17.2% poverty rate and an animal population of approximately 1.8 million. Currently, only 10,000 true low-cost spay/neuter surgeries are available in Miami per year.
Who will run the Pets' Trust?
Pets' Trust will be independent of the County and run by a board consisting of: Director of Miami-Dade Animal Services, ED of Humane Society of Greater Miami, Director of S. FL SPCA, President of Veterinary Medical Association, Director of Cat Network, Director of largest animal welfare education organization, Mayoral appointment, Commission appointment. This board will then select four appointments, three of which must include a CPA, an attorney, and a targeted spay/neuter expert. The Director of Animal Services will then select the 13th board member.
The reasons we need the Pets' Trust
- 34,000-37,000 dogs and cats are abandoned each year at Miami-Dade Animal Services.
- 20,000+ of these animals are killed (euthanized).
- Over 416,000 feral and free-roaming cats inhabit Miami-Dade County. Female cats have up to three litters per year with an average of four kittens per litter. The population is increasing exponentially.
- Only 10,000 true low-cost spay/neuter surgeries are available in Miami-Dade County each year.
- An estimated 756,496 pet cats live in Miami-Dade County.
- An estimated 416,074 pet dogs live in Miami-Dade County.
- Miami has a higher than normal poverty rate of 17.2%, over 3% higher than the state and national average.
- Miami has different cultural and ethnic groups, many of which have different values when it comes to pet ownership, pet retention, spaying and neutering.
- Cities and states that have implemented high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter and/or low-cost veterinary clinics see substantial decreases in public shelter intake and public shelter deaths.
- We believe that our proactive programs combined with educational initiatives will lead Miami to become a community that does not kill healthy, adoptable animals.
How can you help?
The Pets' Trust legislation will be on the August or November ballot. We will need everyone who supports it to go and vote and encourage everyone they know to do the same. To stay up to date on the Pets' Trust follow us on Facebook and join our mailing list.