At 10:24 a.m. came the response from MDAS - "GRACIE (A1452610)- euth."
"The DNE was sent at 5.25 a.m. and the she was killed around 8.30 a.m. because the tech does not check computer e-mails or anything before killing," said Britt Camacho of A&B All Cats4ever Rescue. "It is another failed procedure at the shelter and because everything is so unorganized and procedures are not being followed. Animals are being killed, even when they have a home.
"We can look at changing the protocols again to improve which I am always in favor of," Munoz wrote in response. "In this case the poor kitty was euthanized before 8:22 a.m. Her hold had expired the days before. The new hold was requested at 5:22 a.m. on the same day that euthanasia starts, 15 days after her arrival. Email helps to save cats and dogs but in this daily struggle to find homes for the thousands of abandoned animals, it is not the perfect solution.
Agreed, Mr. Munoz, it's not perfect, but it is a solution that could work if your employees would check the e-mails that came in overnight before the ritual killing begins for the day.
Finally, there's Sugar, a stray boxer that someone who works for MDAS found and brought to the shelter on July 9.
Sugar was not killed at the shelter, but in many way MDAS is responsible for her death.
I found out about Sugar through Cecilia Mich, the Broward County Area Coordinator for Coastal Boxer Rescue, a rescue group that pulls sick dogs out of MDAS on a regular basis.
Her intake photo did not show how horribly emaciated she was and no one from MDAS called to let us know she needed medical help," Cecilia told me.
When a shelter receives an animal, it assigns a due out date that’s at least 5 working days away to allow the animals owner to claim him. Before that, no one is allowed to adopt or pull the animal. Sugar’s due out date was July 15th.
Cecilia says she went to MDAS on the 13th to pull Cara, another boxer in need, and was told Sugar had to be pulled right away and get medical attention.
"She was in such bad shape that I didn't think she was even going to survive the car ride to Boca from Miami," Cecilia said.
"We're not ones to bash a shelter on their procedures. I know they're overwhelmed and doing their jobs, but at what point does someone – anyone -- at MDAS see that dog laying there ... not moving ... suffering ...and not call rescues to come get her?"
It's a question animal advocates are asking frequently, questioning the protocols the shelter follows even when an animal's life is clearly in danger.
"What disgusts us most is the fact they let a dog suffer for four days and still didn't want to release her to us before her due-out date," Cecilia said. "There is seriously something wrong with that. Sugar deserved better in life. I's just a shame she didn't get it.
After trying to save Sugar she died quietly about 36 hours after she was in CBR custody.
“Could she have lived if we got her sooner? I believe so,” Cecilia says.
Right now as you read this, somewhere in the U.S., an animal is being killed at an animal shelter.
The shelter says they are “humanely euthanized.” But let’s be clear. There is nothing humane about killing a perfectly healthy animal.
MDAS is made up of human beings, exhausted human beings who have been the whipping posts of the animal advocacy community for a long time.
They are not the monsters that, in moments of pain and anger, animal activists accuse them of being.
They are human beings who get paid to do a job and they should be held accountable for their actions, no matter how exhausted or frustrated they may be.
Six cases of animals suffering needlessly and dying in less than two months is not an error or procedural mistake. It’s a tumor of bureaucracy that needs to be removed before its cancer continues to spread.
Two years ago, Dr. Sara Pizano left MDAS and was replaced by her boss, Alex Munoz. At the time, many doubted Munoz’s ability to rid the shelter of it’s "killer" reputation. For starters, he was a county bureaucrat, not a veterinarian.
I, however, supported him, thinking a person with a background in management was just what the shelter needed to be run like a business.
Are things any better? In some ways, yes. But a lot of work still needs to be done.