Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Carmel on the Case: Miami-Dade Animal Services Update
Tonight - an update on problems at Miami-Dade Animal Services. Earlier this month we showed you unacceptable conditions inside the euthanasia room at the facility. There have been some major changes as a result - and more may be on the way. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On The Case.
(WSVN) -- It's a sad reality.
There are more dogs and cats in the world than people who want them.
And when they are destroyed - it should be done in a humane way.
Joanne Roman of theBroward County Humane Society says, "National standard in animal welfare is one animal at a time should be euthanized."
But that's not what we documented earlier this month inside the euthanasia room at Miami-Dade Animal Services.
There were more than a dozen dogs in the death room...Some alive, others dead.
This dog appears to have choked on his leash.
Another waits with the leash around its belly.
And this puppy sits - waiting for his turn.
All were tethered to hooks on the wall in a scene, experts say, was inhumane.
Roman adds, "But animals are extremely sensitive and perceptive and they understand fear. They can smell it. They can hear it."
Carmel Cafiero asks, "What do you think of these pictures?"
Captain Carlos Vasquez ofMiami-Dade Animal Services responds, "Well, these pictures are very disturbing to me."
Captain Carlos Vasquez is in charge of animal services.
And after seeing these pictures and our report...
This is the way the euthanasia room looks now.
Clean - painted - the hooks are gone and the Captain says animals are now brought in one at a time.
Capt. Vasquez says, "The conditions that were photographed were completely unacceptable, and that should never have happened in this place, and as long as I'm here I can guarantee you that I'll fire someone if I walk in here and see that."
Rep. Julio Robaina(R) Miami says, "Very good."
Vasquez's comments came during a tour of the facility by State Representative Julio Robaina who saw our reports and says he is concerned about conditions here.
RepresentativeRobaina says, "This one facility handles all the animal population for Miami-Dade County. It's very small. It's old. It's antiquated. It needs to be brought up to proper standards."
Representative Robaina saw how even in the newer wing, there is no heat in the winter - and no air conditioning in the summer.
On a chilly day like this one, many of the dogs sat shivering on thin blankets.
Both the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office and the police department's internal affairs unit are looking into what has gone on here.
Meanwhile, Representative Robaina thinks he can help by coming up with state money for a new building.
"But, again, Carmel what I think has happened here is just years and years of putting band aids on the issue and not dealing with the problem at heart," he says.
Robaina says the county has indicated it will work with him to improve Animal Services. And it would appear no one will argue with his conclusion - that it is time for a change.
If there's something you think Carmel should investigate... give her a call...