Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Carmel on the Case: Animal Control Investigations
From disappearing dogs to unsanitary conditions, Miami-Dade's animal shelter has been the target of multiple investigations. But soon, the shelter will get a top to bottom inspection from a national organization. This comes as multiple complaints - from the inside and the outside - continue to surface. Here's the latest in tonight's Carmel On The Case.
(WSVN) -- The Medley Animal Shelter is operated by the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Seven News has obtained multiple memos from one volunteer about conditions here.
Just within the last month she reported:
"...the tick infestation is horrible..."
The clinic "...out of thermometers..."
"...no water bowls.."
"The clinic is out of microchips..."
And the volunteer found three big cats jammed in a small cage... She wrote...
"They had no water bowl or litter box... "
And that one cat's foot was crushed..
"That is, whoever jammed the cats in the cage caught a cat's foot while closing the door. I opened the door and the cat was not able to use his foot," says the volunteer.
A national team from the Humane Society has been hired to help figure out how to fix things.
Krista Hughes of the Humane Society of the United States says, "Our goal is to help improve the animal shelter. We're not there to catch them doing things wrong. We're there to help them."
One of the issues the national team will look into is why the facility continued to adopt dogs, even though there was an outbreak of deadly distemper.
Hughes says, "We will be looking at cleaning and sanitation as well as isolation and separation of animals."They will also investigate the euthanasia room.
In December, I showed you where dogs by the dozen watched each other die - contrary to national standards.
The room has since been cleaned and painted and animals are reportedly put down one at a time.
But that's of little consolation to Ray Barcelo who had two dogs killed at the shelter.
Barcelo says, "How can you have animals picked up one day and, in less than 24 hours, put to sleep? That's not right."
Barcelo says he came home to find two of his dogs gone and tickets on his door.
When he went to pick them up the next day he was told - they had been euthanized.
Carmel Cafiero asks, "Why?"
Barcelo answers, "Nobody could give me an answer as to why."
The next day Animal Services was back at this house... And this time they took puppies.
Two month old puppies that Barcelo says were in the garage.
Carmel asks, "Where's the mother dog?"
"She's been put to sleep," says Barcelo.
"She's one of the ones they put to sleep? They put to sleep a nursing mother?"
"A nursing mother. You give me goose bumps, and, until now, I've been able to hold my emotions, let me tell you."
Barcelo brought his puppies home - after paying 200 dollars.
Brownie here is one of them.
Animal Services told us the puppies were roaming free and the adult dogs did not have rabies tags and were sick.
Barcelo says his dogs were not sick, and he is disappointed in how his pets were handled.
Barcelo adds, "I think that people that care about animals should be running animal services."
Animal Services would not talk to us on camera about all this.
Meanwhile, volunteers have been told they're no longer welcome at the shelter... at least for now. This, as multiple investigations of the facility - continue.
The Humane Society would like to know what kind of experiences people have had at the shelter.
Comments on the operation of the Miami Dade Shelter should be made before April 16th and must be in writing. You do not have to give your name.
Send comments to:
Krista Hughes, Assistant Manager, Humane Society of the United States Animal
2100 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20037
For more information, or if you have a story for Carmel:
Call her in Dade at 305-627-CLUE
Or in Broward at 954-921-CLUE