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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Where were they?

Yesterday, Saturday, February 1st, I attended a fostering class at Miami Dade Animal Services located in Medley (Miami), Florida. I arrived early so I walked with potential volunteers and took a tour of the facility. The last time I was there, there were quite a few more small dogs. Good to see the place with empty cages, but the medium and large cages were as full as in the past. The volunteers were shown the ropes, so to speak, and asked to fill out the application and come back. They are the ones between an animal locked in a cage morning to night and a chance to spend time outside in one of the several play areas or a walk in the grass.
I enjoyed the tour and still made it to the foster class early. The saddest part of the class was the fact I was the only one. Me, mom of four rescued dogs (two adopted) and two rescued cats. Where were the other caring people? No wonder rescue groups can’t find foster homes to help remove animals from the shelter or off the street.
After the class, we looked at three litters of puppies. One litter had ringworm, one litter just needed to be out, and the third litter is breed specific–pitbulls and have to be removed from Miami-Dade County. They’ve been at the shelter since 1/25 and there’s concern if no-one steps up to take them, they’ll be euthanized. They also had a dog waiting for transport. He was recently neutered and needed chill and social time until the transport was ready to leave. I couldn’t take them all and the litter with ringworm couldn’t be sent home with the ringworm free litter.
I took Bobby, Missy and Ricky. They have a mild case of ringworm. They will stay with us until the ringworm is gone. Then they’ll be altered and put up for adoption.
Why is it important to get these pups out? The pitbulls can not be adopted in Miami-Dade County, so they’ll just get old there if no-one from an adjacent county takes them. So the euthanization route will be taken. (They could revoke the breed specific legislation, but that’s the best choice and therefore not done).
I’ve already explained about the ringworm. That has to be cured before they can be adopted.
And the most important reason to get animals out is to prevent them getting sick. Last summer the shelter had to be closed and all animals euthanized due to an outbreak of distemper they couldn’t control. The longer a dog, let alone a puppy, stays in the shelter, the more likely they’ll get an upper respiratory infection (URI). Puppies are susceptible to distemper, parvo and the URI.
The healthy litter needs to be removed until they are old enough to adopt out. The state of Florida requires puppies and kittens to be 8 weeks old or older for adopting. Getting them into homes gives them the socialization they need and keeps them away from possible cross-contamination at the shelter.
I don’t know if there were any cats or kittens, but they do come up every now and then.
So where were the needed fosters? I don’t know. Maybe they’ll be in next week or the week after. The need won’t stop until people stop breeding, just to see a litter born, or dumping animals in the streets that breed every time the female comes into heat until she dies.
Fostering for the shelter, at least the one in Medley, doesn’t have to involve a lot of time. Say yes or no when they need a foster. Yes when they have neonates, litters that need bottle feeding, and you have the time to raise them to adoptable age. Or, yes to a week or two until they’re old enough for adoption and anything in between.
In Medley, as stated above, sometimes a dog needs socialization and a place to chill until the scheduled transport is ready to go. These dogs have a commitment at the other end, they just need to be reminded they’re loved. You do that and, the best benefit, you remove them from possible severe depression and possible sickness.
Check out your area shelter and see what you can do. Lost animals need to find their homes or another because their owners can’t be found. Adopting and fostering helps especially over loaded shelters get animals out of cages and into homes and reduces their need to kill innocent pets. Sometimes the Medley shelter is so full, owner surrenders–pets released to the shelter by their owner, are killed within a short period of time. The shelter holds found dogs for five days and then they run the risk of being killed when the shelter is crowded. (this is usually when the number of pets reaches 300 – 325 for the Medley location)
This is not a government problem, this is a problem of education, providing low cost spay/neuter services and easy access to veterinary services near home.
We have a city close to us that doesn’t have a veterinarian. Low cost services are miles from needy areas and rescue organizations are overwhelmed with abused, neglected and abandoned animals. It’s so far to Medley, some choose to dump their unwanted pets onto the streets where they suffer until death.
Stress, lack of proper food and fear of humans often leads dumped animals to end up like this one. Contrary to popular belief animals released onto the streets of Florida can not survive. This one is only steps away from death:
Do what you can for animals in your area. Volunteer, foster, adopt and/or provide financial assistance. Support an individual animal or sign up for regular donations to a local organization. If everyone following a rescue group gives at least one dollar a month, the organization could spend more time rescuing and less time fundraising.
Thank you for reading and getting this far. Since I was a child, our family and now my family, have rescued and adopted. Our present animal’s stories can be found here: Small packages Big Love
Give your little ones, or big ones, a hug and support your local community in whatever endeavor is important to you.

Happy helping and improving your community.

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