Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 130924
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File Number: 130924 File Type: Resolution Status: Before the Board
Version: 0 Reference: Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: ANIMAL SERVICES NO KILL SHELTER Introduced: 5/9/2013
Requester: Animal Services Cost: Final Action:
Agenda Date: 6/18/2013 Agenda Item Number: 9A1
Indexes: NONE
Sponsors: Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Prime Sponsor
  Dennis C. Moss, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed

Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 6/18/2013 9A1 Amended
REPORT: First Assistant County Attorney Abigail Price-Williams read the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. Chairwoman Sosa noted Commissioner Heyman could not be present today (6/18) to participate in this discussion, although she wanted to be, but she had offered some recommendations when this item was heard before the Public Safety and Animal Services Committee. Chairwoman Sosa asked that the recommendations of Commissioner Heyman be considered during today’s discussion. Commissioner Diaz indicated that the foregoing report was only before the Board today for approval, and it included Commissioner Heyman’s recommendations. He also indicated that he would bring forth legislation in the near future to implement a plan. He noted the County Mayor and the Administration worked together to ensure that the language and intent of the report were clearly stated; however, he understood that the attorney wanted to amend it. Commissioner Diaz stated that the public hearing conducted by Commissioner Heyman provided an opportunity for all interest groups to provide their input on a plan. He said that although the Animal Services Department had succeeded in bringing down the kill ratio tremendously, more work was needed to attain a No Kill goal. He said he would expedite legislation to implement a plan towards that objective. Chairwoman Sosa asked if the foregoing report to be approved by the Board today (6/18) was the initial report to be forwarded to the Mayor, and if the Administration would return to the Board with a funding recommendation. She also asked if an increase in the millage rate to improve the ASD shelter, which the electors approved, would be decided by the Board during the budget process. Mr. Alex Munoz, ASD Director, noted that was correct and the amount would be approved as part of the Budget process, which would take place in July and ultimately in September. Chairwoman Sosa pointed out that there was some confusion in the community regarding the Pet Trust Initiative and this plan. She said she wanted to be clear that the funding would not be used to create a new trust or support any entity other than the ASD; and that it would only be used to support ASD services or organizations associated with the ASD that provide rescue and adoption services, pursuant to the ballot language approved by the voters. Mr. Munoz noted that was correct and was provided for in the foregoing report. Chairwoman Sosa asked whether the foregoing report was the first step in a process that only included recommendations for the Administration to move forward with developing a plan; and whether Commissioner Diaz would follow up by bringing forth legislation to implement a plan. Mr. Munoz stated that was correct, but noted various legislative items may be presented at different times because the plan involved different programs. Commissioner Diaz clarified that nothing had changed since the last meeting, and that he would work with the Administration to accomplish the voters’ wishes. He noted the intent of the plan was to save as many animals as possible and use the funds previously allocated for the euthanization of animals for other purposes. Chairwoman Sosa stressed that the funds could not be used for capital improvements, but must be used directly for the services approved by the voters, and that the plan would include benchmarks and a sunset provision. Commissioner Diaz noted that since the election, much confusion and rumors had stirred in the community about this plan; however, he assured Chairwoman Sosa and committee members that the plan would accomplish what was promised to the citizens and that the Administration would work to maintain a No Kill Shelter within the approved budget. Mr. Munoz confirmed that Commissioner Diaz’ statements were correct. Assistant County Attorney Dennis Kerbel noted the report was amended at Committee level and distributed today, reflecting the changes discussed and described by the Sponsor before the Committee (See Exhibit 12 of the Exhibits List). He proceeded to read the amendments into the record. Commissioner Jordan asked Mr. Munoz to describe the annual amount of spaying/neutering surgeries conducted by ASD. Mr. Munoz indicated that approximately 12,000 animals were neutered or spayed each year at the Miami-Dade Animal Shelter and most of the surgeries were performed on animals living inside the shelter that were either rescued or awaiting adoption. He noted some animals were brought back for surgery after being adopted because the shelter lacked sufficient space to accommodate all surgeries. He said that ASD offered spay/neuter services at a low price to county residents. Mr. Munoz noted 3,000 to 4,000 of the total 12,000 surgeries performed each year were done on animals privately owned and living outside the shelter, and those surgeries were usually performed in a mobile unit (bus), located on the grounds of the shelter or at a community event on the weekends. In response to Commissioner Jordan’s question regarding ASD’s progress at obtaining a No Kill Shelter, Mr. Munoz noted the No Kill goal was 90 percent, and so far the ASD had reached 80 percent for dogs and 60 percent for cats per year; however, he explained that not all animals could be saved, due to the type of illness or injury the animal had when brought to the shelter. Mr. Munoz further noted that about 4,000 dogs were euthanized last year and most of them were very large, mixed-breed dogs, usually brown or black in color, weighing over 50 pounds, and not easily adoptable. He indicated that ASD had almost reached its 60 percent No Kill goal for cats, which was at 28 percent when he came on board as the ASD Director. He said that this goal would only be reached through neuter/spaying services, and it was his belief that a higher goal could not be attained without more resources. Mr. Munoz pointed out the estimated number of stray cats in the community had reached 300,000 to 400,000, and unless addressed, this issue would persist with more stray cats being brought to the shelter. Commissioner Jordan inquired whether accepting a report containing funding recommendations meant the commissioners had to accept the funding recommendations in it. First Assistant County Attorney Abigail Price-Williams advised that, depending on the way the item was structured, a report that was presented with recommendations would serve as a guide for the Mayor to take necessary steps to develop funding recommendations for the Board to consider during the Budget process. Commissioner Jordan noted the language on page 3 of the report indicated that the proposed funding recommendations were based on an estimated $20 million budget, which was the amount estimated by a full levy of .1079 mills for Countywide Property Tax rolls. She expressed concern that this language was confusing and gave the impression that the County Commissioners were directing the Mayor to increase the tax. She suggested the language be clarified since the County Commissioners would decide whether or not to increase the millage rate during the budget hearings. Commissioner Jordan pointed out that cuts were being made to elderly meals programs, Head Start and other children’s programs in the County’s Budget, due to the federal sequester, and although she would like to support ASD services, she could not support dedicating $20 million exclusively for this purpose. She offered a friendly amendment that was read into the record by Assistant County Attorney Kerbel. Assistant County Attorney Dennis Kerbel noted the proposed amendment would change the ‘Now, therefore’ clause in the body of the resolution to read: “This board accepts the recommendations in the attached report, except that funding for specific proposals will be determined as part of the proposed FY2013/14 Budget.” Commissioner Diaz noted he did not want to mix apples with oranges, but keep the Animal Services separate from the Elderly and Children’s programs, which were separate issues. He said the $20 million amount was a recommendation made at the PSAS Committee, and the intent was to maintain a 90 percent No Kill goal as approved by the electors. Chairwoman Sosa pointed out that Commissioner Jordan was inquiring whether acceptance of this report as written, meant that the Board was approving a $20 million budget allocation for ASD. Assistant County Attorney Kerbel noted it did not mean that; however, the Administration would probably bring forth legislation presenting a budget for $20 million, because the guidance was based on that amount. Commissioner Diaz asked for clarification on the amendment proffered by Commissioner Jordan. Assistant County Attorney Kerbel indicated that the amendment would not change the report, but only the body of the resolution to guide the Mayor not to assume that the funding would be the entire $20 million. He also noted it was in addition to the amendments proffered at Committee level, which were distributed and read into the record earlier in this discussion. Commissioner Diaz accepted the amendment proffered by Commissioner Jordan along with the other amendments proffered at Committee and read into the record earlier. Commissioner Bovo applauded the decision to bring in the private veterinarians, small business owners and not use the funding for capital improvements. He pointed out that page 3 of the drafted plan specifically mentioned additional dedicated property tax millage, noting it tied the commissioners’ hands to find the monies elsewhere within the budget. He stressed the importance of the ballot language and the intention to be crystal clear, as the taxpayers needed to know how much they would have to contribute to accomplish this plan. He pointed out that the vote was a non-binding ballot that was basically a poll; however, he supported saving the animals and if the residents believed that it was a worthy cause, it should be the commissioners’ mission to help achieve this goal by finding other funding sources during the budget process without increasing the property taxes. Upon conclusion of the discussion, it was moved by Commissioner Diaz that the Board adopt the foregoing proposed ordinance as amended: -to replace the original Animal Services Department Report contained within the Animal Service Department Director’s memorandum, dated May 7, 2013, with the information outlined in the attached amended Animal Services Department Report (See Exhibit 12 of the Exhibits List); -to change the language in Attachment 5 of the resolution, Item 2 under “Summary of Recommendations for Reducing Shelter Intake” with the following language that reads: “High Volume Sterilization of Cats & Dogs (B)”; and change the footnote (B) in Attachment 5 to read: “Approximately 12,000 to 15,000 free-roaming cat surgeries by ASD. Balance to be performed by private/not-for-profit veterinary clinics.” (See Exhibit 13 of the Exhibits List); and - to change the “Now Therefore” Clause on handwritten page 4 of the resolution to read as follows: “This board accepts the recommendations in the attached report except that funding for specific proposals will be determined as part of the proposed Fiscal Year 2013/14 Budget.” This motion was seconded by Commissioner Moss, and upon being put to a vote, passed by a vote of 12-0; (Commissioner Heyman was absent). Later in the meeting, Commissioner Jordan pointed out that immediately following the discussion on this item; the Miami Herald published an article that read: “Miami-Dade Commission Oks Animal Welfare Tax.” Commissioner Jordan clarified for the record that the Board did not approve an animal welfare tax

Board of County Commissioners 6/4/2013 9A1 Deferred 6/18/2013 P

Public Safety & Animal Services Committee 5/15/2013 3H Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Gerald Sanchez read the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. It was moved by Commissioner Edmonson that the foregoing proposed resolution be forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) with a favorable recommendation. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Bovo, for discussion. Chairwoman Heyman provided a brief overview of the reason this resolution was before the committee and recognized the Mr. Alex Munoz, Animal Services Department Director, to give a report on the department’s recommendations for establishing a No Kill Shelter. Mr. Alex Munoz, Animal Services Department (ASD) Director, noted this was in response to the straw ballot regarding revenue for saving animals and reducing the stray animal population through sterilization. He clarified that the terms of the “No Kill” ordinance provided that 90 percent of the animals would be saved, since some would not survive due to illness or injury. Mr. Munoz expressed his appreciation to members of the Pets Trust, Inc. and the Humane Society for input, which was included in this report. He announced the save rate had reached 80 percent for dogs and 68 percent for cats, which was 28 percent a year and a half ago. Mr. Munoz presented a video of a rescued dog whose owner was located via microchip, a slideshow illustrating the statistics of rescue partnerships, and a news clip portraying the transporting of 91 stray cats to North Carolina, to be picked up by representatives from Maryland animal shelters and transported to Maryland in an effort to save them. He noted the department, in conjunction with community partners, had hosted some major events and presented a video regarding the “Adopt-a-Mania” pet adoption event at the Marlins Stadium. He noted the ASD would be working with community partners and rescue groups, including the Humane Society, the Pets Trust, and the Veterinarian Association. Additionally, Mr. Munoz advised that there would be an Advisory Board, established through a resolution sponsored by Commissioner Heyman, would provide guidance for this process. Discussion ensued between Commissioner Bovo and Mr. Munoz regarding the language in the ballot question providing the actual cost taxpayers would be paying; the location of the question regarding increasing taxes on the ballot; the cost to the County to spay and neuter each animal; whether the majority of animals spayed/neutered were strays; and whether compliance with this ordinance required construction of new shelters. Mr. Munoz stated that one of the recommendations in his report was to provide spay/neuter clinics, adding that the Veterinarian Association had offered to be part of the solution. He explained that if the County needed to build clinics, the resources would be generated from this same revenue source; no new funding would be required. In response to Commissioner Bovo’s inquiry as to whether alternatives to increasing taxes to fulfill the “No Kill” initiative had been considered, Mr. Munoz noted the activities highlighted today were alternative measures; however, he did not believe the increasing success rates could be achieved without the additional tax revenues. Commissioner Barreiro asked the Animal Services Department Director, Alex Munoz, to provide him with the costs the County paid to veterinary clinics to perform spay and neuter surgeries on animals. Mr. Munoz advised that written in the plan were specific instructions that the ASD must work with private veterinarians. Chairwoman Heyman commented that every step of this initiative had been and continues to be an inclusive process working with all groups making it a public/private process. She noted research was done to identify additional approaches to supplement what was already being done, in terms of financial resources. Following further discussion on the issue, the Committee proceeded to vote.

County Attorney 5/9/2013 Assigned Dennis A. Kerbel 5/9/2013

County Mayor 5/9/2013 Assigned County Attorney 6/4/2013

County Mayor 5/9/2013 Assigned Alina Tejeda-Hudak 4/26/2013 5/9/2013

Legislative Text


WHEREAS, this Board, on July 3, 2012, adopted Resolution No. R-583-12 directing the Mayor to develop a program from Miami-Dade County with the goal of becoming a No Kill shelter and providing for a financially feasible strategic plan to implement lifesaving programs and services at Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department; and

WHEREAS, this Board, on July 17, 2012, adopted Resolution No. R-647-12 placing a non-binding straw ballot question on the general election ballot in Miami-Dade County whether they support the County Commission increasing the countywide general fund millage by 0.1079 mills to fund improved animal services programs in the County; and

WHEREAS, this Board, on December 4, 2012, adopted Resolution No. R-1050-12 directing the Mayor to include projections for increased funding based on voter approval of straw ballot for improved animal services programs in Strategic Plan for No Kill shelter; and

WHEREAS, this Board desires to accomplish the purposes outlined in the accompanying report from the Animal Services Department, a copy of which is incorporated herein by reference,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, this board accepts the recommendations in the attached report with funding recommendations to be provided as part of the proposed FY 2013-14 budget.


To: Honorable Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa
and Members, Board of County Commissioners

From: Carlos A. Gimenez

Subject: Animal Services Department Report of Recommendations for Attaining a No-Kill Shelter

It is recommended that the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) adopt the attached report providing for an Animal Services Department (ASD) Strategic Plan (The Plan) implementing lifesaving programs with the goal of ASD becoming a no-kill shelter.

This item is countywide in nature as ASD provides services to all residents throughout Miami-Dade County.

Fiscal Impact/Funding Source
Funding would be provided by proceeds of the up to 0.1079 mills of property tax revenue and is subject to approval by the BCC as part of the annual budget process. An analysis of the fiscal impact indicates that the levy of the 0.1079 mills would yield approximately $18 million to $20 million annually.

Track Record/Monitor
Alex Muñoz, Director, ASD will implement and monitor the program.

The BCC directed that a program be developed with the goal of ASD becoming a no-kill shelter (Resolution No.R-538-12 listed as Attachment Two of the attached Plan) and to provide a plan considering the availability of additional funding in an amount equivalent to 0.1079 mills of countywide property tax revenue for improved animals services (Resolution No. R-1050-12 listed as Attachment Three of the attached Plan).

The attached Plan, prepared by ASD, includes recommendations for achieving these directives as described in the referenced no-kill resolutions and the Pets Trust Miami straw ballot initiative, which was approved by 64% of voters on November 6, 2012.

ASD recommends targeting any newly available resources towards eliminating the euthanasia of thousands of savable pets annually in the following areas: 1) increasing animal lives saved through adoption and rescue; 2) reducing shelter intake through targeted sterilization of dogs and cats; and 3) providing access to resources aimed at surrender prevention and programs for responsible pet ownership. For ease of review, a summary of

recommendations from the plan has been excerpted and attached to this memorandum as Table One.

ASD has consistently improved the animal save rate over the past several years for both dogs and cats. In 2012, the Department attained its highest save rate for dogs - saving approximately 75% of abandoned canines. The save rate for cats also peaked last year with 38% being saved and 70% over the last 4 months. The no-kill goal is defined as saving 90 % of savable dogs and cats.

Financial Feasibility Action Plan
As proposed in the attached plan, funding would be provided to ASD and available to other groups and not-for profit organizations working to save shelter animals. Priority would be given to programs that perform large-scale sterilization services, reduce the population of owned dogs and cats (targeted spay and neuter) and provide surrender prevention/pet retention services. Proposed funding recommendations are based on an estimated $20 million budget, the amount estimated by a full levy of the 0.1079 mills on the countywide property tax roll as directed by R-1050-12.

Implementation Plan
The recommendations highlighted throughout The Plan are comprehensive. In some cases, the recommendations may require that a revised or new policy be implemented. In other instances, funding is required for new and/or expanded programs that must be developed. Where funding is needed, service expansion will be commensurate with funding availability pursuant to future budget approval. Upon adoption of The Plan and/or elements herein, ASD is prepared to move forward with the expansion or establishment of the programs and services listed below based upon future budget approval:

-Comprehensive Adoption Program -Free Roaming Cat Trap Neuter and
Release /Trap Neuter and Give-back
-High Volume, Affordable Spay and Neuter -Large-Scale Volunteer Foster Care
Programs Programs
-Rescue Group Transfers Expansion -Medical and Behavioral Programs
-Proactive Pet Redemptions -Public Relations/
Community Involvement

By separate Resolution No. R-43-13, the Board directed that an Advisory Board be established to provide advisory recommendations. A companion item addressing this issue will be forthcoming for your consideration.

Alina T. Hudak
Deputy Mayor

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