MIAMI, OK.) If it seems as if stray or at large dogs are everywhere in Miami, they are. City of Miami Animal Control began implementing new city ordinance to combat this problem, but it will take help from the community to deal with this frustrating issue.
A TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) program and other measures were started this year in Miami to attempt to better control the stray cat
population, and since it started over 150 cats have been altered and released.
“We’ve been rolling out parts of the new ordinances monthly. We are somewhat behind on this because we just became fully staffed,” Miami Chief Operating Officer Kevin Browning said, “But we wanted to do this slowly to give residents an opportunity to adjust.”
Fully staffed Miami Animal Control has three employees tasked with the responsibility and duties of dealing with animal ownership issues and ordinances.
Miami’s Ketcher/Keheley Animal Shelter can hold only 30 dogs properly, and even though the shelter has offered a $10 adoption fee special, which includes spay or neuter, microchipping, and shots for the past three months, few dogs have gotten a home.
Miami’s Animal Control Manager Maycee Goza wanted to make the public aware of the difference between a stray dog, one with no ownership or home and generally in poor condition, and that of an “at large dog”- one that appears to be cared for and is simply roaming.
“About 98 percent of the dogs you see in the city have an owner,” Browning said, “The newer city ordinance enacted is to encourage and enforce responsible pet practices and ownership.”
Goza says with limited shelter spaces, when they receive a call about a stray or at large dog the team’s first priority is to locate and find the dog’s home and owners in the field.
Goza said when calling about a stray or at large dog it is most helpful if the caller can give a detailed description of the dog, and when possible, information such as how long the dog has been seen roaming, if the dog has been seen in the area before, and the dog has a known home or owner. Goza encourages a call back if the caller feels the issue has not been resolved. Animal Control will attempt to find an owner, if an owner can be found a written warning is issued, and then on the next offense the owner will receive a citation.
Dogs that are a nuisance, aggressive, malnourished, or sick will be taken to the shelter. Browning and Goza said they have to turn away dozens of dogs a day from the shelter at times and encourage spay and neutering.
“We just can’t take every dog. We want residents to call, but once a dog hits the shelter, it’s not always a great ending,” Goza said, “Most dogs that enter a shelter will develop behavioral issues making them hard or impossible to adopt out.”
Goza said area rescue organizations are currently overran as well and are finding it difficult to get fosters for animals for just two to three weeks, and adoptions have slowed drastically.
“It costs around $8 to $10 per day per dog to care for them in the shelter, and that doesn’t include any added vet care,” Goza said, “Donations help and are greatly appreciated.”
“This is a plea for help. Honestly 95 percent of pet owners in Miami practice responsible ownership, it’s the other five percent that cause such problems,” Browning said, “We’re doing all we can with the resources we have, and we need the residents’ help.”
When calling Animal Control, you will often get an answering machine due to the small staff often in the field or engaged in work. Please leave a detailed message including a call back number. Animal Control will return your call as soon as possible. If you feel the situation is an emergency, call Miami Police Department at 918-542-5585.