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February 27, 2008

Help coming for troubled Broward animal-care agency

The Broward County Commission voted unanimously to have an animal control association help it with its animal-care woes.

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The Broward County Animal Care and Regulation Divison has come under scrutiny.
JOE RIMKUS JR. / MIAMI HERALD STAFF
The Broward County Animal Care and Regulation Divison has come under scrutiny.

Broward County commissioners have hired the National Animal Control Association to help clean up its Animal Care and Regulation Division, which has come under intense scrutiny for dog and cat euthanasia and adoptions.

The Kansas nonprofit organization will be hired for $30,000 to assess the agency's problems, a move county commissioners hope will clean up the battered agency.

The division has come under scrutiny for questionable practices like storing dead animals for days, employees setting aside coveted dogs for friends and using excessive force on animals.

The county has worked toward cleaning up its image, but there is more work that needs to be done, officials said.

NACA, as the agency is called, beat out the Humane Society of the United States in the bidding process.

Animal activists argued that the animal care division should consider a consultant such as Nathan Winograd, director of the national No Kill Advocacy Center in California, who advocates that no healthy animal should be euthanized.

''At least consider another group,'' pleaded Susan Winn, a member of the county's animal care advisory committee, an ad hoc board. ``The animals are suffering.''

In response, Commissioner Ilene Lieberman also directed animal care staff to explore avenues that would result in recommendations to establish a ''no kill'' shelter in Broward County.

''There are animal shelters in the United States that are no-kill facilities,'' Lieberman said. ``I want us to investigate the feasibility of such a facility in Broward County.''

Beth Chavez, acting director of the Animal Care and Regulation Division, said she recommended NACA because it has extensive experience with public shelters. In a county as large as Broward, having a no-kill shelter is not considered practical by many.

''With public shelters, our doors are always open, no matter how many strays come in,'' Chavez said. ``We have unique interests.''

As part of the consultant package, NACA will conduct an on-site study that would would look at details such as hiring practices of the division, treatment of animals and comparisons of the division with other public shelters.

 

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Having just gone thru this in Palm Beach County I became an expert on Nathan Winograd and the no kill movement. I think the namesscares evryone away- it more of mindset than anything else and its something that if you are rescue you do evry day. Every dog finds a home and you use your creativity to get it done. What we were asking for was a special independent task force and we had funds to bring Nathan. Nathan will only come if he is welcomed. We all sent a copy of REDEMPTION to our comissioners. Mine would not even read it. But there was one Comish Bob Kanjean who did read the book plus do countless hours of research. I will always be greatful to him to willing to at learn and udnerstand. The other thing I learned about was the plight of feral cats and how we need to manage our colonies. Because I was part of a group that opposed the proposed ordinance because I felt it was vindictive, sexist and would not move us forward and our issue was poor shelter management and an undeducated public I took a lot of heat. Someone even called me a dog killer. I went home and wept.
I can only give two recomendations. The first one is go buy Nathan's book Redemption and read it- I found it not only facinating but inspiring but if everyone involves reads it then everyone gets on the same page. Thats the first step- I really believed that as a community we could build a no-kill county together with out draconian legislation. We must have faith in our fellow humans. Like I said rescues do this every day because for us the thought of euthanizing any animal means we have failed in some way.
I beleive heartily it takes a village to change hearts and minds to something will have lasting effects for generations. The second most important thng is to keep your mind open and look at the big picture which is hard. When i opened my heart and mind wonderful people poured into it and we really got a clear picture.
Please Broward County: read Nathans book and don't be scared away- it will blow you away.
sorry if this port is a little weird- i just had my eyes dilated
all the best
Cyndi from golden rescue

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