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February 11, 2011

SFSPCA Statement on Animal Services

"In response to recent media and internet attacks on Dr. Sara Pizano, Director of Miami-Dade Animal Services, the Board of Directors of the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has voted  in SUPPORT of Dr. Sara Pizano."

From Jeanette Jordan, longtime animal activist and president of South Florida SPCA:

“Dr. Pizano’s leadership has led to countless improvements at Animal Services including dramatically  increased adoptions, nationally recognized spay/neuter programs and the introduction of protocols that have resulted in more humane treatment of animals at the shelter.

 “Assuming that the motives of those calling for Dr. Pizano’s removal are heartfelt, their rage is, at best, misplaced and fueled by lack of knowledge. Those of us on the frontlines of animal rescue know the real culprit is not Dr. Pizano, but an irresponsible public who do not spay/neuter their pets.

“I politely reached out to the organizers of the protest against Dr. Pizano through Facebook to see if there was any common ground with them that my organization could support,” stated Jordan.  “Unfortunately, I was shot down. In fact, I felt threatened.  I was told, in writing, that I was passive-aggressive, and condescending. I was told not to contact them again or ‘I would be shredded.' It is clear to us that the upcoming rally is being staged by individuals untroubled by facts and reality.”

This is me, Ellie, talking now. Shredded? Really? Can someone explain to me why it was necessary to treat someone who has spent decades rescuing farm animals in this town to be treated like that? Whether you agree with Pizano's way of handling the shelter or not, the nastiness that surrounds this issue is way over the line. What is, this, the 7th grade?

A lot of ASD critics either have a very short memory or didn't live here prior to the current management. Allow me to present some statistics from Herald stories in the pre-Pizano era, when the Public Works then the police department ran the shelter, which was a death factory, pure and simple.

From a 1995 story: "Dade County took in 23,668 dogs between Sept. 30, 1993, and Sept. 30, 1994. Only 3,041 found homes; 18,442 had to be killed (a process that statewide costs $20 million a year). Daily impoundments and surrenders outnumber adoptions and reclamations of lost dogs by 4-1.''

From the department's recent 5-year report: "Adoptions increased by 178% from FY 2004-2005 (3,002) to FY 2009-2010 (8,334). In addition to increased adoptions, more than sixty (60) Rescue Partners have contributed to the number of animals saved with 4,074 transfers in FY 09-10. The number of animals saved has increased from FY 2004-2005 (5,667) to FY 2009-2010 (13,942) which is the highest number in the history of the Department and an unprecedented accomplishment for any open admission public shelter. ''

Does this mean that there's an acceptable level of euthanasia now? Of course not, but anyone who thinks that the current management is just fine with the way things are is, as Jeanette Jordan said, "untroubled by facts or reality.'' And I, for one, really wonder what the agenda is among those who have gotten so vicious, spiteful and personal.





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It's not surprising that the SFSPCA supports Pizano. Her long-time boyfriend, Roy Pressman, is on its Board.

You are absolutely correct: the problem lies not with the director (who I don't think is a malicious sort), but with an ignorant public. Effort needs to be put into raising money for more space and more available veterinary care for surrendered or abandoned animals rather than protests. We need programs to transport more of these animals out of MDAS and into places that are not overcrowded.

Warm climates and dense areas of human population breed a environment of animal overpopulation. When a family cannot afford basic medical care for its children, how can we hope to have a successful spay/neuter program? We need more education and more thorough public awareness to overcome this battle.

Unfortunately, Miami Dade has been bled dry for tax revenue, so perhaps action should be made to make a state or nation-wide cause. Politicians always look for "feel good" causes in these upcoming election years.

Ellie, please email me a copy of the document from protest organizers in which they tell Jordon not to contact them again or she would be shredded. Thanks.

What Ms. Jordan failed to mention is that her email to me prior to being told that she "would be shredded" was provocative, condescending and rude. There was a heated exchange and she took the quote out of context. It was meant to be a verbal, not a literal, shredding.

As Ms. Glickman mentioned there is a financial alliance between MDAS, Pizano and the SFSPCA. Ms. Jordan is President and Roy Pressman, Pizano's boyfriend, is the Treasurer. I am told that MDAS gives the SFSPCA and a monthly donation upwards of thousands of dollars. If I am incorrect, I am certain that Ms. Jordan will say so.

Why so many journalists are so quick to judge us as "7th graders" without hearing both sides of the story is shoddy journalism. When you paint us as crazy or hostile, you do not hurt us; you hurt the animals we are desperate to save. A good journalist, in my opinion, would look beyond the superficial. If you dig a little deeper, you will find the most of the groups, like the SPCA and The Cat Network, support Pizano because of the funding they receive from MDAS. Sad that their chosen few shall live while thousands of others will die because of their greed.

We are not misinformed. We are the rescuers on the "front lines".
Just a few "facts": Pizano still, after five years and 145,000 annual salary (more than the Governor of Florida earns), is killing between 60% to 65% of the healthy and adoptable animals, (100 a day we are told), who are coming through the doors. This is an improvement how? Make NO MISTAKE, she is not responsible for any improvement in any numbers. That would be solely because of the rescue groups tirelessly networking day and night trying to save the animals. Matter of fact, MDAS took down their Facebook page and left no way to see the animals available for adoption. Now volunteers must go there to photograph pictures and upload them to Facebook and Petfinder. She kills with empty cages. She allowed an employee caught on camera heart-sticking 30 cats and kittens to remain employed, but took the camera down from the Euthanasia room. Animals leaving MDAS thought to be spayed/neutered are later having litters of kittens and puppies (we have binders full of accounts). Animals are leaving the shelter with preventable illnesses like Distemper and Parvo, so now rescue groups can no longer pull animals for fear of killing their others. We are told by an employee that she "never leaves her office". She refuses to work with "No Kill Nation", who is now working with Broward County Animal Care and Adoption, and is starting to SAVE lives. I know this to be true, because I am a volunteer there. The difference between what BCAC used to be and today is vast and is only getting better. Pizano refuses their help because of one of two things: laziness or ego. There are more volunteers and employees coming forward to tell of the horrors at MDAS. It will all soon come to light.

My question to you Ms. Brecher is why you were so quick to believe one side without also speaking to the other? Is that fair and honest journalism? Your glowing account of Ms. Jordan is apparent. At the same time, your disdain for the animal right's groups and activists is also evident. As I stated before, this is sad and unfortunate not for us, but for the desperate and voiceless animals.

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