Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department (ASD) was awarded the 2020 Outstanding Agency of the Year by the Florida Animal Control Association (FACA) at its annual conference, held Feb. 20-23, in Orlando.
The Outstanding Agency of the Year is the highest honor bestowed by FACA and is awarded to the agency which demonstrates notable achievements in animal welfare.
“To be recognized by our peers in the animal welfare community is of course a special honor, and it also gives us the encouragement to continue the difficult work we’re doing, to continuously innovate ways to save and protect pets,” said Alex Muñoz, director of Miami-Dade County Animal Services. “This is a testament to the work the employees do every day for stray, lost and abandoned pets.”
The 2020 Outstanding Agency of the Year distinction marks the first time Miami-Dade was recognized since becoming a no-kill shelter in 2015.
“In just a few years, Miami-Dade County has come such a long way in striving for excellence in animal welfare,” Muñoz said. “Anyone who saw where we came from compared to where we are now — in a new, industry-leading facility with leading-edge programs to save pets — can attest to that.”
In the award ceremony, FACA highlighted the department’s exemplary training programs and community outreach.
Highlights included the following:
ASD’s crime scene/anti-cruelty training and forensics: To better support criminal investigations and prosecutions of animal cruelty, ASD hired an experienced police detective as the newly created Anti-Cruelty Police Liaison to augment cruelty investigations and evidence handling training and to instruct on better methodologies for providing support to police investigations and criminal prosecutions.
Opening of a pet wellness clinic in Miami-Dade’s Liberty City: ASD partnered with the ASPCA to build and open a community pet wellness clinic in one of the most underserved areas for veterinary services in the County. ASD acquired and prepared the land for development and serves as the property manager. The ASPCA operates the clinic to provide free or low-cost services to area residents with the goal of improving pet welfare in the community.
Curriculum in Miami-Dade’s schools: In an effort to ensure future generations are invested in animal welfare and responsible pet ownership, ASD created a unique partnership to increase its reach and ensure effective public education of students. ASD’s responsible pet ownership curriculum reaches more than 80,000 students annually in 165 schools.
Life-saving programs: ASD has continually overhauled pet programs to save pets, never accepting the status quo in pursuit of improved pet welfare. These efforts include hundreds of community adoption events, transporting animals to other states and Canada, new medical protocols, expanding spay/neuter efforts, and volunteer and foster programs. This work has enabled ASD to achieve the unprecedented industry benchmark of a 90 percent no-kill save rate every year since 2015.
To learn more about ASD’s life-saving work, or to find out how you can help save more animal lives in Miami-Dade County, visit MiamiDade.gov/animals.