Volunteers mourn dog left to die in old shelter when new shelter opened


Dexter was killed by Miami Dade Animal Services, but only after getting the standard — almost inevitable — label of “agressive.” Volunteers say he was not aggressive at all, and his video would appear to support that statement.

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The video of Dexter shows a dog whose purpose in life appears to be getting some petting. He cries and jumps with his tail wagging, begging for attention. Here is another video showing him in his kennel, sweet and thrilled to get some attention.

He was never given a chance by the shelter. It would appear that they had no intention of bringing him to the new shelter. He and countless other dogs remained at the old shelter to be killed at their leisure. (The shelter won’t allow volunteers in the old shelter any longer, so no one knows exactly how many dogs were left behind.)

The volunteers loved Dexter and were networking him to find a rescue to take this sweet and loving dog. He had been kenneled with other dogs without a problem. If he — suddenly and without reason — became aggressive to other dogs, the shelter could have left him alone in a cage. But the speed with which he was labeled and then killed speaks of a plan to not take Dexter to the new shelter. The shelter lied to those who inquired about Dexter. One person posted on Facebook:

I’m so upset and pissed at the same time!! I went there (to the new shelter) to see Dexter when I couldn’t find him I gave his ID number to a guy and he told me he was at the old shelter and I asked him why and he told me he had URI and as soon as he recovered he would be transferred. I even asked if I could go to the old shelter to meet him and was told no!! I’m heartbroken things will never change!!!!”

One volunteer told Dexter’s story. She said, “First time I met him was in adoption floor, he was alone. He was sleeping and when woke up, grabbed his tennis ball, wanted to play. (A) couple of days later, I saw him he was with Sultan (male), same kennel. He was crying for attention, no aggression towards Sultan who was next to him. Next time I saw him he was moved to another kennel in the adoption floor with a bigger dog, female. Dexter only wanted attention.”

Then Dexter was moved to the back of the notorious west wing, where dogs are taken before being killed. No one goes there (except volunteers), and it’s a stressful area for dogs. There are no fans, it’s hot and humid, and the “aggressive” dogs are kept there. Dexter was there, in a small kennel, still crying for attention. He only calmed down when she pet him. This was the Friday before the new shelter opened. Another visitor posted:

I have walked and played with him. Not one single ounce of aggression, very playful, curious and sweet.”

According to volunteers, he was in the west wing for a week before the shelter documented a change in his behavior. That might have contributed to any change in behavior, but the staff didn’t make any effort to help Dexter. It’s much easier to slap on the “aggressive” label and kill them. (See “Miami county shelter labels more dogs “aggressive” so they can be killed“)

Four-year-old Dexter, beloved by volunteers, was killed on June 15, two days after the beautiful new shelter opened to much publicity. Unfortunately for Dexter, his life didn’t matter to those in charge. He was never slated to be part of the new shelter. He was left alone, unseen and unloved, at the old shelter.

34 animals were killed at the end of May in one 24-hour period. This is a shelter that says it’s “no kill,” but when they label animals as “aggressive,” or “sick,” they can kill them without the kills being added to the no kill numbers. So even if they killed 100 animals in one day, so long as those animals were either labeled “aggressive” or “sick,” they could still say they have a 90% live save rate. It’s all about playing the numbers. (See “Playing the numbers game: Is MDAS really no kill?“)

Dexter, there are many who miss you and are sorry that Miami Dade Animal Services and those in charge at this (kill) shelter betrayed you. Please know that you were loved. The volunteers tried to save you.

Watch the short video, Silent Shelter trailer, to see how MDAS and other shelters punish volunteers who speak out about shelter abuses. They take away their volunteer privileges and worse, take away their ability to pull dogs from the shelter. More than one volunteer at MDAS has been told that they couldn’t volunteer at the shelter anymore because of their posts exposing the shelter practices (you are too negative, was the shelter’s explanation). It’s an excellent video and it shows exactly why change is so difficult to enact. When those who desire the change are intimidated by those in charge, nothing changes.

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