Update with response from shelter:
“We are in the process of reviewing security footage to determine if Ralph escaped or was stolen. The review is time consuming but once completed we will advise you of the findings.”
The shelter went on to state: “Please also know that the category of lost in care/missing animal is reportable pursuant Florida Statutes 823.15. All shelters in the state are required to report this category as dogs and cats do periodically escape or go missing from shelters.” (Emphasis added)
April has been the “cruelest” month at Miami Dade Animal Services. At least for a small, senior dog named Ralph. The shelter seems to have “lost” this dog. Not only has this dog disappeared from his kennel, but so far this month two dogs have died in their kennels. Those who network dogs from this shelter say that it’s nothing new — dogs “disappear” regularly.
Ralph entered the shelter on March 27th. He began getting anti-inflammatory medication for his arthritis, and he was seen by the clinic on April 6th, but on April 7th, he could not be found. Those furiously networking Ralph, knowing that a senior dog is much more difficult to save, were appalled to discover, after Ralph had a rescue willing to take him, that the shelter could not account for his whereabouts. Even after checking off-site places where some dogs stay, like a Petco or other locations, the shelter is unable to find the gentle senior fellow.
His medical report states that while Ralph was old, his condition was listed as “normal.” He didn’t walk well, and the vet noted, “Unstable gait, rear legs weak.” They thought he might have arthritis. It’s not likely that Ralph ran out of the shelter on his unsteady legs. So where is he?
Ralph is not alone. Some dogs escape from the shelter, some get “lost,” and some die in their kennels. Volunteers have seen dogs bolting out of the MDAS parking lot. More information about Ralph is on his Facebook thread.
Another dog, Banshee, who was a senior stray, died in his kennel at the shelter. He was ID#A1773845, and this is his Facebook thread. Yet another dog, an eight-week-old pit bull puppy, died in her cage of parvovirus. It is not known if the shelter was treating her for the deadly disease.
How does a dog disappear from a shelter? In 2015, the shelter “lost” around four dogs a month, and they killed an average of 50 dogs a week. At Miami Dade Animal Services, almost 30 dogs a month died in their kennels (see statistics provided by MDAS in slideshow). While some may call that “no kill,” I am sure that the 200 dogs killed each month would disagree if only they could.
There is nothing anyone can do to save these dogs. Like the other “missing” dogs, Ralph’s ending will probably never be known. Please share the story for those who cannot talk. Please encourage others to adopt and foster. Please talk to friends and family about the importance of spaying and neutering dogs and cats.
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