Pet Families Stay Together Thanks To Efforts By Animal Services

Tiffany Razzano
·2 min read

MIAMI, FL — While other areas are seeing an influx of families forced to give up their pets due to the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Miami-Dade County hasn’t seen the same increase in surrendered animals, said Flora Beal, public information office.

This is largely due to the proactive work being done by the county’s Animal Services Department, she said. Their Pet Retention Program is designed to keep families together.

“Normally, if somebody comes in to say they're coming in with their pet to surrender and rehome them, we try to go over all the options with them to find out why it is they’re making the difficult decision of surrendering their lifelong companion,” Beal said.

The Pet Retention Program offers grants to some families in need so they can continue to care for their furry loved ones. Animal Services has also been hosting regular drive-through pet food banks since April.

“We started (these measures) early, as we were very much aware the financial strains of COVID-19 were going to impact families,” Beal said. “If you're going to have a hard time trying to put food on your table, that’s likely going to translate to having a hard time putting food in their bowls, too.”

The next pet food bank takes place Saturday from 8 to 11 a.m. (or while supplies last) at Lake Stevens Park, located at 18350 NW 52nd Ave. in Miami Gardens. Participants are asked to enter on NW 52nd Avenue.

The event is drive-through only – no walk-ups allowed - and only open to Miami-Dade County pet owners. All residents must wear masks or face coverings.

The dog and cat food distribution is made possible through donations from The ASPCA (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) as part of the national ASPCA COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Initiative.

For more information about programs serving Miami-Dade County’s pets and pet owners at Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department call 311, visit www.miamidade.gov/animals or follow Animal Services on social media @adoptmiamipets.

This article originally appeared on the Miami Patch