Miami-Dade Voters Support Lifesaving Pets Trust Measure

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Michael Rosenberg and supporters, via Pets Trust at Facebook.


A month ago, Michael Rosenberg spent the weekend in a dog pen at Miami-Dade animal services to promote a special adoption event and to draw attention to the Pets Trust ballot measure that Miami-Dale County voters overwhelmingly supported when they went to the polls yesterday.

By a two to one margin, county residents said with their votes that they are willing to add a few dollars to their property tax bills in order to help Miami Dade Animal Services move toward a no- kill model of operation by providing services and education to that end. The proposal provides for property tax financing of spay/neuter clinics and animal welfare. Property owners would pay $10 on a $100,000 property. County Commissioners, who have already taken a no-kill proposal under consideration, are expected to move forward based on voters’ approval of the measure.

Currently, animal services takes in tens of thousands of cats and dogs every year, the majority of whom are killed for space before they can be adopted.

Pets’ Trust Initiative members will now begin planning for the creation of a 13- to 15-member volunteer board of animal advocates and experts to oversee how the estimated $20 million raised annually would be used to provide  free and low-cost spay/neuter and veterinary care and public awareness and education programs promoting responsible pet ownership. A national advisory board will provide oversight.

MDAS director Alex Muñoz is quoted in today’s Miami Herald, saying  “We will work with the community and our elected officials to implement new and expanded life-saving programs to increase the amount of pets saved, re-homed, and sterilized. The passage of this referendum is providing us with opportunities not previously available.’’

Michael Rosenberg founded the Pets Trust, which he modeled after the Children’s Trust, in 2011.  The Pets Trust grew from Michael’s own tragic experience with last year’s deadly panleukopenia or “cat plague” outbreak at Miami-Dade that took dozens of lives.


Michael adopted a  6 week old little kitten name Wren, or to hear him tell it, she adopted him, a year ago.  With Wren  settled on his couch, Michael thought she was going to enjoy the next 15 years in her new home. That was not to be; Wren died just days after her adoption. “I started noticing that she was slowing down, couldn’t jump on the couch, didn’t want to eat, and when I walked in, she was dead on the floor,”  Michael said in a channel 10 interview broadcast on October 12, 2011.


MDAS confirmed that Wren was one of a small litter of kittens who brought panleukopenia to the shelter with them. The cats had not been vaccinated upon entry into the animal services facility, a simple step that would have prevented the outbreak from costing lives and becoming a bad situation for the shelter.

Wren’s death and the deadly outbreak that followed spurred Michael to take action to improve the lives of animals coming to the shelter, and to to help animal services staff in their efforts to help the animal

Pets’ Trust Miami describes itself as “a citizens’ initiative to improve animal welfare, increase adoptions and decrease overpopulation by providing free and low-cost spay/neuter, low-cost veterinary care and educational programs.”

See Animal Activist Spends Weekend Caged at Shelter for more on Michael’s weekend at the kennel and the story of the cat that inspired him to activism.



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