How long does the Humane Society of Greater Miami keep pets?

Once a dog or cat has been admitted to the Humane Society of Greater Miami’s adoption center, he will remain there until he finds a home, no matter how long it takes. The Humane Society of Greater Miami does not euthanize dogs or cats that are healthy (or treatable) and of good temperament. Before a dog or cat is admitted to the adoption center, they must first pass a health and temperament screening and of course, there must be space available for the animal.

The Humane Society of Greater Miami does offer the much-needed service of humane pet euthanasia to the public. If a person has a pet that has been seriously injured, or is terminally ill and his quality of life is seriously compromised, they may bring their pet to be euthanized at either of the Humane Society of Greater Miami clinics. Click here for locations. However, we will not euthanize animals with treatable conditions such as heartworm disease, mange, kennel cough or upper respiratory infections.

How is the Humane Society of Greater Miami funded?

The Humane Society of Greater Miami is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable animal welfare organization supported solely by its programs and services, donations, grants, and fundraising activities. We rely on people like you for financial support.

What is the difference between the Humane Society of Greater Miami, The Humane Society of the United States, and Miami-Dade Animal Services?

All three organizations are completely different organizations and are not related to each other. This Humane Society is a private, not-for-profit charitable animal welfare organization that cares for adoptable pets and provides the public with quality adoption services, low-cost preventive healthcare and spay/neuter services and extensive humane education programming for citizens of all ages. We guarantee a second chance for the animals in our stewardship by caring for them for as long as it takes to find them a loving home – no matter how long it takes. Would you like to help us help the homeless pets of Greater Miami? Click here to make a donation!

It is a common misconception that the Humane Society of Greater Miami receives funding from national animal welfare organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). It is important to know that donations made to these national organizations do not support the animals cared for locally by the Humane Society. HSUS works to reduce suffering and to create meaningful social change for animals by advocating for sensible public policies, investigating cruelty and working to enforce existing laws, educating the public about animal issues, joining with corporations on behalf of animal-friendly policies, and conducting hands-on programs that make ours a more humane world.

Animal Services is the government agency in Miami-Dade County that enforces county ordinances pertaining to dogs and cats. Animal Services’ main responsibilities are to help prevent and punish animal cruelty, and to protect the public by picking up stray dogs, requiring rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats, and by controlling dangerous dogs. Animal Services has a variety of loving, deserving dogs and cats available for adoption. Animal Services, located at 7401 N.W. 74th Street in Miami, is funded by dog license sales, shelter fees, enforcement fines, grants and donations.

I can’t keep my pet any longer – what can I do?

Once in a while, due to circumstances beyond their control, a pet owner may become unable to care for their pet. Perhaps they became gravely ill or injured. Perhaps their child developed asthma. Perhaps the owner was having serious, long-term financial problems. It is for situations like these that animal shelters exist-to help care for pets and find them new loving homes if their owner becomes truly unable to care for them.

Fortunately, many people who think they must give up their pet do not have to!

If you love your pet and want to keep him or her, we will do what we can to assist you. If you are giving up your pet for one of the following reasons, STOP! Let us help you keep your pet!

“We’re moving.”

It is absolutely possible to move across town or to another state while keeping your pet as part of your family. Click here for tips on moving with your pet. Click here for assistance in finding pet-friendly housing.

If the reason why you are giving up your pet is because you have a family emergency or you must go out of town suddenly, ask a friend or family member if they can care for your pet until you are able to return. Also, there are lots of reasonably-priced boarding kennels that can be found on the Internet or in the phone book.

“He is not housetrained.”
“He is destructive.”
“He scratches the furniture.”
“He is too hyper.”
“We’re having a baby.”

The Humane Society of Greater Miami works closely with professional trainers specializing in behavior modification. We hold FREE workshops the fourth Saturday of every month at the Soffer and Fine Adoption Center beginning at 12:00PM. These workshops help dog owners solve many of the basic obedience issues mentioned above and are for humans only. For more information visit Canine Counselors or call 305-264-0027.

“I’m allergic to my pet.”

Contact your physician to learn about some of the many effective pet allergy medications on the market. Click here for tips on pets and allergies.

 Finding a responsible home for your pet.

If you ultimately decide that you cannot keep your pet, you have several options. First, do your very best to find him a home yourself. Just as it was your responsibility to feed, train, and care for your pet, it is also your responsibility to find a home for your pet if you can no longer keep him. A “good” home means a home where the animal will live for the rest of his or her life, where he or she will receive attention, veterinary care, proper nutrition, and be treated as part of the family. Finding a good home for a pet may take some time, but it is possible. Here are some tips:

  • Ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers, family members, anyone you know that loves animals, if they would like to have your pet.
  • Make a “resume” for your pet that tells your pet’s age, size, breed, personality traits, if he or she has lived with other animals or kids, etc. Be sure to include a photograph! Post your pet’s resume where allowed around your neighborhood, in pet supply stores, grocery stores, laundromats, etc.
  • If your pet is a purebred, there may be a breed-specific rescue organization in your area that will accept him and work to find him a new home. Breed-specific rescue groups are usually run by people with in-depth knowledge of a specific breed and they keep adoptable animals until they can be placed in loving, permanent homes. To locate a rescue group that specializes in your pet’s breed, search the Internet or check the classifieds section of the newspaper. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
  • Don’t advertise your pet as “free to a good home”. Individuals known as “bunchers” routinely answer “free-to-good-home” ads, posing as people who want family pets when, in actuality, they may sell pets to research laboratories and puppy mills. Dogfighters have also been known to obtain domestic animals for baiting through “free to good home” ads. These people are “professionals” who may even bring children or their mothers with them when picking up pets. Asking for a small adoption fee will help discourage people with bad intentions. Always be mindful of your own safety when you go to interview potential adopters or if you allow a prospective adopter to enter your home.
  • Ask for a valid form of identification (preferably a driver’s license). Record the number for your records and require the new owner to sign a contract stating the requirements of adoption upon which both parties agree.
  • Have your pet neutered or spayed before he or she goes to the new home. This will make the animal more adoptable and help stop irresponsible breeding.

If You Can’t Find a Good Home for Your Pet

The Humane Society of Greater Miami has limited space available to accept new pets for adoption. Therefore, it is extremely important that you do your best to find your pet a home yourself. If you have tried all of the above suggestions and you are still unable to find your pet a home, you may call the Humane Society of Greater Miami (305-749-1830) to see if we are able to accept him for adoption. All animals must pass a health and temperament test before we accept them, and we have to have space for them. Animal intake is done by appointment ONLY.

Finding a quality home for your pet can be a difficult and time-consuming process. The more time and effort you devote to finding a good home for your pet, the better your chances for finding one. After the love and companionship your pet has provided you with since you have had him, the least you can do is make sure he is going to a loving, responsible, permanent home. Good luck!

Another alternative is to take your pet to the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department (“Animal Services”). Animal Services is a completely separate organization. Animal Services will accept all dogs and cats that are brought to them, and for that reason, they are not able to guarantee adoption for pets. Animal Services’ phone number is 305-884-1101. Remember to do your best to find your pet a home before resorting to relinquishing him to any animal shelter.


“I lost my pet – what can I do?”

  • Go look for your pet! Don’t wait for your pet to return on his own. The sooner you go look, the better your chances of finding him. Check everywhere – especially places where your pet has been before, such as the park. Search your neighborhood during the day AND the evening.
  • Go to Miami-Dade Animal Services’ website as well as visit their shelter every day (7401 NW 74th St). Please do not call Animal Services. By law, stray or found pets must be held for 5 days in order to give the owner a chance to find them. Also call your local Humane Society and any other local animal shelter to see if he was returned in there.
  • Click here to search The Center for Lost Pets website to see if your lost pet has been found.
  • Click on any of the following websites:;;;;;
  • Continue to visit county run animal welfare organizations as well as local humane societies and rescue groups. You never know when someone will turn in your pet. Don’t give up!
  • Put signs or posters around your neighborhood, at local stores, and veterinarian offices (where allowed). Your signs/posters should be waterproof and large enough to be read from 10 feet away. Be sure to include breed, age, and sex, where your pet was last seen, and your phone number. Include information about a reward if you are able to offer one, and a photo of your pet, if possible.
  • Let all your neighbors know your pet is missing.
  • Place a “lost” ad in the newspaper.
  • Check the “found” ads in the newspaper.
  • Don’t give up! Sometimes people find an animal and decide to keep him or her. Then, a few weeks later, they change their mind and they take the pet to an animal shelter or abandon him on the street where they found him.

“I found a stray dog or cat-what can I do?”

Thank you for helping that lost animal!

  • If the animal you have found is a dog, take it for walks several times each day in the neighborhood where you found him. Hopefully the owner will see you.
  • Call the Humane Society of Greater Miami (305-696-0800) to report that you have found an animal. We keep a registry of lost and found pets. Animal Services no longer maintains a list of found animals.
  • Bring to a local animal shelter or veterinarian to see if the animal has a microchip. There will not be a fee for this service.
  • Click here to search The Center for Lost Pets website to see if the pet you have found has been posted as lost.
  • Most major newspapers and community newsletters will place a found ad in the “lost and found” section for free. Also, check the “lost” ads daily.
  • Place posters in the neighborhood where you found the animal, including veterinarian offices and pet supply stores (where allowed). Leave the content simple: “Found: large dog. Please call 305-555-5555”. Let the owner describe their pet to you-then you will know that you are returning him or her to the rightful owner.
  • If someone is claiming to be the pet’s owner, ask for proof of ownership (such as a photograph of the pet).
  • Check lost and found pet registries on the Web such as

I have stray cats roaming all over my neighborhood! What can I do?

Many communities suffer from cat overpopulation problems resulting from irresponsible cat owners that let their unneutered cats roam free. Cats that live outside without the luxury of vet care and shelter typically succumb to illness, parasites, accidents and starvation that drastically cut their lives short. However, most of them live long enough to reproduce several times, producing as many as 20 kittens in one year.

In Miami-Dade County, there is a law that prohibits dogs from roaming free. The Miami-Dade Animal Services Department enforces this law by picking up stray dogs. There is no such law for cats. Therefore, Animal Services does not pick up stray cats.

The Humane Society of Greater Miami advocates the ‘trap-neuter-return’ method as the most humane method of reducing stray cat populations in most communities. Alley Cat Allies, a national nonprofit clearinghouse for information on feral and stray cats, has been educating the public for more than a decade on the trap-neuter-return method. Please click here to go to ACA’s highly informative website. You can also contact The Cat Network, a Miami-based homeless-cat placement group, through their website.

Where do I get a trap?

You can find a place to rent a trap by looking under ‘trap rentals’ on the Internet or in the phone book.

If I don’t want to alter and release a stray cat, what should I do?

If the cat is socialized, try to find him or her a home yourself. Click here for tips on finding a good home for a pet. If the cat is friendly, appears to be healthy, call the Humane Society of Greater Miami (305-749-1830) and we will let you know if we have space available to accept the cat for adoption. Animal intake is done by appointment ONLY. Because we do not euthanize healthy animals, we cannot accept all of the animals that are brought to us. All animals must pass a health and temperament screening before they are admitted to our shelter.

Miami-Dade Animal Services Department accepts all dogs and cats that are brought to them, although for this reason, they cannot guarantee adoption.

Can I pay someone to trap the cats?

You can find listings for professional trappers on the Internet or in the phone book.

This heart-wrenching pet overpopulation problem is caused by not spaying or neutering a pet and then allowing them to roam free. However, this problem can be solved by being a responsible pet owner and spaying or neutering your pet and not allowing them to roam free. Please encourage everyone you know to do the same.

I would like to adopt a specific size/breed/age of pet. Can you call me when one of these animals is available?

We strongly encourage people looking to adopt a certain type of dog or cat to visit our shelter as often as possible to see what pets we have available. You can also ask for information on our Match-A-Pet program.

Another great resource for finding a specific pet for adoption is On Petfinder, you can enter a description of the pet you are looking for and then search through a database containing hundreds of adoptable pets in your area, including adoptable pets at the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

What if I’m allergic to my pet?

Being a pet owner is never easy. While pets bring us joy and companionship on a daily basis, they also require training, veterinary care, time, love, attention, and even tolerance. Tolerance is especially necessary when a pet owner is allergic to his or her companion animal.

Studies show that approximately 15% of the population is allergic to dogs or cats. An estimated one-third of Americans who are allergic to cats (about two million people) live with at least one cat in their household anyway. In a study of 341 adults who were allergic to cats or dogs and had been advised by their physicians to give up their pets, only one out of five did. What’s more, 122 of them obtained another pet after a previous one had died. It’s clear the benefits of pet companionship outweigh the drawbacks of pet allergies for many owners. Living comfortably with a companion animal, despite being allergic to him, requires a good understanding of the allergic condition and an adherence to a few rules.

All cats and dogs are allergenic (allergy-causing) to people who are allergic to animals. Cats tend to be more allergenic than dogs for allergic people, although some people are more sensitive to dogs than cats. Contrary to popular belief, there are no “non-allergenic” breeds of dogs or cats; even hairless breeds may be highly allergenic.

Dogs with soft, constantly-growing hair such as the Poodle or the Bichon Frise, may be less irritating to some individuals, although this may be because they are bathed and groomed more frequently. One dog or cat of a particular breed may be more irritating to an individual allergy sufferer than another animal of that same breed.

What is the source of irritation to pet-allergic humans? Glands in the animal’s skin secrete tiny allergy-triggering proteins, called allergens, that linger in the animal’s fur but also float easily in the air. Allergens are present in the animal’s saliva and may become airborne when saliva dries on the fur. The severity of reaction to these allergens varies from one person to the next, ranging from mild sniffling and sneezing to life-threatening asthma, and can be complicated by simultaneous allergies to other irritants in the environment.

If your or a family member’s allergies are simply miserable, but not life-threatening, take these steps to reduce the symptoms:

  • Don’t be quick to blame the family pet for allergies. Ask your allergist to specifically test for allergies to pet dander, rather than making an assumption. And understand that allergies are cumulative. Many allergy sufferers are sensitive to more than one allergen. So if you’re allergic to dust, insecticides, pollen, cigarette smoke, and cat dander, you’ll need to reduce the overall allergen level in your environment by concentrating on all of the causes, not just the pet allergy. For example, you may need to step up measures to remove cat dander from your home and carefully avoid cigarette smoke during spring, when it is difficult to avoid exposure to pollen.
  • Create an “allergy free” zone in the home, preferably the bedroom, and strictly prohibit the pet’s access to it. Use a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner (available at almost any home and garden store or discount department store) in the bedroom. Consider using impermeable covers for the mattress and pillows because allergen particles brought into the room on clothes and other objects can accumulate in them.
  • Use HEPA air cleaners throughout the rest of the home, and avoid dust and-dander catching furnishings such as cloth curtains and blinds and carpeted floors. Clean frequently and thoroughly to remove dust and dander, washing articles such as couch covers and pillows, curtains, and pet beds. Use a “microfilter” bag in the vacuum cleaner to effectively catch all the allergens.Bathing your pet on a weekly basis can reduce the level of allergens on fur by as much as 84%. Although products are available that claim to reduce pet allergens when sprayed on the animal’s fur, studies show they are less effective than a weekly bath. Even cats can become accustomed to being bathed; check with your veterinarian’s staff or a good book on pet care for directions about how to do this properly, and use whatever shampoo your veterinarian recommends.
  • Immunotherapy (allergy shots) can improve symptoms but cannot eliminate them entirely. They work by gradually desensitizing a person’s immune system to the pet allergens. Allergy-causing proteins are injected under the person’s skin, triggering the body to produce antibodies (protective proteins) which block the pet allergen from causing a reaction. Patients are usually given one dose per week for a few weeks to months (depending on the severity of the allergy) and then can often manage with one injection per month.

Additional treatments for allergies to pets are symptomatic, including steroidal and antihistamine nose sprays and antihistamine pills. For asthma, there are multiple medications, sprays, and inhalers available. It is important to find an allergist who understands your commitment to living with your pet. A combination of approaches, medical control of symptoms, good housecleaning methods, and immunotherapy are most likely to succeed in allowing an allergic person to live with pets.

Of course, if you do not currently have a pet and are considering one, and know you are pet-allergic, be sure to consider carefully whether you can live with the allergy before you bring a new pet home. Except in the case of children, who sometimes outgrow allergies, few allergy sufferers become accustomed to pets to whom they are allergic. Too many allergic owners obtain pets without thinking through the difficulties of living with them. And too often, they end up relinquishing pets, a decision that is difficult for the owner and can be life-threatening for the pet.

Originally Published by the Humane Society of the United States

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