Frequently Asked Questions

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. 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 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 3599 NW 79 Ave. in Doral, 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. These trainers can help dog owners solve many of the basic obedience issues mentioned above. 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 care for 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. Dog fighters 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 bring them to the Humane Society of Greater Miami 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 must have space for them. Animal intake is by walk-in ONLY on everyday between 9:00am and 4:00pm. A $25 donation is requested, but not required, upon surrender to help with the costs of caring for the pet.

You may also consider the below locations for surrendering your pet:

Miami-Dade Animal Services
3599 NW 79th Ave
Doral, FL 33122

Humane Society of Broward County
2070 Griffin Road
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33312

Broward County Animal Care and Regulations
1870 SW 39 Street
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33315

Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League
3100-3200 N Military Trail
West Palm Beach, FL 33409

Palm Beach Animal Care and Control
7100 Belvedere Road
Palm Beach, FL 333411

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. Good luck!

“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 (3599 NW 79 Ave). 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?

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.

How WE can help you!

Depending on grants or funds available, our clinic may be able to provide the services for FREE, in addition to age and weight appropriate vaccines at the time of the surgery at no additional charge.

No appointment is needed for community cats.

With hundreds of thousands of homeless cats roaming the streets every day, the only way we can make a significant impact in reducing and controlling the population of community cats in Miami-Dade is with YOUR help!

Tips on Trapping

  • You may have more success trapping if you withhold food 24-36 hours prior to trapping and then trap at the usual feeding times.
  • Place the bait, usually canned cat food or tuna fish, into the far back of the cage and secure the door with the clip. Line the trap with a thin layer of newspaper if the wind is not too strong to move the paper around.
  • Trail some of the juice from the bait and/or small amounts of bait from the entrance of the trap to the back of the trap.
  • Place the cage in an area where cats are often observed or their usual feeding area.
  • After setting the cage, it may be helpful to place a sheet or pillow case over the cage. Cats often venture into enclosed areas.
  • Remove yourself from the immediate area. Check the trap as often as possible. It is not recommended to leave the traps unobserved for any length of time.
  • After the cat has been caught, completely cover the cage with a sheet. This helps to calm the cat.
  • Do not allow children or pets near the cage.
  • When transporting the cat in a car, place a trash bag under the cage. Keep the cage covered. Do not transport the cat in the closed trunk of the car or in the back of an open pick-up truck.

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. If the cat is friendly, appears to be healthy, you may visit us and we will let you know if we have space available to accept the cat for adoption. Animal intake is by walk-in ONLY on everyday from 9:00am to 4:00pm. A $25 donation is requested, but not required, upon surrender to help with the costs of caring for the pet. Because we do not euthanize animals due to time, space or treatable medical conditions, 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.

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. How can I find one?

A 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.

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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