Miami-Dade Animal Services Whistleblower Offers Eyewitness Testimony to Inhumane Mass Killing at Shelter

October 22 Incident Provokes Public Outcry

Jan 12, 2011, 10:36 ET from Grace Avila

MIAMI, Jan. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A former employee of Miami-Dade Animal Services has come forward to testify to the killing of dozens of animals by a brutal method known as “heart-stick” in an incident at the shelter on October 22, 2010. More formally known as intracardial injection or IC, the procedure is widely held to be grossly inhumane and its use is in fact constrained by Miami-Dade’s own policies. Their published Standard Operating Procedure manual specifies “an intracardiac injection should be done only if an animal is unconscious,” with the procedure overall held by the shelter as a method of last resort. Such veterinary and animal protection bodies as the American Veterinary Medical Association and Humane Society of The United States have also issued guidelines for the procedure’s use, the AVMA specifying that “Intracardiac injection is acceptable only when performed on heavily sedated, anesthetized or comatose animals, owing to the difficulty and unpredictability of performing the injection accurately.” Grace Avila, then an Animal Care Specialist at MDAS, alleges that on the evening of October 22, dozens of animals were killed by an MDAS employee using IC without sedation, causing them to suffer terrifying and agonizing deaths.

These accusations have surfaced at a time when the shelter was already at the center of a firestorm of complaints by local citizens regarding living conditions within the shelter, the neglect and mishandling of animals, a kill-rate significantly higher than the national average and overall mismanagement by MDAS’ director Dr. Sara Pizano, DVM. In particular, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez’ Facebook page has recently become the target of innumerable postings by outraged citizens of not only Dade County, but animal advocates from around the country and abroad, including such countries as the U.K. and Kenya.

Local grass-roots animal advocate groups are calling for a general assessment of conditions inside the shelter by an outside agency, as well as a thorough investigation into the horrific events of October 22, and removal of shelter administrators Dr. Sara Pizano and Xiomara Mordcovich.

Several informal groups of concerned citizens have formed in recent weeks with the intention of gaining wide-spread exposure of numerous documented incidents of neglect and mistreatment of animals in the custody of MDAS.

Large scale public demonstrations are currently in the planning stages. As of this writing the employee remains in the employ of Miami-Dade Animal Services, and the only disciplinary action known to have been taken against the employee by the shelter is the employee's demotion to DA, shelter terminology for dead animal removal.

Whistleblower Grace Avila was dismissed by the shelter on Monday, January 10.

Interviews with Grace Avila available upon request.


Candice Flores, +1-870-405-7115, released by Reel One Multi Media/Kimberly Courteau

SOURCE Grace Avila