Rosenberg scoffed that Bovo — whom he invites to the euthanasia room in every email — “believes that we can put jars in stores to collect donations to solve the problem.”
The Pets Trust contends its plan would ultimately save taxpayer money. Neutering or spaying would cost a fraction of the hundreds of dollars it costs to keep an animal at the shelter for the mandatory period before it is euthanized.
On the straw ballot, Bovo said, “unfortunately the voters were given only one choice to make: raise taxes to provide for animal welfare or let the pets die. As an owner of two Golden Retrievers, I am committed to working to achieve the goal set out by the Straw Ballot Question. However, using a millage increase to fund enhanced animal services sets a very dangerous precedent and invites philanthropic organizations to pursue future non-binding straw polls as a vehicle for funding.’’
District 4’s Sally Heyman, who chairs the commission’s Public Safety and Animal Services Committee, is livid. She, too, thought Gimenez was onboard.
“This has been a work in progress for two years,’’ she fumed. “What’s significant about this is that we went to the people,’’ who have demonstrated over and over, with causes like the Children’s Trust, the Homeless Trust and public education, that they’ll tax themselves for the common good.
“People who will never go to Jackson Memorial Hospital pay for it because they know the value of it for the poor people who need the safety net,’’ she said, and that’s how they felt about animals.
She noted that the kill-to-save rate has dropped significantly at the shelter since it became its own department in 2005, but the “no kill’’ objective needed the $19 million boost, which would have come up for review every budget year.
“If we have the ability to get in front of [overpopulation], it will be a cost saving,’’ Heyman said.
She angrily noted that the same commissioners who voted for the blueprint then persuaded Gimenez not to fund it because they oppose tax increases represent neighborhoods that would have benefitted most from free sterilizations clinics.
She urged those who got active for the first time with Pets’ Trust not to lose faith in their government.
Too late for Lissa Terese Sclichter of Homestead, who said in an email to Gimenez: “We voted to raise our taxes to prevent this from happening. Now PLEASE, raise our taxes! Implement the Pets’ Trust! We don’t care if you raise our taxes for the firefighters and other things, too, but please help us stop this’’ — she included a photo of a dog killed in the road — “from being our daily South Dade County street scene!’’
Schlichter, 53, a skincare specialist, said she registered for the first time so she could vote for the ballot question. What happened confirmed her long-held suspicions.
“Voting never makes a difference,’’ she said.