Gimenez said that common sense dictates that more people oppose a tax increase than those who actually voted for it, and that he was listening to the will of the people in rejecting the Pets Trust proposal.
However, no one spoke against the tax increase during some five hours of public comment on Tuesday, and hundreds of emails to his and other government offices a nearly three-inch stack, when printed out tell a different story.
While some appeared to be form letters, many berated Gimenez for ignoring voters and by extension, they said, ensuring that more animals will die.
A healthy dog or cat in that smelly, dirty place of a shelter wagging its tail happy to be thinking it is going home only to be taken to a death room and put to sleep, wrote Janice Garcia. Now multiply that by 20,000.
F. Gerald Montoya wrote: How are American people supposed to trust our politicians, especially you who fail to grasp the American concept that we vote in this country to stop our leaders from taking over. You are following dictatorship concepts of Third World governments.
Animal Services Director Alex Muñoz told commissioners that with the extra money he could hire more veterinarians, expand the trap/neuter/return program for an estimated feral cat population of 400,000, expand existing programs and start new ones.
But instead of 50,000 sterilizations outside the shelter, only 16,000 might be possible.
Attorney Lauri√ Bloom, a longtime rescuer, said throwing $4 million at a $19 million problem is throwing money away.
Fighting pet overpopulation is akin to fighting infectious disease, she said. If we inoculate one of every seven or eight people we may have saved some lives, but because the spread of infection will quickly outpace our efforts, we have done almost nothing to sustain our long-term health.
Fewer sterilizations means overpopulation will continue to outpace our efforts in such a way that [sterilization] cannot work as a solution,
Among those who addressed the commission in person: Zoo Miami spokesman Ron Magill, his voice shaking with anger.
He said that as one of those who volunteered to raise their own taxes, he was insulted that anyone suggest he didnt know what he was voting for, an argument that several commissioners made.
I was keenly aware of what I was voting for, Magill said. Any one of you would love to receive [those votes], yet here we are still here today trying to convince you...It costs five times as much to euthanize an animal as to sterilize it.
David Lawrence Jr., president of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, who spent the better part of a decade campaigning for The Childrens Trust which inspired Pets Trust said he wouldnt use euphemisms like euthanized or put down.
He said that what happens at the shelter is killing, and he called it a human abomination.
The commission chamber was packed with advocates in red, most of whom had been protesting outside the Stephen P. Clark Government Center holding placards that read Stop the senseless killing of innocent pets and Dont muzzle our vote.
They erupted in cheers for Lawrence, earning a sharp rebuke from Sosa, who said that this year more than ever, she heard the anti-tax voice loud and clear.