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Pets' Trust pup to lobby rest of commission for support

The puppy that won the hearts — and votes — of four Miami-Dade County commissioners is due for a return engagement in commission chambers next Tuesday, when the full panel will decide if a non-binding resolution to create a Pets’ Trust can go on the Nov. 6. ballot.

A majority of the Public Safety and Healthcare Administration Committee gave the proposal its blessing, sending it to the 13-member commission. If the commission agrees, a “straw vote’’ will be taken on election day asking voters if they would support a small property tax increase to fund programs designed to reduce pet overpopulation and abandonment.

Proponents say the average homeowner would pay an extra $20 a year to help eliminate the killing of some 20,000 dogs and cats at county-run Animal Services.

The floppy-eared mutt, which trust supporters bought from a homeless man outside Stephen P. Clark Government Center just before the committee meeting, became an unexpected “lobbyist’’ that charmed commissioners Jose “Pepe’’ Diaz, Sally Heyman (the measure’s sponsor), Lynda Bell and Barbara Jordan.

Trust boosters named him Pepe Sal, in honor of Diaz and Heyman, and made him the mascot of their effort.

Michael Rosenberg, the Kendall businessman who created the Pets’ Trust initiative, said he hopes the full commission will “allow us to reach out to the community to make them aware of how much better we can do things for our pets for such a small investment. A ‘yes’ vote is hope for life, and for the citizens...asking for the right to vote.’’

For more information about the trust, visit