The Humane Society of Greater Miami has launched an important fundraising effort that will enable the organization to take in and treat even more of the community’s homeless animals. The $1.5 million initiative will be allocated for expansion of the Humane Society’s facility, a project that began in 2017 and is set to break ground in 2020.
As Miami-Dade’s pet homelessness problem continues to be a prominent issue, the Humane Society’s capacity to assist remains limited. As an adoption guarantee facility, the Humane Society is able to provide shelter and care for hundreds of dogs and cats while they wait for their permanent home, no matter how long it takes. However, once there is no more space in the facility, they are no longer able to take in additional animals. By adding space that will be dedicated to taking in pets who need extended time at the shelter due to medical needs or other processing requirements, they will be able to give even more homeless dogs and cats in need the extra care that they require and a chance at a happy and healthy life with a loving family. “This project will allow us to save more dogs and cats than ever by increasing the amount of space we have available to pull animals from local open-admit shelters, thus keeping them off the streets,” says Executive Director, Laurie Hoffman.
“We need to create more room to receive animals,” Hoffman adds. “The additional space would allow us to quarantine and treat them should they get sick, and in the event that the disease contracted is contagious, we need to have the ability to isolate them from the rest of the shelter animals in order to ensure every pet’s excellent health. This project will be crucial in helping us achieve those goals.”
Not only will the expansion allow the Humane Society to take in more animals than ever before, it will help them take in even more large dogs. Large dogs (dogs over 40 pounds) make up more than half of the organization’s canine population. The overabundance of large breed dogs is not a problem unique to this Miami shelter, but is present in animal shelters and rescue groups throughout South Florida. Labradors, Bulldogs, Shepherds and other large breed mixes enter shelters daily and unfortunately, there is not always space to take them all in. The new wing will allow the organization to take in twice the amount of large dogs, which they hope over time will lead to a notable reduction in the number of big dogs roaming the streets. Additionally, the Humane Society will be able to help open-admit shelters around the community by pulling animals from their facilities and caring for them in the newly created space; thus, saving more lives.
Not only will this project expand the capacity of the shelter, it will also help improve the quality of life of the adoptable dogs waiting for their forever homes. A more enriching environment will be constructed for current shelter residents by taking part of the extension and using it to build an indoor dog park. The benefits of an indoor recreational area in the hot city of Miami are immense and will give the dogs more opportunities for enrichment while in the shelter – despite the ever-changing weather. This means that, in addition to their regular daily walks with their highly trained staff and volunteers, the dogs will also have more time for playtime and exercise which will, in turn, significantly reduce the anxiety present in many shelter pets.
The expansion project was made possible and accelerated by a significant leadership gift from the Soffer family. The family has supported the Humane Society for more than two decades and they have been active partners with the organization throughout the design process and fundraising planning phases for this new wing. In addition to this extraordinary support, the family played a critical and instrumental role in building the organization’s 27,000 sq. foot home – the Soffer and Fine Adoption Center, which originally opened in 2005. “The Soffer family is thrilled and honored to be a part this worthwhile project and the very important work of the Humane Society of Greater Miami,” says Brooke Soffer. “After two years of planning, we are eager to see this dream come to life and give so many dogs, cats, kittens and puppies a second chance at a better life.”
The Humane Society of Greater Miami now asks for help from animal lovers from the community to help support this very important and life-saving project. You can make a donation to the expansion project by visiting www.humanesocietymiami.org/donate or by calling 305-749-1816.