SALEM — Just when snowbirds are packing up and heading south, some Florida residents moved north yesterday.
Clementine, Linda, Lance and 12 other dogs arrived at Salem Animal Rescue League yesterday afternoon, tired from a long ride from Miami-Dade County, but eager to start new lives.
The 15 dogs were part of Miami-Dade Animal Services Dogs on the Move program, marking its two-year anniversary with the largest single-day transport in its history with 215 dogs. It also was the program’s 100th transport.
SARL has partnered with Miami-Dade since December 2012, regularly, accepting transports of dogs that likely would otherwise have been euthanized.
Count Kiko among those whose futures were being counted in hours until SARL agreed to accept them for adoption in New Hampshire. The 3-year-old basset hound mix settled in quickly yesterday. He wouldn’t have lasted another day in Florida.
The Miami-Dade shelter takes in 27,000 dogs and cats a year, averaging 300 to 400 dogs a week, according to Melissa Sorokin of Dogs on the Move.
The euthanization rate at the Florida county’s sole shelter is high — 30 percent, she said. But that’s nothing compared to the 64 percent it was before the program started two years ago.
“It’s still heartbreaking every single day,” Sorokin said. “Of that percentage euthanized, most are friendly, adoptable dogs.
But the volume of animals brought to the shelter and limited space combine to make euthanization a reality.
She and her partner saw a need for a transport program, and the county shelter agreed. It’s a private-public partnership that takes dogs off death row in Florida and brings them to partner shelters in the Northeast, where spay/neuter rates are much higher and there are many more chances these animals will be adopted.
Fifteen dogs is a lot for SARL to receive at one time, although not the largest transport ever. But 18 adoptions over the past two weeks left the shelter with room to accept the Southern canines, according to D.J. Bettencourt, Director of Development and Community Relations.