Local 10 Investigates Broward County Animal Care…Doggies on the Scene

Dog looking through a chain link fence

I’m Spot Harley, investigative rover reporter for Doggies Gone Wild. Yesterday, Local 10 News revealed that Broward County Animal Care officials are behind a recent cover-up. Read our WDGW report below.

Broward County Animal Care: Special Report

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Broward County Animal Care officials have been falsifying documents, a recent report by ABC-affiliate WPLG alleges.

According to reporter Bob Norman, the revelation comes after a five-year effort to make Broward County a “no-kill” county. In an attempt to make the effort appear more effective, Broward County Animal Care Director Thomas Adair forged records. The changes are clear: they indicate that the county euthanized fewer animals in recent years than in previous years.

Until yesterday, the plan appeared to be working. The numbers that Adair presented to county officials indicate a significant drop in euthanized animals in the county. But now, a source from inside the Broward County Animal Care facility is saying that those numbers are false.

According to the source, someone has been altering records to increase the number of animals euthanized by “owner request.” This detail is significant because pets euthanized at the request of the owner are not included in the official number of animals that the county puts to sleep. Comparing the number of requests from previous years to those from a year ago shows an increase of 900 percent.

Screen shots obtained by WPLG provide a sample of what has been going on inside Broward County Animal Care. These pictures show that Adair and others entered the computer system and changed the reason for euthanasia to “owner request.”

A Cover-Up

More screen shots show that Adair went back in to change the reason for euthanasia back to the original entry. These image show he did this for several animal entries after a confrontation with reporters.

While Adair denies the allegations, saying he made the changes for quality control, animal rights activist Michele Lazarow thought differently. She put in a public records request for signed owner requests for euthanasia to check the numbers.

“I wanted the numbers for the owner requested euthanasia to match up to what the shelter was claiming that they were actually killing,” she told WPLG reporter Bob Norman.

But the numbers did not come close to matching up. Of the 125 requests for euthanasia from January to March of this year, 90 had signed documentation to support them.

After the report aired, Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry called for a full investigation, though she remains unconvinced of the report’s accuracy, saying that it is “speculative in the absence of all the facts, and harmful to the agency’s many collaborative efforts to be a no-kill community for animals.”

While Henry maintains that Broward County Animal Care officials have no incentive to falsify their numbers, the county recently spent $16.5 million on a new animal shelter facility.

What You Can Do

While we at Doggies Gone Wild applaud any effort to increase the number “no-kill” shelters and counties, falsifying documents isn’t helping anyone. It certainly isn’t helping those dogs that might have found a home. What we need is real help for doggies in need.  Talk to your local communities and city officials about making your shelters and counties “no-kill” so that more pets have a chance of finding a family. Call our Doral location at (305) 985-6460 or our Miami Gardens location at (305) 680-1238.

I’m Spot Harley, signing off for Doggies Gone Wild.