Animal Welfare Legislation In the Works; Miami-Dade Commissioner Wants Public to Weigh In

Levine Cava at an adoption event

Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava may have two cats at home, but the legislation she is proposing will mostly help dogs. On December 3, she is asking residents of Miami Dade County to come to a meeting to discuss the three pieces of legislation that are all aimed at helping the animals in Miami Dade.

She spoke to Shelter Me and explained the reason for the meeting. 

“As the commissioner I try to listen to stakeholders and constituents. It’s very important that I get feedback and buy-in on pieces of legislation.”

 Commissioner Levine Cava’s three bills include tightening the restrictions on sales of puppy mill dogs in Miami Dade County. Levine Cava said, “There is current legislation, but it has not been enforced. (We are) proposing to strengthen the current law by saying only sales of rescue dogs are allowed in pet shops; the exception are hobby breeders. They could continue to sell, but not in stores.” She commented that currently, puppies are brought in from countries in South America to sell in pet stores.

Another bill would lower the permitted age of volunteers in shelters to 15 from the current age of 18. Levine Cava believes that it’s important to educate the younger generation on responsible pet ownership and treatment of animals. The third piece of legislation is to create an animal abuse registry for Miami Dade County. This would help ensure that animals adopted from shelters and rescues would not go to known animal abusers.

Those interested in animal welfare and possible legislation, or who just want to meet Commissioner Levine Cava to talk to her about animal welfare, should attend the meeting. The event will be at Florida Blue, 8895 SW 136th Street, Miami, in one of their meeting rooms.  For more information, Commissioner Levine Cava’s contact information is on the District 8 website.

Cava with an injured woodpecker from her yard; she called Wildlife Rescue of Dade County to help
Cava with an injured woodpecker from her yard; she called Wildlife Rescue of Dade County to help


Pamela Kramer

​Animal lover and rescuer. Lives with 4 cats, 4 dogs, 1 bird, 2 frogs and usually one foster animal (and very understanding husband). Reviews books (especially about animals) and educates children about compassion toward animals. Former household animals include rabbits, rats, and other assorted creatures. Also writes at


  1. JERRY EDELMAN says:

    But now specifically to one of the laws highlighted here for improvement. If the county is going to strengthen the law regarding the sale of puppies in stores, they MUST deal with the continual issue of ENFORCEMENT of the law. This was an issue a couple years ago I spotlighted on my MDAS advocacy page and a problem with the law that was proposed then by a former commissioner. I was crystal clear then that WITHOUT any more resources being devoted to ENFORCEMENT, the law would be USELESS and that it is. So if the current legislation does NOT deal with any increase in ENFORCEMENT resources, this new “strengthening” of the existing law will be USELESS as well. We all know that MDAS and the county claim that they do NOT have the resources to add to Animal Services for additional enforcement capability, And we all know about the many areas within the county that Animal Services REFUSES to serve, claiming in part that they do NOT have the manpower to serve those areas. In part, I also believe the excuse is just another way MDAS attempts to manipulate their numbers, but the reality is that there are NOT enough resources allocated to ENFORCEMENT. That is one of the main reasons that there are so many UNREGISTERED pets running around the county, that MDAS does nothing about. So unless the county is willing to deal with an expansion
    of resources into enforcement actions, I simply do NOT understand how this law can be anymore successful as the one already on the books,

  2. JERRY EDELMAN says:

    Well over a year ago she hosted and put together a well attended and publicized “workshop” in partnership with Miami-Dade County and Miami-Dade Animal Services. It was primarily a meeting billed as an attempt to get valuable input into the MANY major problems within the operations of the shelter and broader issues dealing with animal services within the community. It was an all day meeting that had representatives of MDAS, MDC, including the Mayor and a guest speaker. Many shelter reform advocates, including myself and animal rescue organizations and advocates were also in attendance. The context of the meeting was to discuss ways that conditions could be improved within the shelter and the community for the animals. The goal, as the event was billed, was to conduct an honest dialogue with the county and the rescue community about how we all could work together by discussing our common concerns. Many valuable concepts and ideas were discussed. And hopes were high for improvements and continuing this open dialogue. Sadly this was NOT to be the case. Sadly the meeting was all for show and was DISHONEST in its goals. Ultimately the meeting was an attempt by the politicians to “quiet” the very vocal reformers into believing that innovative changes would be discussed and implemented. But a big part of the dishonesty was the county knowing that within the coming year a new shelter would be in service, and that many of the advocates would focus on this rather than the real reforms that would help stop the abuse and killing of animals, not only within the shelter, but within the community at large. And boy were they right. The “guest” speaker was a DISHONEST mouthpiece for MDAS, who it turns out works very closely with MDAS, especially advocating and implementing programs that supposedly help the out of control cat problems within the community, She bills herself as a “cat” and shelter reform “expert”, but when you look closer, just based upon her presentation of her speech at the workshop, one has to wonder just what her relationship is with MDAS and whether she is truly an independent advocate for shelter reform, or an expert for that matter. Apparently through her associations and employment with a large teaching university, an enormous amount of money is granted to MDAS that she is basically in charge of. No wonder why she went OVERBOARD in praising the management and operation of MDAS, DISHONESTLY. The Mayor was there to simply give a political speech about how wonderful MDAS is operated and that conditions have greatly improved and to spread the false and dishonest “numbers” that MDAS proudly publishes to back him up. Numbers BTW that the cat “expert” apparently believes as well, and which I challenged her on in a Q & A period. Subsequent to that workshop, I and a couple of other reform advocates I work with had many discussions with Commissioner Cava’s office concerning the many issues and problems of MDAS. While there was apparent interest by her representative over these concerns, there NEVER really appeared to be a genuine concern for any action to take place, It was always, “we need more info”, or blaming the lack of movement with the standard political excuse ” I am just one Commissioner”. Excuses that we have all heard before to justify INACTION or not really caring to make a difference. So while I am always in favor of meeting to discuss any possible improvements we can implement within the animal rights area for the county, I have to wonder just what this meeting will accomplish, if past experiences are to be taken into consideration. Is this just another DISHONEST attempt to make it appear that the commissioner is concerned? And if she is so concerned, why did NOTHING ever get accomplished from the last workshop and why was it such a DISHONEST attempt to fool the community into believing the county really cared? Conditions, despite a new shelter have improved little within MDAS or the county for animals. Animals are still being abused and killed, both at MDAS and within the community, The problems that were discussed at the workshop are still present, without any HONEST discussion as to curing them. A new shelter with the same CORRUPT, INCOMPETENT management, no matter what their phony numbers say, does NOTHING to change the sad plight for animals. To say I am skeptical of this new initiative, is putting it mildly.

  3. Sandra Symens says:

    Please pass this on the county level. Maybe that will help it can become statewide, then nationwide.

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