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Miami-Dade Commission Defers Vote On Pet Trust

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade commissioners have put off voting on a popular initiative to reduce the county's animal overpopulation.

The commission was scheduled to vote on a so-called Pet Trust on Tuesday but during their meeting deferred the item until June 18th.

The creation of a Pet Trust was overwhelming approved by voters in a straw ballot  last November. If approved by the commission, Mayor Carlos Gimenez will be able to build funding for the trust into his upcoming budget, based on an additional $10 per $100,000 property tax assessment.

The $20 million or so raised by the assessment increase would go to clinics which offer free or low-cost spay/neuter and veterinary care services, administered by nonprofits, not the county. It would also underwrite community campaigns and school curricula promoting responsible pet ownership.

Supporters say the trust will help the county fulfill its "no-kill" shelter objective it set last year.

If the clinics can start sterilizing at least 1,500 cats and dogs every year, Trust proponents say the death rate at the county's animal shelter should soon begin to fall because fewer strays would be reproducing in the streets, slowing the shelter intake, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.

Each year, more than half of the 37,000 animals that end up at the shelter die there because no one wants them. The "no-kill'' goal is to reduce euthanasia to 10 percent.

CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.

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