The City of Miami's Ketcher/Keheley Animal Control Facility is at capacity and needs the community to take note and take action.

MIAMI – A safe place and the hope of a better future. The City of Miami's Ketcher/Keheley Animal Control Facility offers both to lost, abandoned, and abused animals.

The state-of-the-art facility at 725 D Street NE on the Truck Route in Miami had its official ribbon cutting in Dec. 2016 and was named in honor of some of Miami’s most committed animal advocates, Irene Keheley and the late Miami Mayor Kent Ketcher and his wife, Yvonne.

The City's old shelter remains in place between the new facility and Miami's Public Works offices, which oversees Animal Control. The old facility is now utilized as a quarantine center for animals that are sick or otherwise require separation.

Animal Control Officer Jacob Cartright explained the Ketcher/Keheley facility is currently at capacity and things have been a bit tougher with a decline in adoptions.

Cartright, a self-professed animal lover, has been in his position for a little over three years. Along with fellow Animal Control Officer Jerry Campbell, he sees to day-to-day operations, care of the housed animals, and responds to public requests and law enforcement referrals for animal control services.

Public Works Administrative Assistant Brittany Crowe added that while May and June saw Animal Control averaging about 14 adoptions a month, July has been a huge struggle.

Cartright said another issue is that larger dogs account for the majority of the animals housed at the facility, but are adopted less.

"When people do come in they're usually looking for small breed dogs, and we get a lot of large breed dogs," said Cartright. "We get a lot of Pit Bulls."

Cartright acknowledges there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding Pit Bulls, and that can make people hesitant to adopt the breed.

Pit Bulls, like any other dog, are each unique in their personalities and needs.

Crowe, who as a part of her duties manages the City of Miami Animal Control Facebook page, has been working diligently on sharing information with the community about the animals available for adoption, shelter events, and breaking misconceptions.

"We do the very best we can with what resources are available to us," said Crowe. "With social media becoming such a strong way to reach the public, I want to try to use that to educate our community on the benefits of adopting from shelters and the importance of spaying/neutering, as well as relinquish the misconceptions people have about certain breeds."

Although Miami's Animal Control unit partners with area animal advocacy and adoption groups such as the Miami Animal Alliance, PAAS Vinita, and Second Chance Pet Rescue to help with rehoming pets, sometimes in nearby states, those resources are equally limited.

Ketcher/Keheley and its partners need their communities to make population control a top priority by spaying/neutering their pets, donating funds and time, and of course adopting.

Crowe describes herself as someone passionate about animals and their welfare and is also working to help Animal Control establish more policies and services that will help bolster successful adoptions and add more accountability for those that do adopt.

"I do not do nearly as much as Jake and Jerry do, they are a true blessing in these animals’ lives," said Crowe. "But I have a passion for animals, and we are their life line. If we can be the difference that takes them from a kennel to a home, then I want to do everything we can to be that difference. They don’t have a voice, and I feel it’s our responsibility to give them one."

How to adopt

The Ketcher/Keheley Animal Control Facility is open to the public between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m, or you can call 918-542-6384 to make an appointment after hours.

The cost to adopt a cat or dog is $25. Before adoption, the animal must be spayed/neutered and vaccinated.

Shaded outdoor kennels at the site serve as temporary holds next to a fenced in grassy area where shelter dogs can get some exercise and spend time with prospective adopters. Something Cartright strongly encourages in facilitating successful adoptions.

"We tell people to come in, and if they have other pets to bring them too if they find an animal they want to take home," said Cartright. "It's important. We don't like for someone to take an animal home and then have to bring them back because they find out they don't get along with other pets."

There is also a $25 surrender fee for animals that are returned.

Miami residents may keep or own no more than five animals (limit three dogs or three cats) at one address.

Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor for the Miami News-Record. Contact her at dballard@miaminewsrecord.com and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.