Q & A with the New Chairman of Adopt-A-Pet
Attorney Robert W. Hudson was just elected the new chairman of the Humane Society of Greater Miami Adopt-A-Pet (HSGM). The named partner of Coral Gables based Infante, Zumpano, Hudson and Miloch feels that this is a crucial time for animals. The down economy has had an enormous negative effect on their welfare because so many are being abandoned. He has specific goals and projects he intends to implement as chair. SocialMiami spoke to Hudson about his plans, as well as his love for animals.
SocialMiami: As chairman what kinds of new things would you like to accomplish? You mentioned exploring new growth and expansion. Can you give examples of what you would like to see happening.
RWH: My goal is to explore ways to expand low cost and free spay/neuter programs to all areas of Miami-Dade County. The failure of pet owners to spay and neuter their pets is the root of the pet overpopulation problem that affects not only Miami, but the entire country, and results in millions of wonderful dogs and cats being euthanized each year at taxpayer expense. If we can facilitate more spay/neuters, we can make even more inroads with respect to this issue. Last year, the Humane Society’s incredible staff performed over 12,000 spay/neuters. I would like to see if we can increase this number through our organization and others in Miami-Dade County. I believe that if more people realized that their tax dollars are funding the euthanizing of hundreds of thousands of pets in Florida alone, much more support for spay/neuter programs would exist.
SocialMiami: How do you think this down economy is affecting animals? In your opinion are more being abandoned so there is a greater need for funding to the Humane Society to be able to help these animals get into new loving homes.
RWH: We all are worried about these difficult economic times and unfortunately, dogs and cats are being abandoned and surrendered at record numbers. The HSGM has a limited capacity and although we have a stellar foster program, we simply do not have the space for all of these animals. One of the biggest reasons animals are being surrendered is the cost of veterinary care. We offer low cost veterinary services at two locations and hope that pet owners will reach out to their veterinarians to work out cost issues. Pet owners also have expressed concern of the cost of pet food but there are many generic and low cost foods on the market that are economical and healthy. We advise that surrendering pets should be a last resort, not the first “expense” cut from a family budget.
SocialMiami: Do you currently have any pets? What kind?
RWH: I have an eight year old St. Bernard, Winston, who was adopted from St. Bernard Rescue of Florida. I also have two cats, Max, age 13, who came from Adopt-A-Pet, and Lily, age 11, who was rescued as a stray.
SocialMiami: Have you always had animals in your home growing up? What do you think they add to the family?
RWH: We always had pets growing up. Our family adopted my oldest friend, Beans, when I was three years old, and she was a beloved family member for the next 15 years. We then were adopted by a stray dog, Killer, who we were blessed to have for 11 years. I strongly believe that dogs and cats complete any family. They teach children about so many things – unconditional love, compassion, kindness, patience, discipline and responsibility. These are qualities that help us for the rest of our lives and are enhanced by the lessons and experiences we share with our pets.
SocialMiami: What appeals to you about the Humane Society of Greater Miami? Is it their no kill policy? Their commitment to the animals? The quality of care given at the facility?
RWH: I was drawn to the HSGM because of the many fond memories I have of and the lessons taught to me by my pets growing up and to the present. Every time I see a dog or cat, it makes me want to fight harder to rescue as many of them as possible so that each pet can have a forever family. If we can help educate the public on the dangers and costs of pet overpopulation and expand our low cost spay and neuter program while working with other groups to expand similar programs, we can make progress toward reducing the number of unwanted pets and ensuring that every dog and cat has a loving home.
The quality of service and care that the HSGM staff provides to every animal in our care is unparalleled. The staff really cares about every single animal’s welfare. We are not the dog pound. We are a non-profit corporation that relies on the generosity of the public to care for and adopt out as many dogs and cats as possible. The HSGM does not euthanize healthy adoptable pets, which ensures that every pet we accept eventually will find a home but also forces us to limit the number of pets we can accept. Thus, controlling pet overpopulation is an important key to our mission.