Giving Up an Animal to Dallas Animal Services Just Got a Lot Harder

Categories: Animal Welfare

Closed sign Dallas Animal Services.jpg
Last year saw the start of some big, possibly permanent changes at Dallas Animal Services: 53 full-time employees were pink-slipped and replaced with temporary workers. Meanwhile, the number of animal services officers in the field dropped from 55 to 32. And the "drop boxes" at the shelter were closed at night , meaning that anyone wanting to surrender a pet or turn in a stray animal they've found to shelter staff couldn't do it when the shelter was closed. But the drop boxes still existed at least, making it easier for citizens to turn in animals, rather than simply set them loose on Westmoreland Road.

But now it appears that the drop boxes have been quietly closed altogether, although we can't remember the subject coming up at any City Council or Animal Shelter Commission meetings, where one might expect that sort of idea to be discussed. An animal-loving reader sent us the above sign, posted on the front door of the shelter. It states that as of October 2, the drop boxes are closed. Anyone wishing to surrender an animal can do it during the oh-so-convenient hours of 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 12-5 on Sunday.

The sign also recommends that citizens call 311 in case of an emergency. But 311 isn't designed as an emergency service, and as we heard in September, DAS got around 49,811 service calls last year, or an average of about 145 calls a day. The department is still struggling with the most efficient way to deal with that call volume.

The sign also recommends calling the Rapid Response team, which handles loose-dog calls. It doesn't provide a phone number, though. When last we checked, that number was 214-670-FAST (3278).

Shelter manager Jody Jones didn't return a couple of phone calls seeking comment.


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23 comments
TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Wow. There's a place to surrender unwanted / stray animals in Dallas?

 

Judging by the amount of road-kill lately, I just assumed that y'all city folk just dropped 'em off out near us on "Old Mattress Road" with the rest of the unwanted detritus that seems to accumulate here.

tjfyfe
tjfyfe

This breaks my heart for all the unwanted/sick/injured animals that will now be dumped at the Trinity River bottoms or some similar place to suffer and die an ugly death.  Humane euthanasia at DAS is light years preferable to what awaits them.  Do the supporters of this new policy really think that a person determined to get rid of an unwanted animal will return to the shelter during hours when most people work - and go to the effort to take the animal inside and deal with the time factor/paperwork required - as opposed to just opening the car door and getting rid of them as fast as they can on some deserted road?  Someone drove by DAS about 8:00 last night and saw a vehicle with the back open and a person trying to remove an animal - or perhaps a litter of animals from the car.  I wonder where they ended up when that person realized that putting them in the drop box was no longer an option. 

judiburnett
judiburnett

Night drops are great for letters and packages, but not for sentient beings.  I think they are an abomination and I’m pleased they have been closed.  Hope they stay that way

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Why worry ... we have a world class (whatever that is) deck park, arts district; and a stringthingy bridge ....

 

It is a shame that we don't have world class (whatever that is) streets, police, roads, libraries and now animal services ...

 

Oh wait a minute, we do too .... just like Islamabad, Mumbai, Lagos and N'Djamena ...

Toshorttodown
Toshorttodown

The sad truth like many things lies directly in the majority of Dallas citizens. This story went from night drop boxes at DAS to TIF dollars. A huge leap from the original story. This happens all to often in city politics and it seems what our original moment of response, we allow to be hijacked from the topic at hand. The positive news from DAS never makes it to the Dallas Observers hand, and I womder of that's because Jonnie England always fails to inform you of that. The night drops being closed will be a point of contention to some but also a point of responsibility to others. An abused animal sitting in a night drop who requires medical attention and the DAS being blamed for inhumane treatment of animal because the shelter is closed that day. If someone walks into the shelter with an animal who has been mistreated allows for at least looking in to cruelity charges - vs someone who just dumps one in a night drop and what we expect them to leave a name and number for DAS to get back to them? I have seen the good and bad at the shelter and realize there is much work to be done, but also many successes to celebrate. Maybe the DAS manager doesn't get back to you because she's focusing on the job at hand, not playing into Ms. England's distractions.u

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

again, "the Shitty that works".

 

Help me make the best pun out of the old, 'if you assuhm, you make an as...."

rubbercow
rubbercow

Awesome! Eventually Dallas will just not have any of the fancy services other cities get - 911, police, firefighters, code enforcement, libraries, decent schools, usable streets, animal services - you know the tiny things which in no way contribute to a city being considered "World Class".

Fb2012
Fb2012

The city manager will cut anywhere she thinks won't be noticed until there is a crisis. Then she will throw some poor city employee under the bus for not doing their job. This is what happened to the 911 call center, the IT department, etc.   

WylieH
WylieH

In other news, just a few months ago Suhm shepherded through an extension of the Victory Park TIF, which had the effect of reallocating over $100 MILLION in general tax revenues through 2028 from the City to Hillwood/Perot.

 

Naturally, not a word of this was mentioned/explained in the Dallas Morning News.

WhiteRock
WhiteRock

 @tjfyfe If they're abandoning a pet, it's not because the night drop boxes are full.  It's because they are irresponsible owners and don't care.  DAS shouldn't be encouraging that.  A lot of people who were outraged that the new shelter would even have night drop boxes are now saying how horrible it is they are closed.  Operation Kindness doesn't have a night drop.  SPCA doesn't have a night drop.  But those are great shelters. What's with all the double standards?

WhiteRock
WhiteRock

So true.  On top of all the cut backs, her constant interference is wasting the animal shelter manager's time and that's what taxpayers should be angry about.  And Texas Humane Alliance is paying her to do it.  So your donations are wasting your tax money, too.  And the city knows it and won't do anything about it.  So be very angry about that.  But don't be angry because the night drops are closed and now people who hurt pets or don't care about them can't dump them in the middle of the night anymore.  All the news articles you see that are negative come from her, too.  @Toshorttodown 

WylieH
WylieH

 @rubbercow So what, at least we'll have:

1)  A big convention center hotel;

2)  Highly value-engineered designer bridges over the Trinity; and

3)  (Maybe) an express toll-road between Irving and Dallas.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @rubbercow I don't know, sounds like you're using "world class" in snarky way.  I'm shocked and appalled. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @WylieH was this not a contractural agreement?  Was this just "generosity?"  I don't know, I'm asking, and I'm guessing you might well know Wylie, so do tell, please.

tjfyfe
tjfyfe

 @WhiteRock The boxes are not "full" - they are locked, thus preventing a person with an unwanted animal from having a way to dispose of them.  It could be an irresponsible owner - it could be someone that picked up a litter or an injured animal - my concern is not for the person attempting to use the drop boxes - whether they be "irresponsible" or cruel or ignorant or someone trying to do the right  thing.  My concern is for the innocent/helpless animals that will suffer further because this option is no longer available for them.  Operation Kindness and the SPCA do not receive tax dollars - they are not supported by citizens that expect and pay for help to be available to unwanted/injured animals in their community.  Beverly Fyfe

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @WhiteRock  @Toshorttodown Are you seriously alleging that I'm getting paid by some outside group to write negative articles about Dallas Animal Services? Are you kidding me? The Observer barely pays me (sorry, Joe). That accusation is totally false, and I have no idea where you pulled it from.   

 

This paper has a long history of outlining both the issues with DAS and its slow march towards acceptable care and treatment for animals. We've recently pointed out that the live release rate for the shelter is up and that they've filled some of the 30 or so urgent vacancies that opened up during the RIF process. But there are still serious issues in the department -- broken air conditioning and poorly trained temporary workers at the shelter and a lack of officers in the field, just to name a few. We'll continue to point those out. Because that's what a newspaper does.    

WylieH
WylieH

 @scottindallas First of all, my apologies to Mr. Bush--- he did indeed provide a fair amount of good coverage on this issue.  But, here's the deal, as I understand it:

1)  The Victory TIF was supposed to expire this year.  Had that happened, roughly $5 million in tax revenues would have started flowing into the general fund EACH YEAR... and the numbers would have gone north from there as more development took place.

2)  Now, if you look around-- the Design District and Uptown are ungoing an unprecedented building boom, the likes of which we haven't seen in a long time.  Victory Park is situated smack in the middle of all this stuff and prospective builders have been drooling over building sites.  Development could have started TOMORROW, provided Perot/Hillwood simply sold the land at market prices.

3)  Bizarrely, however, these guys somehow convinced Mary Suhm et. al. that the obstacle to development was Perot's own obligation to provide parking for the AAC, which meant that they would just use these lots for surface parking, rather than use part of the hefty profits from selling land (or prior profits) to fulfill their (Perot's) obligation.  If only the City would extend the TIF (in other words transfer over $100 MILLION in future projected tax revenues from the general fund to the control of Perot), they could then build the garage (which would cost a little over $30 million--- leaving them with a bunch of "walking around money".)

4)  Development plans were already in the works and would, in all likelihood, have gone forward there, just as it is going forward on virtually other spare piece of dirt in the vicinity-- all of which is being done WITHOUT tax subsidies.

5)  To "sweeten the pot"  they redrew the boundaries of the TIF to include a small part of West Dallas on the other side of Large Marge--- they get a few million for stuff over there.

My point is--- the sums are staggeringly large, and yet this sailed through council with nary a peep--- meanwhile, libraries are closing, streets are falling apart, 911 is understaffed and you can't drop off stray animals at night anymore.  Priorities are all jacked up and transparency is non-existent.

Sorry about the jab at the Dallas Morning News--- Rudy Bush is first rate and does a great job covering as much of this stuff as he can--- I'm just grumpy today.

WylieH
WylieH

 @primi_timpano  @WylieH  @scottindallas 

Really good question--- the dysfunctional manner in which this City is managed is truly mind boggling.

 

On the one hand, we have Mary Suhm, literally shoveling money out by the bucket full into things like the Trinity River--- many of the worst abuses are "off balance sheet", like approving the diversion of what should be general fund tax revenues into TIFs which function primarily for the benefit of individual developers.  In most cases, the developments would have been undertaken anyway-- the TIF funds are just a nice big present from our semi-broke City to already prosperous developers.  This looks like what happened with the Victory Park TIF.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@WylieH @scottindallas So who do I pay, and how much, to turn my condo building into a TIF?

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