Hundreds of Thousands of Dallas Pets Are Living in the City Illegally

Cameron K. Lewis
How many dogs and cats are there in Dallas? It's a hard, maybe impossible figure to nail down with any certainty, but extrapolating from the Humane Society's U.S. pet-ownership statistics, the number is just north of 600,000. The American Veterinary Medical Association's pet-ownership calculator gives a slightly smaller but comparable figure of 583,000. That's not counting the hundreds of thousands of stray dogs and cats the city estimates are prowling around.

The number of dogs and cats that are actually registered with the city, as required by law: about 53,000. The compliance rate is in the single digits.

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The City of Terrell Is Evicting An Adorable Monkey

Operation Team Tyler via Facebook
On March 24, Cheryl Blasius was stopped cold at her front door. Hanging from the doorknob was a notice from Terrell's animal control department:

Got complaint you own a monkey. You cannot have a monkey in Terrell. 10 days to remove of you will recieve (sic) citations for keeping an exotic animal.

That's true. Blasius does own a monkey, a capuchin by the looks of him, and has for the past 20 years. His name is Tyler.

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Southern Dallas Is Getting its First Dog Park

Categories: Animal Welfare

ElmWoof, via Facebook
It's kind of crazy that Oak Cliff doesn't have a permanent dog park. There are more than enough hipsters there to support one, what with their dual love of rescue dogs and community gathering spots. Way more, certainly, than Far North Dallas, which boasts Dallas' two newest dog parks.

That's about to change. ElmWoof, the monthly pop-up park in OC's Elmwood neighborhood (get it?), just received the city's blessing/cash to become permanent, winning a $9,000 grant through Mayor Mike Rawlings' GrowSouth program.

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Feral Hogs Still on the Loose After Dallas Has Second Thoughts About Hired Trapper

Categories: Animal Welfare

Osvaldo Rojas/Facebook
Last fall, the fate of Dallas' destructive, hyper-sexual feral hog population rested in the traps of just one man, Osvaldo Rojas, who runs a feral hog business called City Trapping. He'd been hired to capture hogs on some city property before, but September was when he got the big contract, a three-year, $284,000 deal to capture all of the feral hogs in Dallas city limits. This was necessary, officials explained at the time, because the population of feral hogs in North Texas was growing out of control.

At the time, Rojas gave Unfair Park vivid descriptions of the high-tech hog traps he planned to use but declined to say where he was going to put them. So, watch where you step.

See also: Osvaldo Rojas Is at War with Dallas' Feral Hogs, and His Weapon Is His Smartphone

But it turns out, as Rojas was going on a media blitz, giving excited Dallas reporters tours of his anti-hog arsenal, city officials changed their minds. It's now been seven months since Rojas was supposed to have started trapping all our hogs, but the city never made the deal official. Hogs are still running loose.

"There's been a bunch of people complaining to the city and the city's not doing anything about it," Rojas tells Unfair Park.

Local landowners and lower-level city employees figured out that there was a problem with the contract slowly, when feral hogs kept destroying stuff and making baby hogs, and no one seemed to be doing anything to stop them.

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Dallas Euthanized 77 Roosters Seized From a Pleasant Grove Cockfighting Ring

Categories: Animal Welfare

Ingmar Zahorsky
Just yesterday, Johnson County officials were boasting of breaking up a cockfight outside Alvarado. It was, by most measures, a respectable bust, with 17 people involved and 97 birds seized.

But Johnson County? Johnson County's got nothing on Pleasant Grove. This morning, as if to one-up their rural colleagues, Dallas police announced a cockfighting bust of their own, this one involving at least 124 roosters.

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Here Are Some Sad Pictures of Emaciated Horses Found at a Greenville Ranch

Categories: Animal Welfare


Investigators had their eye on the group of skinny horses roaming a property outside Greenville since January. That's the when the Hunt County Constable's Office and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals say they met with the owner of the horses to discuss their living conditions.

Apparently, the meeting went well. They had all "worked out a plan," the agencies say in a news release, to bring the animals' living conditions into compliance with Texas Health and Safety Code.

Well, investigators just found a dead horse on the property, so the plan apparently didn't work out.

Nine other animals on the property were still alive but in pretty bad shape. The SPCA seized them all yesterday morning and sent us some pictures.

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Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Philip Kingston Divided over Whether You Should Eat Meat on Thursday

Mayor Mike Rawlings and City Councilman Philip Kingston preparing to battle over meatless Thursday proposal.
In further proof that Mike Rawlings' tendency to craft major policy initiatives in secret is ruffling feathers at City Hall, some (or at least one) City Council member is pushing back against the mayor's newly hatched plan to curb Dallas' meat consumption.

The blowback comes on the heels of Rawlings' proclamation of Thursday, March 20, as the "Great American Meatout Day" in Dallas, encouraging residents to "'kick the meat habit and explore a plant-based diet."

Farm Animal Rights Movement, the animal-advocacy group that sponsors the Meatout, was quick to praise Rawlings for his leadership. But Councilman Philip Kingston was skeptical.

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The SPCA Seized 89 Animals From a Filthy Royse City Home Yesterday

Categories: Animal Welfare

SPCA of Texas
Somehow, a coating of grime makes puppies even more adorable than they would be otherwise. It's like they're fresh off a delightful romp in a mud puddle, or maybe through the White Rock dog park on a particularly dusty day.

But the puppies in the picture above have probably never seen a mud puddle, much less a dog park -- just a filthy cage in a cluttered Royse City home.

The SPCA of Texas rescued the dogs, along with 57 of their brethren and 27 cats (89 animals in all) on Wednesday morning.

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Bob Barker Would Really Like the Dallas Safari Club to Cancel its Black Rhino Hunt

Categories: Animal Welfare

The Dallas Safari Club's decision to auction off the chance to hunt an endangered black rhino has sparked an impassioned and thoroughly fascinating debate about the ethical implications of big-game hunting and whether an animal's age and inability to reproduce is enough to justify its death.

That debate is officially over, the underlying moral quandary settled once and for all. Yes, Bob Barker has spoken.

"As an older male myself, I must say that this seems like rather a harsh way of dealing with senior citizens," the 90-year-old, most recognizable as the longtime host of The Price is Right, wrote in a letter to DSC Executive Director Ben Carter.

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Texas Is Mulling a Ban on Pouring Gasoline into Rattlesnake Burrows

At some unknown point in the not-too-distant past, after the advent of the internal combustion engine, human beings discovered that pouring volatile chemicals into underground burrows made it much, much easier to hunt rattlesnakes and other critters.

The practice, aptly called "gassing," caught on and has been in use in Texas ever since.

"What people do is take gasoline or kerosene or other noxious substance and pour enough of it down into an animal burrow to create a vapor that forces them out," said Texas Parks & Wildlife spokesman Mike Cox. "That's the main idea: it messes up the atmosphere enough inside the burrow to force them to come out."

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