Tasha’s pack’s struggle has touched many people, most especially me. In my heart, Tasha’s journey will not end when she is fully domesticated. Her story will only be finished when the change she inspires is fully enacted. Today was a very promising first step.
This afternoon, Dr May and I met with city councilman Scott Griggs, Animal Services Director Jody Jones, and Dallas Animal Shelter Commission member Chris Watts. We requested the meeting to ensure that the leadership at City Hall and at Animal Services are aware of the feral dog pack issues in our neighborhood and to make them aware of Animal Services’ ineffective, undesirable, and often inhumane response to the pack issues over the last 3 years.
The meeting was very productive and collaborative. We are hopeful that change will be instituted that aligns Animal Services policies with their mission statement and will allow Animal Services to more effectively handle feral dog issues. The meeting resulted in a task list of items to be researched and assessed over the next two weeks. All of the items on the task list below are due to be reported back to the group on April 9th. Next steps will be assessed at that time.
One of our key topics of conversation was communication and coordination. From this discussion, councilman Griggs has requested that Animal Services put together a comprehensive matrix for: types of Animal Services 311 calls, priorities of call, “call buckets” and the like so that when residents call 311, all calls are not treated with the same “1-72 hours” response. Animal Services is already working with 311 to integrate and improve customer service for animal control calls, this matrix will help facilitate that conversation. Once the matrix is produced, another conversation will follow up to help facilitate communication between 311 and Animal Services regarding ongoing cases and general reporting.
Based on our experiences, we also identified several areas where darting and trapping procedures and policies needed to be clarified for both citizens and employees. To help facilitate this clarity, councilman Griggs requested trapping and darting policy be placed in a procedural flow chart.
Animal Services will also be investigating the “darting incident” to identify if the dart found embedded in our husky rescue was an Animal Services dart. If the dart is not confirmed as an Animal Services dart, procedure will begin to notify the appropriate authorities of this incident.
We all agreed to a set of temporary darting procedures that will be in place over the next two weeks while policy is being reviewed. This temporary procedure requires a signature from a manager or a veterinarian for a darting request to be approved. The darting can only be performed by a trained field supervisor.
These are small but significant steps towards a more effective and humane Animal Services. We are thankful for the opportunity and for all the people that helped get us to this opportunity to change our great neighborhood, the city, and most importantly, the lives of the animals.
If you are curious about all the issues we addressed in our meeting, we’ll be posting our full meeting agenda and presentation document in the near future. Check back around April 10th for our next update from City Hall.