We want to start with big piece of good news. DAS (Dallas Animal Services) has hired a field services manager. Having a dedicated manager to this important piece of Animal Services is a big step toward a balanced and multi-faceted approach to Animal Services and a step toward working towards the city’s goal of having a no kill shelter. Ya’ll, seriously – this is a big deal! Congratulations DAS.
I know everyone has been anticipating the report on the darting investigation. Dallas Animal Services has determined that the dart removed from Tasha the husky was not a DAS dart. Take a deep breath and keep in mind that we are working for policy change and change is well under way. Deep breaths. Change. Breathe, change.
What DAS did determine during the investigation, as well as through the course of our ongoing meetings, was that their darting policies needed to be updated to reflect current national best practices. Several DAS employees attended darting training in March and policies and procedures are currently being re-written based on these best practices. Jody Jones estimates that the new written policy will be ready for review in July. In the meantime, the temporary darting policy we put in place after our initial meeting remains in place. One last action item on the darting, if you see a random citizen darting dogs, please call 911 immediately, that is against the law.
Next on the list was “technology” in relationship to 311 and how 311 and Animal Services share priorities and call information. DAS is working with 311 as a part of a larger 311 overhaul. Part of the process involves creating call types, prioritization for calls, and a call matrix for 311 operators that has specfic guiding and clarifying questions to help prioritize calls.
DAS is meeting with representatives from 311 monthly. Jody will be sharing the meeting agendas and meeting minutes with our committee of 5 to allow feedback from selected individuals from rescue organizations and our neighborhood. Chris will also be putting together a Survey Monkey survey for the group to take to help identify service and communication road blocks in the call matrix. Chris will get the survey out to the group by May 27th with the goal of having the results of the survey back by June 7th.
Another piece of the 311 overhaul will be assessing what the city calls “service level agreements”. These agreements are why when you call 311 the 311 operator tells you that Animal Services has “1-72” hours to address the call and often why you think, “What the what? Do these guys have no priorities – everything is handled the same way?!?” DAS will be assessing if calls with different priorities should be assigned a different “service level agreement” that correlates with the assigned priority. They will also be assessing a more customer friendly and service oriented way to convey this information. Part of our goal is a more collaborative environment for everyone involved.
We briefly discussed that still outstanding on our “to do” list is to discuss the field services flow chart and policies. There will be some follow up emails to set up our next agenda and meeting time.
The meeting was very collaborative and positive. Not news, DAS is struggling with lack of resources and budget. They have a reduced budget this year and are looking for creative ways to solve the shortfall. Addressing current issues in field services is a great step towards efficiencies, but that will not solve all the resource issues.
This journey really started for me with a guy in his underwear trying to save his cat from a pack of dogs at 3 am. We have come a long, long way and now this effort means much more to me than just keeping Charlie and Laura’s cat safe. We are on the road to big change.
Don’t forget that you can help in big and little ways. You can always give the dogs a voice. You can advocate for animals in any number of ways: by letting your elected official know that animal issues are important to you, by donating to your favorite rescue group, by educating and informing your neighbors about animal welfare issues and laws, by making the choice to adopt all your pets, and of course volunteers are always needed – from accountants to artists, to dog walkers, to fosters, check out Dallas Companion Animal Project for more information.
You wouldn’t be reading this post if you didn’t care about animals, so thank you for your big animal loving heart and for your support. Just by following our blog- you are letting the city know you care.
To read more about our innitative, read Tasha’s post about our first meeting at City hall.