The Oak Cliff Animal Initiative’s first Laws for Paws is here!
Get ready for a rectangular shaped round table about our City’s and State’s animal laws.
This panel discussion will facilitate meaningful conversation examining current animal compliance, neglect, and abuse laws with the goals of understanding the effectiveness of the laws and any challenges to prosecution and enforcement. It is time to give the City a united front that leverages the law to produce results for this level 1 priority issue for the Mayor and the tax payers.
If Dallas is going to “Grow South” successfully, all agencies need to be aligned on a message house surrounding a culture of clean to include a strong spay and neuter culture and expected compliance from animal owners.
To achieve this goal, it will be important for all parties and all agencies to be aligned on the power of the law. Dallas can solve its crisis level animal issues if all the agencies involved are aligned on the interpretation of the law, on their ability to write citations, and their ability to enforce the law.
To do this, Laws for Paws will bring together agency experts and the public to discuss and potentially re-shape city animal compliance, neglect, and abuse laws to ensure they serve and protect our animals and our neighborhoods.
ON THE LAWS FOR PAWS PANEL
- Jody Jones, Manager, Dallas Animal Services
- Adrian Vela, Dallas Animal Services’ Field Services Supervisor
- Courtney Gustafson, SPCA of Texas, Animal Care Center Manager
- Art Munoz, SPCA of Texas, ACI Unit Supervisor / Investigator for DA’s Office assigned to Animal Cruelty Unit
- Skip Trimble, former Animal Advisory Commission Chair
- Felicia Kerney, Dallas County District Attorney |Prosecutor
- Steve Wilson, Dallas County District Attorney | Animal Cruelty Unit
- Jason Mathis, Community Prosecutor
- Chief Stokes, DPD
- (Waiting for confirmation on who will attend to represent him)
- Chief Hanson, Dallas City Marshall
- Scott Griggs, Dallas City Councilmember, District 1
- Chris Watts, Animal Advisory Commission, District 1
DATE: This Thursday, December 17th at 6:30pm – 8:30pm
LOCATION: Kidd Springs Recreation Center | Oak Cliff
The issues will be discussed in a real-time format. A moderator will be working from a general agenda of topics and case studies. No prep will be required of the panel members; no presentations will be made. While the public is invited to attend, this is not a forum for the public to ask questions. (That will hopefully be phase 2)
The idea of this collaboration is to get all the parties with the expertise to fully understand the challenges, limitations, and issues with the current law at the table. With all the experts in one place, we can understand the effectiveness and or challenges of the current city ordinances and the state law from the first 311 call all the way to a potential prosecution.
Every issue will not be solved in this discussion, but the issues will be identified and put on the table. Follow up and actionable items will be part of a real time action items list. All parties will agree to next steps, accountable items, and a follow up timeline before the meeting ends.
WHY IS THIS MEETING IMPORTANT?
Again, it is time to give the City a united front that leverages the law to produce RESULTS for this level 1 priority issue for the Mayor and the tax payers.
Recent events on compliance sweeps, out at Dowdy Ferry Road, and on our neighborhood streets reflect some big gaps of understanding and communication between departments. This crisis level issues needs the City to have a cooperative open conversation across all agencies and collaborators for the sake of the safety and quality of life of the citizens, their companion animals, as well as for the loose neglected animals.
Loose dogs and dog attacks:
Compliance is important. There were too many dog attacks in Dallas last year. A toddler was killed by a dog attack in 2015. Thousands of dollars were spent in ERs, in doctor’s office, and missing work. Our safety and quality of life is at risk. Neighbors are moving away due to the risks. Our city’s reputation as a world class city is at risk, as is the growth and income that comes from recruiting world class businesses and their employees.
The relationship between animal cruelty and human violence:
In 2010, the Quality of Life Committee was briefed by animal attorney Yolanda Eisenstein on: “The Relationship Between Animal Cruelty and Human Violence”. The Committee was told that, “Animal Cruelty Destabilizes Communities and Neighborhoods. The condition of a society in part is reflected in: The extent to which we obey or violate the law. The extent to which the law is enforced. Animal cruelty seen as reflecting general level of lawlessness.”
If animal cruelty is seen as a reflection of the general level of lawlessness in Dallas, South Dallas tells us were are in desperate trouble, but Dowdy Ferry tells us we have gone third world gangster. We can’t solve the problems if we are not all working from the same play book.
The 2010 Human Society of the United States Shelter Evaluation:
In 2010/11, the Humane Society of the United States conducted a comprehensive shelter evaluation of Dallas Animal Services. It was the observation of The HSUS team that the degree of enforcement of a violation depended upon the individual officer’s interpretation of the infraction. This is still an issue today, the interpretation of the law is going to be important to solving this roadblock to compliance.
We’re looking forward to a spirited conversation filled with healthy, collaborative, respectful conflict resulting in innovative solutions. See you there!
FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE | REFERENCES
City of Dallas Animal Ordinances: Chapter 7 Code
The State of Texas Animal Law:
SPCA’s link to cruelty law: http://www.spca.org/law
From the THLN’s site: direct links to: