This past spring, Army veteran Antoinette Brown was mauled to death by a pack of known aggressive owned dogs. Reports describe her body as though it had been eaten and pulled apart by sharks. To date, no one has been charged with a crime. To date, dog bites and dog attacks are increasing at alarming rates. How did we get here? How has the City of Dallas found itself in an ongoing animal issues crisis with no relief in sight?
In 2011 the City of Dallas launched a nationwide search for an animal services industry expert to run Dallas Animal Services. They ultimately hired Jody Jones. Ms. Jones brought in Cate McManus, DVM, to run the shelter and the two animal care professionals began the work of moving forward from “the cat in the wall” era at Dallas Animal Services.
Five short years later, the City of Dallas finds itself inundated with citizens’ complaints about DAS, loose and dangerous dogs, and dog dumping. The City finds itself facing a systemically dysfunctional, contentious, and broken Dallas Animal Services, and they find themselves desperately looking to the Police Department for leadership to help solve crisis-level animal issues like none that this City has ever seen before.
While the City has long documented loose dog issues, never in the history of the City has a citizen been mauled to death, eaten alive by a pack of loose dogs, until now. It’s that bad. Let’s start by recognizing that. A human being, an Army veteran with a family, and children, was mauled to death on this regime’s watch.
DAS leadership’s response to the incident has been inappropriate, dismissive, and insensitive. Citizens do not feel as though DAS leadership is working productively to solve the problem, and neither do many of the respected media outlets, and our City Council. Even more worrisome, DAS and their advisory commission don’t seem to understand the problem they have been tasked to solve. Or perhaps, even worse, they are openly dismissing the City Council’s direction and mandate to pick up loose dogs.
DAS’ objection and refusal to pick up loose dogs can be heard directly from the voices of DAS leadership, and it is reflected clearly in the shelter data and in the daily policies. DAS is openly disregarding directives from City Council and the City Manager to achieve their own personal goals, which do not align with the priorities of the City and the citizens.
The consequence of these actions can be seen in the overwhelming pleas of the citizens for relief from the dangerous conditions they find themselves in due to: loose dogs and dog packs roaming their neighborhood streets, in the record breaking dog bite and dog attack data, and most directly, in the tragic mauling death of Army Veteran Antoinette Brown. As a City, we have moved way past the “cat in the wall” era to a whole new dangerous level of dysfunction that cost a woman her life.
Animal issues are the number one complaint heard by City Council members across the city. Loose animals, aggressive animals, dumped animals, abused and neglected animals, unvaccinated and unneutered animals are all part of the challenges facing our city. These issues are often associated with high crime rates and quality of life issues, and they make our neighborhoods, schools, tourist areas, and targeted areas of economic development unsafe. In order to address animal issues across Dallas, the city must properly fund Dallas Animal Services. DAS must include animal CONTROL in their goals and service model. In order to do this DAS must revamp their best practices to reflect modern behaviorally sound field services and adopt a model that balances prevention, intervention, and enforcement. Without this change and evaluation, animal issues cannot be fully addressed.
Keep in mind, this document, while long, is nowhere near a comprehensive study of what needs improvement at Dallas Animal Services. We do not touch on the sheltering side of Dallas Animal Services and there are known chronic, systemic, issues there also. We only scratch the surface on known issues with the system that uses 311 and 911 to report animal issues, open records requests, grants and funding being pulled when the city did not provide required data, dog bite reporting, dangerous dog reporting, conflicts of interest, ethics issues, and abuse and neglect issues. This document is meant as a roadmap to understand how the loose and dangerous dog issue became so systemic and how it became a crisis level issue for this City. Let’s head back to what is the beginning for us.
2011 | How One Neighborhood Discovered that Dallas Animal Services Does Not Meet the Needs of the Citizens
In 2010, a three dog pack was reported to animal services as roaming several neighborhoods killing cats. Their aggressive nature and repeated attacks earned them a “dangerous dog pack” designation from the city. In 2011, the three dog pack had grown to a six or seven dog pack. If you have never had the experience of standing in the middle of a dog pack when they are hunting a cat, it is quite frightening. They mean business and they are not concerned with you trying to stop them. Several neighbors had the misfortune of seeing the pack in action.
In September/ October of 2011, the pack leader, a large husky, came into heat and started spending significant time on South Rosemont. Simultaneously, a South Rosemont resident, who consistently violated animal confinement laws as well as spay and neuter laws, had a chihuahua that came into heat. DAS continued to let this homeowner keep the intact roaming animal without penalty and without working with them towards a compliance resolution. These two events caused the dog pack to grow to 15 dogs, and caused the pack to begin to spend excessive time on South Rosemont.
Neighbors found themselves coming out at 3 o’clock in the morning to defend their cats against these large packs of dogs. The dogs generally did not want any human interaction, but would get within a few feet of people’s front doors while scavenging for cat food bowls left out on porches. They would lay in dark yards and sit on point watching and calling to each other at night. They would fight and mate on people’s front porches, in the road stopping traffic, where ever it suited them. As the two intact breeding females came into full mating season, the dog pack grew in numbers, the fighting grew exponentially, and the pack was becoming increasingly dangerous due.
The neighbors tried to work with animal control to have the dogs trapped and picked up. Apparently it was not enough for half the neighborhood to see and report the dogs, it was not enough to have pictures of the pack, the “sweep team” or an animal control officer had to see them and verify the pack before you could get a response. Animal control had difficulty making a visual on the dog pack for quite some time, weeks actually.
This went on each fall for three years. It was very difficult over the three year period to communicate with the city and with animal control. Reference numbers were given, special phone numbers, priority status, but no one with the city ever seemed to know anything about the dog pack. Each call was like we were starting over. The special phone numbers they gave out were not manned at nights or weekends, which was the time that the pack was usually the most active. It was very difficult to establish what was proper protocol with one exception: we were all made very aware that the city had up to 72 hours to respond to just about anything animal related in the field. So while we waited for the pack to be validated and for special phone number and reference numbers to have meaning, the neighbors went to work problem solving themselves.
Citizens collaborated with Councilman Griggs’ office to get live traps, and they set out to catch the dogs themselves. Three years in a row they dealt with the generations of the same feral dog pack until the last known pack dog was caught. Citizens did all the work while DAS management complained about the residents in the area who were asking for change, meaningful collaboration, and to have the loose animals picked up.
While it is hard to understand or to believe that neighborhoods have known dangerous dog packs roaming their streets, they do. It has been documented all over South Dallas. Recently, the chairman of the Animal Advisory Commission, Peter Brodsky, who has a good grasp on the issues, was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “It’s not that it’s 24/7, that there’s constantly dogs out and people can’t even leave their house.” While Mr. Brodsky is relatively informed on the issue, that thought is incorrect and misleading. While a dog pack was roaming our neighborhood, a resident had to call in to to work and tell their boss that they would be late for work because an aggressive dog, from the pack, had trapped them in their house. They sleep in our alleys and in our bushes and our postal workers refuse to deliver the mail because these “unowned” dogs jump out of the shrubs they are hiding in and try to bite them.
We have knowledge of several occasions when residents were trapped in their cars and could not get to their houses because aggressive dogs were in their driveways circling their cars and would not let them out of the car. One such occasion happened the night before a neighbor was bitten on a walk. The dog that bit him had been reported the day before, holding a mother and her children hostage in her car in her driveway. It’s real and it’s that bad.
It is also why Councilmember Tiffinni Young stated in a meeting, “It tears up my heart to see kids scared to walk to school and hiding out, late for school, because they have so many stray dogs in their neighborhood.” The stark reality also prompted Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Erik Wilson to comment during a Commission meeting about the disparity between districts. While constituents walked the Katy Trail without a care in the world wearing headphones and carrying their devices, his constituents walked with golf clubs and sticks to get their kids to school. It’s real and it’s that bad.
2012 | Dallas Animal Services Critically Injured Several Animals with their Ineffective and Inhumane Catch Methods Causing Gyspy Dog Ops to be Founded
Gypsy Dog Ops was born out of the need to help the injured feral pack ‘leader’, Tasha the husky, and to make sure DAS policy was changed to reflect a more humane and effective Field Services program. Gypsy Dog Ops also made it part of their mission to help the neighborhood, and the city, resolve loose dogs, feral dogs, and hard to catch dogs pack issues. In an effort to educate city leaders and to work towards solutions, Gypsy Dog Ops put together a presentation for the city. The presentation documents neighborhood dog pack issues as well as the challenges and roadblocks residents faced when using the city’s system to address loose, aggressive, feral, or hard to catch dogs. This report also pointed out the alarming communication issues between 311, 911, and DAS. At this time, and at many other times before Ms. Brown was killed, known problems with the reporting systems and communication issues were brought to the City and to DAS’ attention. Even with a request from Councilman Griggs directly to Ms. Jones to work with the citizens on the 311 issues and several other identified issues, the presentation, the citizens, and the Councilman were dismissed by Ms. Jones.
Since 2012, Gypsy Dog Ops has worked to confine, capture, and rehabilitate the known neighborhood loose dangerous dogs and pack dogs. They have captured most dogs that DAS could not. Dogs have been found residing routinely at neighborhood schools, libraries, parks, highways, businesses, hospitals, and on residential property. They have facilitated compliance interventions, rabies checks, and funded resources for residents all while DAS leadership was complaining and bad-mouthing the rescues and the citizens for asking the City to come out and do their job.
2012 | The Oak Cliff Animal Initiative is Founded
The Oak Cliff Animal Initiative was born in a homeowners association meeting full of frustrated neighbors who were concerned for their safety and the safety of their families. The neighbors wanted answers and help, and DAS was not providing it. Looking for solutions, they turned to their neighbor who was successfully trapping loose, hard to catch dogs and a grass roots conversation and initiative was born.
The group’s grassroots efforts worked to identify the issues and help our City leaders create a path to solving the systemic problems in the current Animal Services’ policy and procedures and works to help support neighborhoods in addressing their animal issues.
While working to shape and change City policy and priorities, the Oak Cliff Animal Initiative hosts community animal-centric town hall meetings, and facilitates meetings with City departments and the community to help the City and DAS better serve our residents and their companion animals.
Their work elevates the City’s animal culture by connecting neighbors with information and low or no cost resources to help create a spay and neuter culture, strengthen communities, and improve safety and quality of life. In an effort to help show neighbors how to value and care for our companion animals, the Oak Cliff Animal Initiative, in conjunction with Gypsy Dog Ops and Tyler Street United Methodist Church brought the First Annual Oak Cliff Blessing of the Animals event to Oak Cliff.
This privately funded event spayed and neutered a mash unit full of companion animals, and vaccinated, and microchipped hundreds of community pets. The record breaking event also brought information and services to the neighborhood that allowed residents to understand what it is to be a good steward of their companion animals and, with respect and dignity, enable them to better care for their pets. The event brought together a diverse group of residents over their love of their companion animals, and was such a success that other area churches immediately began asking for help for hosting a similar event at their churches. In response to requests from other neighborhoods and churches, in 2016 the Oak Cliff Animal Initiative is planning three spay and neuter/ Blessing of the Animals events across the city.
Additionally, the Oak Cliff Animal Initiative has successfully integrated animal issues into several local HOA’s Crime Watch groups and has brought animal issues, educational material, and low cost microchipping to the Winnetka Heights National Night Out.
During this time, DAS continued to tell the southern sector’s taxpayers that picking up loose dogs was not “worth the return on investment” and they continued to tell citizens that DAS didn’t have the time or resources to help. DCAP and the Animal Advisory Commission were not any more cooperative, collaborative, and they were equally, if not even more dismissive of the public’s stated needs.
Contrary to the behavior of the tax payer funded DAS, after attending all three annual Oak Cliff Animal Initiative community meetings, as well as other community meetings the group has hosted, the SPCA reached out to collaborate with the community. After actively listening to the needs of the community, they have partnered with Gypsy Dog Ops and The Oak Cliff Animal Initiative on several efforts and programs to help community animals, to help elevate the animal culture in South Dallas, and to actively become involved in the conversation to solve the dangerous loose dog issues plaguing our communities.
As many citizens and groups struggled to be heard and taken seriously by DAS, advocates around the city began to reach out to the press, and the press began to find the grassroots advocates and ask why they were needed in the first place.
December 2014 through August 2015 | The Media Picks up the People’s Story
The crisis level issue animal issues began to received both national attention and coverage from all the local media outlets, including a the Dallas Morning News expose that included: front page of the Sunday paper with content above and below the fold with a huge color photo; a double-page spread inside with eight photos, the graphic with Scott Griggs’ memo to the Mayor; a third inside page with another photo and graphic and another sidebar on how suburban shelters are dealing with the problem; PLUS the entire editorial space in the Points section, with “four things that would go a long way toward fixing” the problem, along with contact information for the mayor and all council members. It was massive! Add to the print edition all the online coverage, with the slide shows, a heart wrenching video, interactive map and, of course, Sharon Grigsby’s blog posts that started it all. But this was just the beginning, local papers started a series of articles following and outlining the issues.
Among other things, The Dallas Morning News takes the city to task for its lack of data differentiating between owned-but-loose dogs and feral or abandoned animals.
The Dallas Observer also weighed in on the crisis level dog issues through several scathing articles that included one article about the unethical and unprofessional behavior of DAS’ social media coordinator.
Additionally, another Dallas Observer article finds former DAS employees that confirmed that once Jody Jones started running DAS, policy changed; animal control officers were directed to stop picking up stray dogs.
“They started telling us to not bring in animals,” says Paul Ellis, an animal control officer for 25 years who retired on bad terms this year, under the two new directors appointed in 2011. “All of us saw a rapid increase in the population of the dogs in Dallas.” And indeed we did see a rapid increase in the population of loose dogs and dog packs in our Dallas neighborhoods. We have data from open records requests that supports this statement as well.
January 2015 | The Aussie Incident
On New Year’s Day, when the shelter was closed, shelter staff “mistakenly” euthanized four Australian shepherds due to poor communication and insufficient policies and procedures. A rescue group was working to get these animals pulled from the shelter and they were not contacted prior to of the euthanasia. An official investigation was launched, and ultimately a shelter worker was fired and the employee who made the mistake was counseled. DAS broke the city charter while conducting the investigation, essentially creating an illegal investigation that resulted in this employee’s firing. After this was pointed out to DAS leadership by Councilman Griggs, DAS leadership refused to acknowledge they had done anything wrong.
Additionally, DAS petitioned and pressured rescue groups and Dallas Companion Animal Project (DCAP) members to sign a petition and to blindly stand behind DAS and their mistake. This letter clearly implied that the media and the public didn’t know enough about animal rescue to have an opinion about the mistake and the “complexities of rescue”. This letter was sent out by Rebecca Poling, who at the time was the DCAP Program Manager and the DAS Social Media Coordinator. She is still the DAS Social Media Coordinator.
This petition caused a serious rift in the animal rescue and advocacy community. The founder of Duck Team 6 left his organization over this petition letter. DAS stood by as their partner transfer groups, animal commissioners, and members of DCAP attacked and ridiculed individual rescuers and citizens. DAS and their partners stood firmly by DAS’ message house: the citizens were the problem.
After the incident, advocates and Councilman Griggs meet with DAS and the Director of Code Compliance, Kris Sweckard, to discuss creating a standard operating procedure (SOP) that had checks and balances so that these type of human errors would not continue. DAS agreed to do this, but was never able to produce an SOP that had checks and balances. When Mr. Griggs ran the Aussie scenario, in a theoretical excercise with the new SOP, the Aussies ended up accidentally euthanized due to human error again. Nothing meaningful was done to address the problem and to give the SOP checks and balances.
DAS stated in this meeting with Councilperson Griggs that they recommended the shelter only with work with 501-c3 groups. There is nothing about a tax status that makes a group a viable partner and collaborator, it is a tax status alone. Additionally, DAS is a tax funded municipal shelter, to imply that they no longer needed to work with citizens was ridiculous and a potential civil rights violation.
Councilman Griggs directed DAS to write a “friends policy” that would allow independent high volume rescuers and citizens to have a clear set of rules of engagement. DAS had this on their agenda for years and repeatedly disregarded Griggs request for this SOP. It was even in the memo that Griggs wrote to the Mayor that triggered the DAS budget briefing to the full council. It has not been written or addressed to date.
The problems continue today. Current best practices and training practices are so ineffective and insufficient that tragic mistakes are made every day. Mistakes in life and death temperament assessments, mistakes in simple tasks like documenting people’s contact information, mistakes in contacting microchipped pets’ owners, even in adoption practices. In the last few months, there have been at least 4 “Aussie like incidents” where dogs were accidentally euthanized and proper documentation was not kept.
At the time of the Aussie incident, conflicting information and incorrect policy was constantly being given out to the public. DAS justified this because they felt they were understaffed. All DAS staff should be competent and understand policy – including management. At the time, citizens suggested that if the challenges of training temp employees was too much, then they should overhaul the system. If DAS and City management didn’t have time to set a vision and address the issues in a timely manner, they should bring in a consultant who could. How prophetic that turned out to be.
AUGUST 2015 | DAS PULLS a FAST ONE on the TAXPAYERS
We now have documentation that from Aug 12, 2015 through Sept 11th, 2015, Dallas Animal Services was bringing in dogs and cats from outside of the city limits for adoption contests. Getting this information was quite the journey. Councilman Griggs requested the data from the City and the City did not respond to his request. When Mr. Griggs could not get a response, a citizen put in an open records request. Five months later, and after a complaint to the Attorney General’s office, the Attorney General demanded that DAS release the information.
Here is the big picture, DAS was killing the animals that were from coming into the shelter from Dallas neighborhoods while transferring in what they thought were “more adoptable” animals from outside of the city limits; all to win a contest. These dogs cost the City approximately $13,000 dollars to process and place into adoptions. By the way, DAS did not win the contest.
Additionally, during this time period, intake from the field (loose dogs) declined dramatically, between 100 and 150 fewer animals for August. We kept wondering what caused the sudden intake decline. Once we got the information from the ORR, we knew the reason. DAS stopped picking up street dogs in order to keep the overall shelter volume the same while they were bringing in animals from outside of the city in order to TRY to win an adoption contest.
August is also the month that approximately five people and their animals were attacked in our neighborhood, including our mailman. This spike in dog bites is what caused Councilman Griggs to trigger the memo that caused the DAS budget briefing.
August 2015 | Dog Bite Spikes in District 1 Cause Scott Griggs to Write a Memo that Triggers a Budget Briefing
Frustrated by DAS’ ongoing inability to deal with growing animal issues in his district and the subsequent spike in dog attacks against his constituents, neighbors, and mailman, Scott Griggs called for a DAS budget briefing.
AUGUST 2015 | The Full City Council Receives a Document Outlining The City’s Animal Issues
Ahead of the budget briefing the City Council, and the mayor are send a document that outlines the City’s crisis level animal issues.
SEPTEMBER 2, 2015 | DAS Budget Briefing to the Full City Council
Triggered by a memo issued by Councilman Scott Griggs, Dallas Animal Services briefs the full City Council on their budget and strategic plan.
DAS continues to make the live release rate the sole measure of success, all while dog bites and loose dogs calls are skyrocketing and the City Council and citizens continue to demand that DAS picks up the loose dogs. After repeated requests to include dog bite information in DAS metrics and presentations, there is still no mention of dog bites or tracking dog bite data as part of DAS’s stats or goals.
The City Council was unanimously dissatisfied with the presentation and demanded a plan with specific strategies, goals, and metrics that would address the five issues in Scott Griggs’ memo and a plan that would address the crisis level loose dogs and would pick up the loose dogs. The mayor declares this situation a priority one crisis level issue and put Councilmember Sandy Grayson and the Quality of Life Committee in charge of making sure this happens.
Notable quotes from the meeting:
Councilman Scott Griggs: “What’s been presented today does not pass for a plan”
Councilman Adam McGough: “Disappointed in the briefing….we’re not moving…it shouldn’t be this hard”
Councilman Scott Griggs: fixing this issue is “paramount to the quality of life of the people of Dallas”……above the euthanasia rate.
Councilman Philip Kingston: “Our strategy is ineffective. What IS our strategy for loose dogs?”
Here is the link to the DAS Budget Summary
Here is a video archive of the meeting
SEPTEMBER 14, 2015 | Quality of Life Committee Meeting
The Quality of Life Committee rejected a second plan from Dallas Animal Services, saying it contained insufficient details and metrics. They sent DAS back to the drawing board and expressed disappointment in leadership.
The Council chastised DAS for not making them aware of known issues that would need additional funding to address, for not hiring the headcount they had been given, and for not showing leadership in solving the animal issues plaguing the citizens’ safety and quality of life.
SEPTEMBER 2015 | The City Tries to Make it Cheaper to Have an Intact Dog License than to Spay and Neuter Your Pets
We thought the city was behind creating a “spay and neuter culture”. A culture, that relies on spay and neuter to help control the crisis level animal overpopulation issues within our city. So, the mayor’s shocking decision to vote to make spay and neutering your dog (through the city’s low cost program) more expensive than getting an intact permit seemed counterproductive and left us flabbergasted.
OCTOBER 2015 | Peter Brodsky is Appointed by the Mayor as Chairman of the Animal Advisory Commission
In an effort to solve the animal issues that are blocking the mayor’s Grow South Initiative, the mayor recruits businessman, capital investor, and new owner of Southwest Center Mall, Peter Brodsky, to Chair the Animal Advisory Commission.
OCTOBER 1, 2015 | Animal Advisory Committee Meeting
DAS presents their annual report. It is clear through this report that DAS and the Commission are not on the same page as the City Council about where DAS should be putting their focus.
OCTOBER 26, 2015 | Quality of Life Committee Meeting
The Quality of Life Committee heard a third plan from Dallas Animal Services. DAS proposed a test area initiative with no meaningful metrics and no clear strategy. DAS said they would write the strategic plan after the initiative was completed. The committee members, frustrated by lack of options, approved the proposal as a first step toward a plan.
DAS proposed a five month long Target Area Initiative (TAI) and Assistant City Manager said this initiative would pick up the dogs. Subsequent data pulled from open records requests show that the City was not picking up dogs in meaningful numbers and that over the course of the TAI, loose dog pick-up actually declined.
Additionally, Mr. Zapata, Director of Code Compliance, Kris Sweckard, and Ms. Jones promised:
- There would not be a decline in services or in call response times. Promise broken.
- They would address loose dog issues and they would start picking up the loose dogs. Promise broken.
- They would give regular updates on the TAI to the Quality of Life committee and the public as the TAI was ongoing. Promise broken.
- They had plenty of large breed dog traps to lend out to citizens to help catch the loose dogs. Promise broken.
Here is the DAS presentation given at that briefing:
Here is a video archive of the meeting
NOVEMBER 9, 2015 | Animal Advisory Commission Meeting
Mr. Zapata’s December 9 memo to the City Council updating the Council on the TAI efforts paints a rosy picture, but you have to take a look at the metrics AND the individual outcomes of the animals to gain a clearer insight on what our taxpayer dollars are paying for. The short answer, this will not:
1. Alleviate the loose dog problems in Southern Dallas nor
2. Prevent overpopulation of loose dogs from increasing at an ever accelerating rate.
Here is a video archive of the meeting
JANUARY 21, 2016 | Animal Advisory Commission Meeting
During this meeting, Dallas citizens were called out by Commissioner Chris Watts from District 1, for submitting too many Open Records Requests (ORRs) to the City. The commissioner claimed the 20% of the ORRs were submitted by five people. Mr. Watts claimed that DAS leadership could not do their jobs because citizens were purposefully undermining leadership’s ability to focus on priorities through open records requests. Mr. Watts and DAS leadership went on to call the requests: “unnecessary, punitive, burdensome, and a waste of management’s time”.
In an attempt to bully and shame these concerned citizens, Mr. Watts threatened to publish the the “frivolous” open records requests with the names redacted. He went on to call out one particular citizen, via social media, by name, and associated that person with a specific ORR. He went on to delete that post, but the personal information was released publicly, his attack was an ethics violation and an abuse of power.
The Texas Public Information Act sets requirements for the ability of citizens to access information on action taken by governmental bodies. This transparency provides Texans with a more complete understanding of how their government works, and, when necessary, provides them an opportunity to hold their public officials accountable.
Providing public access to the governmental decision-making process creates necessary trust and understanding in officials and in the system. This access helps promote an open and inclusive system of government in Texas that benefits all of our citizens.
Mr. Griggs disagreed with Mr. Watts. He encouraged citizens to make as many requests they need in order to get the information they need. Mr. Griggs went on to say, that is why the city has an entire department dedicated to open records request, so that citizens can have information and full transparency.
Here is a sampling of information the public requested via ORRs
TIA INITIATIVE: Open Records Requests were made to obtain data in order to analyze if the TAI initiatives were expandable or productive. The data was shared with the City Council and with Mr. Brodsky. The data clearly showed the TAI was not productive, cost effective, expandable, and or a viable option moving forward. DAS did no data driven analysis of the program or ever presented any meaningful metrics to show the program was working.
FRAUD: Through an ORR and a complaint to the City Auditors office, it was discovered that a DAS employee, who was running the PetSmart Charities Everyday Adoption Center on Coit Road, was stealing prescription medication and donated merchandise. She was then selling it online for a profit.
Ms. Jones was part of the investigation that found “no evidence” and allowed the employee to stay in place and continue stealing. The Auditor’s office re-opened the case and found evidence and the employee was terminated. DAS never disclosed to PetSmart Charities that the employee was stealing from them.
DAS TRANSFERS: As outlined earlier, ORRs revealed that DAS was killing the animals that were from coming into the shelter from Dallas neighborhoods while trucking in what they thought were “more adoptable” animals from outside of the city limits; all to win a contest. These dogs cost the City approximately $13,000 dollars to process and place into adoptions. DAS did not win the contest.
Additionally, during this time period, intake from the field (loose dogs) declined drastically, between 100 and 150 fewer animals for August. We kept wondering what caused the sudden intake decline. Once we got the information from the ORR, we knew the reason. DAS stopped picking up street dogs in order to keep the overall shelter volume the same while they were bringing in animals from outside of the city in order to TRY to win an adoption contest.
The impact of that action can be seen in August 2015, when approximately five people and their animals were attacked in our neighborhood, including the mailman. This spike in dog bites is what caused Councilman Griggs to trigger the memo that caused the DAS budget briefing.
This meeting went on to discuss the TAI efforts. Before the meeting, citizens emailed the the Council Council and Mr. Brodsky an analysis of the TAI data. This information is courtesy of an opens records request. This information was not all available in the January 9 press release the city released regarding the TAI numbers. This assessment is vital to understanding how the City is going to solve this problem for our neighborhoods and for the safety and quality of life for all animals and people. With this data, the City was given time to respond before DAS moved forward with another ineffective plan that wastes valuable tax dollars. Unfortunately, City leaders decide to let DAS continue on with the ill-conceived plan. The TIA then evolves into the equally inefficient and ineffective “Care Program” that cannot be expanded in a meaningful manner and leaves the majority of the city still desperate for help and answers.
February, 2016 | The Animal Advisory Commission Annual Report is published
In the report:
- Commission Mission Statement, Objectives, and Vision
- Commission Priorities for FY 2016
- Overview and Executive Summary
- Dallas Animal Services Accomplishments
- DCAP update
- Dallas Animal Services Statistics
This document is essentially a cheerleading effort for DAS and does not address the strategic needs of they City. DAS has been asked to pick up loose dogs and address the community needs, no where in this document is that addressed with a meaningful plan and or statistics, measures, or goals. Through the limited statistics available, it is apparent that loose dog intake is on the decline, which is not good news for the citizens of Dallas. It is also quite apparent that despite Chairman Brodsky’s attempts to expand the conversation and the metrics, the live release rate continues to be one of the only measures of success used by DAS and the Animal Advisory Commission.
MARCH | APRIL 2016 | Citizens Work to Get DAS Data Published So The Public Can Have Transparency
Citizens answer complaints about the number of ORRs the City is receiving by suggesting that if the City would simply publicly publish data and statistics, that would cut down on the number of ORRs and promote transparency and collaboration.
Below is a document that outlines the agreed upon data release with an estimated timeline. Notice, dog bite data is still a very low priority on the list with an estimated release date in 2017. Citizens continue to stress the importance of dog bite data (over 311 call volume data) to understand where the dangerous dog bite and dog attack problems are concentrated. The City continues to dismiss the importance of dog bites as a vital static to measure.
MARCH 17, 2016 | Animal Advisory Commission Meeting
All departments, including Dallas Animal Services, were required to submit three budgets. One of the three required budgets was to address a possible 7% decrease in funding. DAS refused to look at this cut seriously and took their sharpie to only one area – the South Dallas Initiative budget. If they had to cut budget, South Dallas was going to get the short end of the stick, again. This proposed budget cut looked like an easy way for DAS to refuse to pick up the loose dogs in South Dallas. It also seemed like it would be a potential civil right violation. By the time the commission reviewed the budget proposal, it had already been submitted.
Mr. Brodsky introduced the idea of getting an outside private sector consultant to help assess DAS and he shared that he was working on retaining a well known high end firm. His goal was to retain the firm, put in place private funding, and then have the firm engage in a full blown strategic planning process that would take approximately three months.
Later in the meeting as they were discussing TAI efforts, staff and the commissioners stated that the TAI was an “outreach effort” rather than an effort to pick up the loose dogs. Mr. Brodsky corrected the commissioners with the statement that the Target Area Initiative’s goal is to reduce the number of dogs roaming the neighborhoods. With that goal in mind, Mr. Brodsky said he expected to see short term spikes in field services intake. Several commission members argued this point and no one on the commission openly agreed with or acknowledged his point. Contrary to the expectation that intake should have a short term spike with the efforts of the TAI, intake and impoundment numbers from the streets were at a record low since 2009. That seems counterintuitive, as the loose dog issue has never been worse.
The commission members argued and debated with the Chairman about this goal. Mr. Brodsky’s frustration with the commission and their inability to align with picking up loose dogs was apparent to everyone but the commissioners.
Contrary to DAS’ statement that there are “just less dogs to catch” because outreach in the five postage stamp initiative areas is working, in reality, there are loose dogs everywhere, except maybe in parts of north Dallas. Over the summer two separate loose dog studies confirm frightening numbers of loose dogs roaming the streets of Dallas.
April 20th, 2016 | Citizens Show the City Their Abysmal Track Record and Ask for Accountability Solving the Loose Dog Issues For the Citizens of Dallas.
Notable and prophetic, Deborah Rodriguez asked the City Council, “what’s it going to take?” to get them to address the crisis level dangerous dog issues. She addressed the Council again on May 25 and asked if the mauling death of Army Veteran Antoinette Brown would “be enough” to get their time and attention focused on addressing the animal issues.
APRIL 25 2016 | Quality of Life Committee Meeting
DAS presented their CARE Program. There was an obvious lack of strategy and commitment to pick up loose dogs in this presentation. The information provided about this program on the DAS website doesn’t even mention picking up loose dogs at all.
In this Quality of Life meeting, Mr. Sweckard introduces an “Animal Cruelty Task Force”. By June 20 the task force, which started on April 15, was disbanded by Assistant City Manager, Joey Zapata, after one official meeting. Something about “other priorities and direction”.
Notable Quotes from the meeting:
Councilmember Young: “Dogs are hanging out in our communities like they are on vacation in south beach.”
Councilmember Young: “It tears up my heart to see kids scared to walk to school and hiding out, late for school, because they have so many stray dogs in their neighborhood,”
Councilmember Clayton: “It doesn’t seem scalable at the City level. From a budgetary standpoint, can you scale your program?”
Mr. Sweckard, with regard to the strategic plan they are about to launch, “we don’t know where we are going next”.
Below is the presentation document with notes from our advocacy team. Emails were sent ahead of the meeting to City Council with notes and concerns about the proposed Care Program, its expandability, and its lack of any meaningful effort to pick up loose dogs.
Here is a video archive of the meeting
MAY 2, 2016 | Army veteran Antoinette Brown is mauled and killed by a pack of dogs
Antoinette Brown was attacked and killed by a pack of dogs in South Dallas and bitten more than 100 times. Reports were that she looked like she had been eaten alive by sharks. The 911 recordings are haunting. Reports later reveal systemic gaps in the Dallas Animal Services, 311, and 911 systems. We have documentation going back to 2012 where citizens bring these issues to the City’s attention.
The current sitting City Council and mayor woke up on that morning and became that 1st and only City Council and mayor with the death of a citizen from a dog pack mauling on they watch; a mauling that was caused by the City’s negligence and inability to effectively deal with a known crisis level issue.
Antoinette Brown’s death both saddened and enraged all who have advocated and asked the City, “what’s it going to take to get you to put time and attention to this matter”. But sadly, citizens were not convinced that this horrific event would be the catalyst to change.
Mr. Sweckard, and Ms. Jones, continue to respond insensitively and inappropriately with their statements about the event.
Jones told The Dallas Morning News that the death of 52-year-old Antoinette Brown was a “tragedy” that “impacted all of us very deeply.” She added, “I hate to say it, but people die in traffic fatalities every day. I wish we could be everywhere to everyone, but that just isn’t reality.” What?
Mr. Sweckard was quoted in the Dallas Observer saying, “…Outliers will happen. Things like this are going to happen, unfortunately, but the work they’re doing prevents it from happening more often.” Things like “THIS” are going to unfortunately happen? “THIS” = citizens will be mauled to death and eaten alive by a pack of dogs, will happen?
Councilmember Young told the Dallas Morning News that the issue was “beyond frustrating.” Councilmember Erik Wilson told the paper that the “current system is broken.” Both represent districts in southern Dallas. Mr. Griggs told the paper, “The city manager has not performed…We do not have a satisfactory plan. … None of this is new.” How sad and tragic for Ms. Brown’s family; none of this is new.
Here’s a link to the DPD blog that gives details about the dog attack
MAY 2016 | The Dallas Morning News Editorial Board and the Dallas Observer Call for Jody Jones’ Removal
The Dallas Morning News’ 17 person editorial board called for the removal of Ms. Jones as the head of DAS. The citizens and other news media outlets concurred, calling the death of Anointed Brown pure negligence. The Dallas Observer wrote, “We need change the basic grasp of reality here. The city’s top dog-catcher is absolutely expected and required to be right there for the next Antoinette Brown, right there to protect her. That’s Job One. Rescuing dogs is also the list, but it’s way down the list from Brown.
The point is not to punish Ms. Jones personally. Getting rid of her is the only effective way for the City to send a signal, to put up a flag marking Brown’s grave and say, “This is where the job begins and ends.”
Citizens also continued to speak their minds at Commission meetings and Council meetings letting the City know that they are responsible for Antoinette Brown’s death due to their inaction and inability to put the time and energy into solving these known issues.
May 14, 2016 | The City Announced a Collaboration Between DPD and DAS
In response to Antoinette Brown’s mauling, the City announced a partnership between DAS and DPD. Deputy Chief Rob Sherwin was put in charge to help lead the troubled animal services department. The Dallas Morning News, along with citizens, express concern that although a collaboration is important, no one has been empowered to be in charge. DPD appears to have no authority over DAS. Over time, while DPD is embedded and working in the DAS facility, this proves to be a challenge and roadblock to success.
MAY 17, 2016 | Animal Advisory Commissioners Weigh In
Many of the Animal Advisory Commissioners went onto social media after the press started putting pressure on DAS and the City over the death of Antoinette Brown. They began speaking their minds on the issue.
Here are Commissioner Teresa Gubbins’ thoughts
and Commissioner Maeleska Fletes on South Dallas
and finally, Commissioner JP Bonnelly on advocates (citizens) whom he says “should not be allowed to whisper a word.”
Thanks to Mr. Bonnelly, the phrase “known bitches bitching their bitch” became part of the lexicon used by commissioners to speak of the tax-paying public. Mayor Pro Tem Erik Wilson was not amused.
May 18th, 2016 | Citizens Deborah Whittington Weighs In and Asks For Accountability From the City
Citizens Deborah Whittington weighs in and asks for accountability from the City. Start the video at 45 second.
MAY 25, 2016 | Citizen Addressed the City Council and Asked for Accountability for Antoinette Brown’s Death
Here is Deborah Rodriquez asking the City Council: “Has Ms. Brown’s death been enough, or will it take another mauling death for you to take ownership and finally apply your attention and will to resolving our animal issues?”
Start the video at the 9 minutes
MAY 25, 2016 | Animal Advisory Commission Meeting
After hearing from citizens about the dysfunction of the Animal Advisory Commission, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Wilson and Councilperson Young attended their first commission meeting.
The family of dog attack victim Antoinette Brown threatened to sue the City of Dallas for $5 million, as most Animal Advisory Commissioners continued to resist any ideas that include picking up loose dogs as part of the solution. A good portion on this meeting was dedicated to city lawyers explaining to the Commission why the City of Dallas was not liable, due to governmental immunity, and will not pay out money for a claim or lawsuit for Antoinette Brown’s death.
At the end of this meeting, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Wilson addressed the commission during public comments. He expressed great concern and frustration. He wanted the Commission to look at how to improve safety and quality of life. He asked them to work to understand how animal issues relate to poverty and how they relate to crime. He reminded the Commission that the live release rate is going to take a temporarily hit as they start to address the loose dog issues as most of the dogs that DAS will initially pick up will not be considered adoptable. Commissioner Bonnlley chastised Wilson over Wilson’s statistic and information on adoptable shelter dogs. Wilson said his information was straight from the DAS website. Mr. Bonnlley argued that picking up the loose dogs would not have made a difference and it would not have saved Antoinette Brown’s life. Mr. Bonnlley might have missed Mr. Wilson’s point about understanding how loose dog issues relate to poverty and crime; and that’s a problem.
MAY 2016 | Chairman Peter Brodsky Raised Private Money and Retained Private Consultant to Assess DAS
Chairman Brodsky retained consultant BCG to assess DAS and help craft a strategic plan. The Dallas BCG (Boston Consulting Group) office began work in June and Mr. Brodsky was hopeful that the 11-week study will be ready for City Council consideration by September when the final budget locked.
JUNE 2016 | Citizens Push Out An Interactive Dog Bite Map
Citizens take census block level poverty data, DPD dog bite data, zip codes, district maps, Big Fix for Big D areas, and the TAI areas and create and publish an interactive map. The mapping exercise clearly shows that Dallas does not simply have a dog problem, Dallas doesn’t necessarily have a people problem. This data shows us that Dallas has a poverty problem. The data shows that there are 90,000 intact animals in poverty in South Dallas. The obvious conclusion from the data, until the City starts to look at a comprehensive and respectful plan to address animal owners in poverty, animal issues will always be an escalating problem.
INTERACTIVE MAP | Interactive Dog Bite Maps with Districts, Zip Codes, etc.
WordPress will not let us embed the map…you’ll have to click the link for a full screen interactive version.
DOG BITES PER SQUARE MILE BY DISTRICT
JUNE 10, 2016 | Joey Zapata Released a Memo on Ms. Brown’s Death
Assistance City Manager Joey Zapata released a memo on Ms. Brown’s death and the Dallas Morning News took a look at the 11 point assessment.
From the DMN, “The 79-page report, sent to City Council members, sheds new light on Antoinette Brown’s death and its aftermath. It identifies more than a dozen shortcomings — for example, major communications breakdowns between Dallas Animal Services and police — that illustrate how much more Dallas needs to do to fix what Mayor Mike Rawlings has called a loose dog “crisis.”
From the memo: “A dozen gaps and opportunities (noted in bolded text) have been identified and are implemented or will be implemented through the partnership that has embedded a Dallas Police Department team into Dallas Animal Services to help improve communication and the City’s focus on loose dogs and animal-related attacks and injuries.”
JUNE 13, 2016 | Quality Of Life Committee Meeting
In this meeting, Mr. Zapata and Ms. Jones presented “recommendations”. But they are more like suggestions that need more research and work to be able to present to the City Council for approval. They are not supported by metrics or return on investment statements. It was not really clear what DAS was truly recommending except that they would prefer to wait for BCG findings and next steps were to “seek committee guidance on policy changes for council action” and “provide periodic updates to Committee on improvements from DPD-DAS partnership”. That left citizens wondering how that would immediately address the level one priority crisis level animal issues.
At the end of this meeting, the Quality of Life Committee is clearly frustrated as Mr. Zapata answers Chairperson Grayson’s questions about “what is next” with an unexpected, (paraphrasing here) “we’ll do whatever you want us to do, whatever YOU recommend to send to Council.” They basically washed their hands of responsibility and ask the Committee to make decisions without proper recommendations or information. Council member Young, frustrated by the obstacle, took on DAS’ responsibility and committed to create a list of recommendation for City Council.
JUNE 2016 | Animal Abuse and Neglect
Not much has been said on this timeline about dog dumping and abuse and neglect issues in Dallas, but we’re going to Reader’s Digest it here. Things that happen down at Dowdy Ferry are unspeakable. The people that commit these felony level crimes live amongst us. That should wake everyone up.
Dallas Animal Services is tasked with investigating such cases. Research, case study, and ORRs over the last few years have revealed that DAS’ animal abuse investigation arm is a broken dysfunctional hot mess. Most of the necropsies performed in the last year could not stand up in court due to quality and chain of custody issues. As recently as the week of August 20th, 2016, the city was accidentally retrieving evidence from a potential cruelty case and dumping it in the city landfill.
While it seemed DAS, DPD, and the District Attorney’s office started out with good intentions to work together to build a viable system, the work group fell apart after only one meeting. The city disbanded the group for other priorities and direction. By June 20, the task force that started on April 15 was disbanded by Assistant City Manager Zapata, after one official meeting. Something about “other priorities and direction”. Abused, neglected, mutilated dogs are still being dumped daily, dead and alive. When is the City going to take animal abuse seriously?
The City is well informed on the price of letting animal cruelty go unchecked. In 2010, the Quality of Life Committee was briefed by 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 press caught wind of one of the “solutions” that DAS was proposing. DAS proposed removing hold times on “community cats, underage animals, and/or strays impounded from designated areas with high incidence of injuries by animals.” Citizens express concern that this policy was discriminatory and was a civil rights violation.
AUGUST 2016 | BCG Scheduled to Present an Update at the Animal Advisory Commission Meeting
Meeting cancelled. No quorum. During a time when mothers, children, and their pets were being increasingly attacked, mauled, and KILLED by loose dogs, this was not the kind of commitment to solving the City’s crisis level animal issues that the citizens were looking for.
AUGUST 4th, 2016 | Animal Advisory Commission Meeting
In this Animal Advisory Commission meeting, BGC gave an update to the Animal Advisory Commission on their assessment of DAS and their vision for a strategic plan. The main takeaway from the report was that loose animal intake was down and dog bites and dog bite attacks were up.
“1. Total reported dog bites in Dallas increased 33 percent from 2013 to 2015, with the proportion of bites attributed to the category of loose-but-owned dogs growing much faster, at 51 percent. How did that escape the city’s attention?
2. Since 2011, DAS dog intake has remained flat, with the increase in owner surrenders compensating for a slight decline in field intake. Translation: Instead of picking up the dogs, DAS is relying too heavily on citizens bringing animals to the shelter.
3. Eighty-five percent of dogs in southern Dallas have not been spayed or neutered. That means the population grows very quickly and, despite all efforts, the population of intact dogs has not been reduced. ”
These are things our neighborhoods have been telling (with data) the City’s deaf ears for years. Some other notable topics from the meeting: dog czar conversation, questions about intake statistics and policy change, and a clear and blatant statement against Council’s direction.
Many of the commissioners objected heavily to the suggestion of a dog czar. Mr. Brodsky pointed out that power, authority, and accountability was so disparate and spread out – there was no accountability He explained that Councilmember Young was looking for, “someone for a single point of accountability to oversee the communities and departments” for DAS. Commissioners Maeleska Fletes and JP Bonnlley objected strongly, even after Assistant city Manger Joey Zapata explained that moving DAS to its own department would not solve the problem, they will still need someone like a Czar to facilitate between City departments, like sanitation and DPD. Brodsky went on to back the idea and say, “that it’s not a unique idea – if you empower someone, it will work.”
Mr. Brodsky asked the commission and Ms. Jones if the reduction in the number of loose dogs picked up from the streets was a, “ result of a policy change or a directive to how ACOs spend their time? What is causing the trend?” Ms. Jones answered that there was not a directive that was causing the decline in numbers.
Mr. Brodsky asked again and Ms. Jones replied, “Direction and policy they (the animal control officers) are going on is enforcement and enhancements – not picking up dogs.” To which Mr. Brodsky replied, “that is not what council said to do.” And again we saw the tragic disconnect that cost Antoinette Brown her life.
So now we wait for the final report for BCG and hope that the City will implement the suggestions in a meaningful timeline.
During public comments, citizen Charlie Howell spoke to the Commission regarding his family’s experience after he, his wife, and his dogs were attacked and he was bitten by a loose dog. One year after they were attacked and Mr. Howell was bitten, seven months after they submitted an open records request, two months after the State Attorney General told the city to turn the information over, they have had to hire an attorney to obtain the information that the citizens have a right to by state law.
Mr. Howell told the Commission, “We want to share details about our story, because it reveals additional “gaps” and “opportunities” that were not a part of the city’s findings from the investigation into the fatal attack against Ms. Antoinette Brown. We hope that BCG and the Commission will consider this information in formulating recommendations that will reverse the increasing trend in numbers of dog attacks occurring throughout the city.”
Mr. Howell reminded the commission that they are disconnected from reality as he pointed out, “At the last Animal Commission meeting, we heard Commissioner Bonnelly declare that even if the city had cleared all the dogs from the streets of Dallas on the night before Antoinette Brown was brutally killed that the attack against her would not have been prevented. Our case is different, because DAS could have prevented the attack by picking up only one dog.” DAS currently has the authority to impound any animal posing a threat to public health or safety.
Howell pointed out to the commission that, “DPD is currently on track to investigate more than 430 dog attacks during 2016 with about 120 of those being attacks against babies, children and teens under the age of 16.” That’s about one dog bite against a citizen a day. He asked them to consider the cost to the City and the citizens.
Mr. Howell ends his statement with this statement and question, “City of Dallas officials need to recognize that they are not above laws requiring a *timely* response to valid public information requests — they are public servants paid by taxpayers to follow laws, regulations and processes. So, last, I must ask… Whose desk is our open records request sitting on today?”
Whose desk indeed.
Click here to view the video archive of the meeting.
**Please note that the city accidentally stopped recording and five minutes of Mr. Howell’s public comments time is missing from the video archive. The City has attempted to edit in audio where the video portion is missing. Start the second video at timecode: 114:23.
Below is a summary of Mr. Howell’s statement.
Mr. Howell is not alone with his issue with DAS promptly answering Open Records Request as outlined by law. Several other complaints have been placed to the Attorney General’s office. Even after being compelled by the Attorney General’s office, DAS has still not turned over or completely turn over information on several other cases.
Mr. Howell has had to obtain an attorney and to file with the court to obtain the information requested in his open records request. This is how the City is spending YOUR TAX dollars – getting hauled into court because they refuse to follow state law.
Below is BCGs preliminary report
AUGUST 2016 | How Many Dogs?
Over the last five years, residents of North Oak Cliff have picked up, rescued, turned in, and returned to owner hundreds of dogs. Most residents have done this out of desperation as the city won’t help pick up loose dogs. To ignore the problem would be passive neglect; to ignore the problem would be to endanger the neighborhoods and our neighbors further.
Residents own traps, snappy stairs, rabies poles, and they commonly carry these things in their cars and use them in the daily lives. Residents have become better dog catchers than the Dallas Animal Services officers. But it is not just the residents, Colleges and Universities have learned to trap dogs and they own and use their own traps as the City can not seem to help them either. It is systemic and there is no meaningful relief or plan in sight.
Mayor Deputy Pro Tem Wilson told the Animal Advisory Commission that it was not right that people walked and ran the Katy Trail without a worry of a loose dog, while his constituents walked with golf clubs and sticks just to get their kids to school.
This has gone on too long, and at what price?
AUGUST 2016 | Call to Action – Attend Budget Town Hall Meetings
What is our takeaway? How long does DAS leadership get to stay in place while ignoring directives from the City Council? How long do they get to neglect the animal control portion of animal services? How many people have to be mauled and die?
If we head back to 2010/2011, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was paid to do an audit of DAS. In refererening the Animal Advisory Commission, the HSUS report found that, “It was clear that the goals and priorities established by the Commission were in conflict with the DCCS’S goals (Code compliance and the City), as well as with the stated goals of the City Council.” This is still a HUGE problem and roadblock today.
The report went onto say that, “The HSUS team suspected that differences in philosophy, expectations, and goals as well as the direct access and reporting relationship with the Mayor and City Council was the basis for the tension among DCCS (Department of Code Compliance Services), DAS, and the Animal Shelter Commission.” They point out that, “An effective advisory board can be a meaningful way to provide advice to City officials on the operation of its animal control program and to assist in the achievement of goals; however, the relationship should be supportive, rather than adversarial.” That’s worth repeating, “the relationship should be supportive, rather than adversarial.”
Flash forward to today and we have the same problems. DAS and the Animal Advisory Commission are NOT aligned with what the City Council has directed them to do. DAS is NOT picking up loose dogs, nor do they think they should be focusing on picking up loose dogs, and they are not working towards improving the safety and quality of life of citizens who find their neighborhoods inundated with loose and dangerous dogs.
It’s time to use your voice and attend Budget Town Hall Meetings in your district. Last year the Mayor told us he had a full understanding of the City’s animal issues and that, and we quote, “I got this”. All due respect Mr Mayor, you don’t got this. Please listen to the needs of the citizens and put in place competent leadership that can work to answer the needs of our communities.
Here is a link to this year’s budget proposal that will be discussed in these upcoming meetings. Please, use your voice.
AUGUST 30, 2016 | BCG’s Final Presentation to the City Council
On Tuesday, August 30, there will be a special session and BCG will present their final findings to the City Council. The meeting will be held at City Hall at 9am. The presentation document will be posted online by the City Secretary’s office the Friday before. Please attend the meeting or watch via live streaming. This will be an important moment on the timeline of change. Stay informed and have a voice in what happens next.
The presentation was released on Friday, August 26, ahead of the presentation to City Council.
Commission Chair Brodsky’s memo
BCG Initiative Details
From the city website:
BCG Presentation of Findings to City Council
From the DMN article a few quotes from Mayor Rawlings:
“The people of Dallas should no longer have to choose between public safety and animal welfare, Rawlings said. And for the first time, he said, “we have a playbook” for how to solve the loose dog crisis. ”
Well, actually Mr. Mayor, DAS has had a playbook before. Remember the 2010/2011 HSUS report that said, among other things, that DAS was not aligned up picking up loose dogs? Now, we’ll give the mayor, this new report is very robust and gives much more detail about budget and return on investment, but the shelter manager and the city should revisit that HSUS document moving forward.
The mayor told the Dallas Morning News that he will personally hold city management accountable for the plan — regardless of whether DAS leadership is on board with the recommendations. “They may agree or disagree,” he said. “It doesn’t matter at this point.” We’d like the mayor to be a little more specific, who is “city management” exactly?
The Mayor Rawlings said, “This is one of the most important documents I have received since I became mayor.” Let’s hope the city does something meaningful with this important, time sensitive document.