The City Begs to Differ, Your Honor

Andrea Grimes, of the Dallas Observer, posted an interesting article yesterday on Assistant City Manager Forest Turner’s recent memo to city council members in response to the HSUS audit of Dallas Animal Services.

The memo outlines progress made at DAS, including increased adoptions and rescues, fewer loose dog complaints and impoundments, and an upcoming “Dallas Loves Animals” initiative – and credit where it’s due.

However the summary of the 2010 HSUS findings and recommendations in the memo is, in Grimes’s opinion, “a tad disingenuous” in that it ignores the audit’s clear call for improved management, and tries to paint the whole sorry situation as simply a need for better procedural documentation and to reconcile “an obvious dichotomy” between the City’s goals and those of the Animal Shelter Commission and the animal welfare community.

Surely the goals of those in the animal welfare community should be taken into account when it comes to, say, the City’s animal shelter and welfare program?? The HSUS has a reputation for being a moderate organization that prefers to operate well away from the radical fringe, so it’s not like these recommendations, or the support of them by the ASC, are outlandish – the audit simply calls (as it did in a similar study almost a decade ago) for the City to look to the causes of dysfunction in its animal services programs and address them.

If a public company were found through an audit by independent third party consultants to be operating well below best practices for their industry, it would be a no-brainer that a primary recommendation would include a management overhaul. So why is the City so reluctant to implement the fundamental step? Without new management – accountable, action orientated and effective management – all these baby steps are really just putting lipstick on a pig; the core weakness will remain to rear its incompetent, nepotistic head another day.

Read Andrea Grimes’s post here.

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