Six hour Commission meeting, Part Two: The Good


Looks like the City got it right when they hired Jody Jones to take over where Lt. Walton left off. 

In less than three months, she’s already accomplished a lot (in addition to dealing with the chaos when half her department was RIFF’d):

-New Identi-band collars for pets in the shelter.  No more metal tags tied with string that get pulled off, fall off, broken and lost, leaving the animals unidentified. 

-A revised intake process that includes additional data collection, assessments, and photos right when an animal enters the building – so everything will now be in “real time”.   Now maybe we can find out where the animals come from, and why and focus efforts on the root of the problem.  In the 2nd phase of this project, Jones says expect to finally see vaccinations on intake.  That should make some of the rescue groups happy.

-Changes to ensure that donations designated for the shelter are used solely for shelter projects and don’t become part of the City’s general fund like revenue from adoption fees does.  The mechanism to do this has been in place for some time, but hasn’t been capitalized upon.   Sounds like future donations may be able to pay for all sorts of improvements that aren’t in the city budget.

Vets are in the shelter on the weekends!  Injured animals don’t just come in Monday – Friday.  This one was long overdue.

-DAS customer services hours will now coincide with the hours the shelter is open, which should eliminate a lot of confusion.

-Every other Friday, you’ll see DAS pets featured live on CBS 11’s “News This Morning” program.  The segment normally airs around 6:50 a.m. for you early birds.  Our new manager has showcased three homeless pets so far, and all three have gotten adopted.

-The adoption desk is getting business cards, and on the back of each there will be a place to write down specific information about an animal a potential adopter is interested in.

Some upcoming projects:

-Improving data collection

-Improvements to officer safety

-Enhancements to animal care

The AC.  Well, it’s still on the list.  Seems like it has been since around 2007.  For now portable AC units and large coolers have been brought in.  There’s still more to be done, but no timeline was provided.

A new PA system.  Wonder how they got this far without one?  Hopefully this will become a priority as it is expected to improve communications and make everyone (people and pets) safer.

Additional security cameras will be installed, as well Wi-Fi.  This’ll allow managers to see more of what is happening and respond more quickly when needed. 

More for the near future (let’s guess 2012):

-Better training and orientation for staff

-More supplies and equipment, a better way to purchase it, and a better way to distribute it all

Revised call structures (sounds like a continuation of the evaluation and assessment of how 311 calls are handled).

-And finally, a REAL volunteer program.

As one Commissioner pointed out, it seems Jody Jones is not only on the right track, but has managed to accomplish in months what some  have been requesting for years. 

And there’s more planned.  Here are some of the other highlights from the meeting:

-Calls to animal services for stray dogs, nuisances (barking), licensing question, tethering, cruelty, etc., are down more than 10,000 from last year to this (could the new ordinances be working?)

-About 1,700 people per month visit the shelter

-Intake is down and DAS’ live release rate is up!  Euthanasia is actually down more than 15%.

-Pet registration is up with the new online pet registration option

-The Commission’s Dangerous Dog Committee has reviewed the City Code and made numerous (very numerous) recommendations for changes the city needs to make.  Some are policy and procedure changes, but others may require changes to the ordinance.  There seem to be an awful lot of horror stories out there about out-of-control hearings, inconsistent application of the ordinances, and just plain vendettas.  Hopefully some of that will change soon.  In the meantime, make sure your dog doesn’t bite anyone or anything. 

-There’s talk of a new plan to deal with wildlife.  One that could save the City a lot of money, and save a lot of unnecessary killing of wildlife.   Did you know that Austin no longer loans traps?  Nor will they accept trapped wildlife for relocation?   Plano stopped trapping and loaning traps and they’re saving $ 150,000/year.  Hmmm…stay tuned for more in this.

And the big one. A city-wide goal of 0% euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals (it’s in writing folks!).

There’s a lot of change happening at DAS, good and bad.  To make sure that things stay under control and on schedule, the Animal Shelter Commission will meet monthly through the end of the year.  Meetings are scheduled for October 20th, November 17th, and December 8th

Coming up next: An outstanding honor for the long-time chair of the Animal Shelter Commission.


One Response to “Six hour Commission meeting, Part Two: The Good”

  1. 4dogpillow Says:

    Holy Smoke. Look at those accomplishments and goals! Let’s hope the Dallas city council gets out of the way and lets Miss Jody work the magic.

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