Dallas shelter makes amazing progress in the last few months

October 1, 2011 signaled the end of Fiscal year 2010-2011 for the City of Dallas.  At that time Dallas Animal Services should have had 135 full time employees – that’s what the budget called for.  But 34 of those positions were still vacant as a result of the September 2011 Reduction In Force. Even as late as March 2012, 30 of those positions were still vacant, and 35 more were filled with untrained temporary workers – leaving only 70 trained, permanent employees.

During that same Fiscal year, Dallas Animal Services Adoption Center, which holds less than 800 animals took in 31,192 animals.  Only 1,541 pet owners reclaimed their lost pets.  2,686 pets were adopted into loving, permanent homes, and DAS 100+ Placement Partners took 4,585 more into their adoption programs.  That left 21,000 animals to that were euthanized because they had nowhere else to go.

Dallas Animal Services staff served a population of 1,197,000 residents, answering more than 52,500 calls for service.  From June of 2011 to March of 2012 they had completed more than 246 of the 253 recommendations from the HSUS 2010 report – many of the same recommendations that had been made in 2001, but were never implemented in the nine years after.

And despite nearly 1/2 the shelter’s positions being vacant or filled by temporary workers, the shelter managed to raise the Live Release Rate from 20% in 2009 to 40% in January of 2012.

It was only two years ago that the shelter was embroiled in controversy after the manager was indicted on cruelty charges. Two staff members were also charged with cruelty.  Not one person in management of the shelter, from the City Manager on down, had any experience in animal rescue or sheltering.  Accusations were flying, morale was at an all-time low, and the staff was turning on each other.  The City Manager had to bring in a police lieutenant to gain control of the situation after thousands of concerned citizens sent a loud and clear message to City Hall.  That’s some amazing progress for a department that some eight months later, is still operating with only about 75% of the employees they should have.

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