Archive for the Take action! Category

City management to consider cutting 50% of Animal Services contract workforce

Posted in Now or Never, Take action! on May 20, 2014 by Blog Administrator

The Dallas City Council will be briefed tomorrow on the budget outlook for 2014-2015.  DAS has requested an additional $ 1.6 million to continue doing the good work that they do.  Adoptions are up, live release rates are skyrocketing, community outreach efforts and spay/neuter are paying off in South Dallas, public support for DAS is at an all time high, and thousands more pets are being saved every year.  The reward for all the hard work Animal Services has done to turn things around since 2010?   According to the presentation posted on the City Hall website, City management will recommend a reduction of the temporary laborers who have made up such a large part of the staff at DAS since so many full-timers were laid off in 2011.  All the full time animal keepers are gone, and now instead of the 35 contract laborers who care for the animals, the budget team is recommending the City cut that in half – and only budget for 50% of those workers.  17 people to feed and care for 650 animals every day!?!?  That’s absurd.

The budget team is recommending to the City Council…

  • No money to keep the PetSmart Charities Adoption Center open and running,
  • No money for vaccination on intake, which keeps the shelter pets healthier and the environment safer for the staff and visitors
  • No money for cleaning supplies to minimize cross contamination;
  • No money for canned pet food – just dry food for the tiniest orphans, the seniors, and those that are ill,
  • No money for basic lawn maintenance to keep the grounds in compliance with City ordinance,
  • No money to repair or replace broken, outdated equipment like exam tables, scales, autoclave, appliances, desks/chairs, anesthesia machines, etc.
  • No money for an emergency generator.  Should the AC fail in the heat of the summer, the consequences could be deadly for the animals housed at DAS;
  • No money for additional staffing. DAS is already unable to respond timely to public safety calls and emergency situations,
  • No money for staffing to provide the additional services City leaders expect as part of the Mayor’s Grow South plan.

Instead, they City recommends cutting out HALF of the workers who care for the animals.
Want to take a look for yourself?  Page 75 of 122, Budget Workshop #2, 05/21/14 presentation.

What can you do?  Easy – call, or send a letter or email to your City Council representative (see the list in the sidebar), and be sure to copy the City Manager, AC Gonzales and the Mayor as well.   Be polite please, but it’s OK to show how passionate you are about Dallas’ pets.

You can also let your voice be heard by posting on the City’s new feedback website, TalkDallas.com.

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Quality of Life isn’t just about schools. It’s about pets, too.

Posted in Now or Never, Take action! with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2014 by Blog Administrator

This past week there has been a lot of talk in the media lately about corporate relocation, after Toyota chose to relocate in Plano rather than Dallas. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings blamed Dallas public schools. DISD countered that Dallas has some of the best schools in the country.  Either way, Dallas residents lost out on significant future tax revenue that could have provided much-needed City services, or even offset future property taxes.

But isn’t there more to the story?  Quality of life for employees is always high on the list of considerations when corporations look to relocate, but quality of life is more than just schools. Corporations looking at quality of life issues often look at homelessness as a significant contributing factor – not just homeless people, but homeless pets as well.  That’s why Dallas Animal Services is under the prevue of the City of Dallas’ own Quality of Life Committee – because animal issues go directly to quality of life our residents.

Dallas Animal Services takes in 25,000+ homeless pets every year.  Much improvement has occurred in the last few years, with live release rates rising significantly for the first time in the City’s history. But loose, owned and stray dogs are still the number one complaint in many parts of the city.  Private funders, both locally and nationally have begun to come to our rescue – with programs like the $5 million dollar commitment to the Big Fix for Big D, with Pets For Life, in technology and in program support. But where is the commitment from the City?  Hiring Jody Jones was a great beginning, but much more is needed. We need permanent solutions that raise our quality of life, once and for all.

Permanent solutions are not free, not quick, and not easy. Permanent solutions require resources, time, and most importantly – money. But DAS budget hasn’t changed significantly in over a decade.  Year after year, the basic budget remains the same.  Enhancements are requested. Most are denied.  City managers contend there is no money. Not a dime to be had anywhere.  The money budgeted today – for a department whose recent successes have been recognized for recent achievements by the City itself, that now saves more lives than ever before – struggles day in and day out with basically the same budget the department had in 2010 when Dallas became known across the country as the City that let the cat die in the shelter wall rather than spend the money to cut a hole to free it.

There has to be some way to right the wrong done by decades of fiscal mismanagement. There has to be a new beginning, a provision for rectifying the situation, a reallocation of some sort. Somewhere, somehow there has to be funding to do what needs to be done.

It does seem likely there was more that played into Toyota’s decision than just schools, and Dallas’ track record when it comes to homeless pets still leaves a lot of room for improvement .  We need to invest money now – in issues that affect our quality of life now, and in creating an attractive corporate environment for the future.  How many more Toyota’s do we miss out before we find a way to finance animal services properly and make Dallas more attractive to corporate America?

Agree or disagree? Leave us a note in the comments, or better yet, take action by letting your City Council representative know how you feel and what your budget priorities are.

Dateline Dallas: The Budget Battle Begins

Posted in Take action! on April 29, 2014 by Blog Administrator

The City of Dallas has begun the process of determining the budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2014.  Sources tell us that the Dallas Companion Animal Project, along with the City of Dallas Animal Shelter Commission, will once again be advocating for more money for Dallas Animal Services.

Why? According to sources on the Animal Shelter Commission, DAS budget is not sufficient to continue the successes the department has enjoyed these last few years.

DAS management is asking for:

  • money to simply continue to operate 7 days a week.  Any reduction in budget would likely mean a reduction in shelter hours and in a reduction in field services;
  • money to keep the PetSmart Charities Adoption Center open and running (more than 1,000 lives saved in just 7 months!);
  • money for vaccination on intake, which keeps the shelter population healthier and the environment safer for the staff and visitors;
  • more money for cleaning supplies to minimize cross contamination;
  • more money for pet food.  Currently the DAS budget provides only for dry food – no canned food for kittens or puppies, seniors, or those recovering from illness;
  • money for basic lawn maintenance to keep the grounds in compliance with City ordinance (managers now buy gas out of their own pockets and borrow mowers from Code Compliance to avoid citations);
  • money to repair or replace broken, outdated equipment like exam tables, scales, autoclave, appliances, desks/chairs, anesthesia machines, etc. The main shelter is now 7 years old and no money was ever budgeted to repair or replace equipment;
  • money for an emergency generator.  Should the AC fail in the heat of the summer, the consequences could be deadly for the animals housed at DAS;
  • more money for staffing.  DAS is also notoriously understaffed – to the point they are unable to respond timely to public safety calls and emergency situations;
  • more money for staffing to provide the additional services City leaders expect as part of the Mayor’s Grow South plan.

Dallas’ pet lovers need to be sure City leaders know that they’re serious and they care  about the welfare of animals in Dallas, and ask City leaders to commit more money to make Dallas a more humane community.

The City of Dallas budgets approximately $ 5.34 per person on animal welfare.  Fort Worth spends about $ 8.18.  San Antonio $ 8.22, and Austin $ 10.09. Asking Dallas City leaders to spend more is not unreasonable.

Private, non-profit organizations are spending hundreds of thousands in private dollars to address the City’s animal issues. It’s time the City did their part and at least provided funding for basic services that affect public safety, staff safety, and the welfare of the animals – in the shelter and in our community.

The City Begs to Differ, Your Honor

Posted in Now or Never, Take action!, Updates with tags , , , , , , on February 2, 2011 by Lorrin Maughan

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.

Dallas Animal Services Pet of the Week Feb 4th

Posted in Pets for Adoption, Take action!, Updates on February 4, 2009 by Blog Administrator

This week’s Feature Pet is Sadie, an adorable 12-week old Australian Shepherd. Will someone give her a home? As with all DAS animals for adoption, she’s been spayed, microchipped and vaccinated – and just look at that little paw wrapped around Kent’s arm, she’s clearly a little sweetie!

Looking for Volunteers – how you can help

Posted in Take action! with tags , , , , , , on August 25, 2008 by Blog Administrator

Getting the Dallas City Council to make changes in the law is one thing, but to make sure those laws can be upheld takes education and the support of the community. We are looking for people to help us spread the word and help the city’s animals. If you are interested in the volunteer opportunities below, please send email to dallasanimaladvocates @ gmail.com (no spaces).

  • We need volunteer(s) to research pet-friendly blogs in our area that might be willing to post information about the new ordinances – if you have a blog, please consider posting about the ordinances!
  • We need a volunteer to put together an email list of groomers, boarding & daycare facilities in the DFW area.
  • Know anyone at Petco? Who can we talk to at the corporate office about getting their stores to post information?
  • Media moguls! We need contact information for the folks at Dig Fido.
  • We need someone to research homeowner’s associations in South Dallas.

Your efforts make a difference to the people and animals of Dallas!

Bob Barker Campaigns in Chicago for Spay/Neuter

Posted in Take action! with tags , , , , on August 1, 2008 by Blog Administrator

Bob Barker is helping to drive the issues of pet overpopulation and the need for responsible Spay/Neuter onto the national agenda.

The charming and passionate former host of “The Price is Right” spoke out in support of Spay/Neuter legislation in California. He helped us successfully lobby the Dallas City Council to introduce mandatory Spay/Neuter ordinances in our City.

And now, he’s actively encouraging the city of Chicago to become the next community to embrace the promise of spay and neuter, presenting to a standing ovation at Chicago City Hall last Tuesday, July 29.

View The CBS Video Coverage.

Supporters at Tuesday’s hearing outnumbered opposed by almost 2 to 1, and so many people were waiting to comment that they couldn’t get to everyone and the committee was adjourned for a future hearing.

But it’s going to take more than a huge turnout of supporters and Bob Barker’s charisma and persuasion to get these measures passed. Frenzied underground animal breeders from around the country are assaulting the Chicago Council Members daily with bluster and misinformation about spay and neuter programs and they need to continuing hearing from reasonable pet lovers who support common sense spay and neuter programs.

The session adjournment gives you time to help Chicago follow in the footsteps of other cities, like Dallas, that have adopted mandatory Spay/Neuter provisions!

Here’s what you can do: Please call (or if possible, call and fax) the following Chicago Aldermen:

Committee on Finance:
– Chairman EDWARD M. BURKE (Sponsor, no need to contact)
– Vice-Chairman PATRICK J. O’CONNOR
      Phone 773-769-1140, Fax 773-769-3804, Phone 312-744-6858, Fax 312-744-7248.

Committee on License and Consumer Protection:
– Chairman EUGENE C SCHULTER
      Phone 773-348-8400, Phone 312-744-3180, Fax 312-744-4021
– Vice-Chairman ISAAC CAROTHERS
      Phone 773-261-4646, Fax 773-261-8687, Phone 312-744-3070

If you have time, feel free to contact other Council Members too, by leaving polite messages for them requesting that they support the proposed animal ordinances – every call and fax counts and the animals of Chicago will thank you with their lives!