Archive for the Updates Category

Scooping Poop

Posted in Updates on March 26, 2014 by Lisa Roberson

As if the Riffs in August of 2011, weren’t enough, the City seemed bound and determined to run Jody Jones off.  Morale was low at the shelter (and the temperature inside soaring!) but the folks at Code Compliance insisted the AC was fixed. Supplies weren’t being ordered by Code.  Bills weren’t being paid by Code.  Orders were getting held up by Code.  And our well-respected new Program Manager was scooping poop because someone in Code Compliance didn’t think to send temps over to feed, water, and clean the kennels when all 53 of the Riffed staffers were forced to spend the day at City Hall going through the process -whatever that is.  Why were we surprised?

 

#themorethingschange

 

Advertisements

Well, That Didn’t Work Out

Posted in Updates on February 27, 2014 by Lisa Roberson

By May of 2011, things were getting better.  A new Director – one with extensive animal welfare experience had been chosen.  She hit the ground running in mid-July, but by the end of August Code Compliance had laid off more than half the staff. Managers who worked directly under her were being transferred or “Riffed”.  But then Code Compliance Director Joey Zapata assured everyone it was for the best – the new org chart he said, once all is said and done, should show a Program Manager (think Chairman/CEO – Jody Jones), a division manager (COO – someone with experience to run the operations part), four (maybe five?) managers (some from inside and some from out), and approximately twelve supervisors.

Now it appears DAS has a program manager, an operations manager, two managers, and 2-3 supervisors, for 30+ temporary workers, 90+ full time employees, and more than 20 vacancies.

It was all for the best.  Or was it?

#themorethingschange

The Disconnect

Posted in Updates on February 18, 2014 by Lisa Roberson

When the City of Dallas Animal Shelter Commission Annual Report for Fiscal year 2009-2010 was released in January 2011, it began with a caustic overview by the Commission, outlining instances of “lack of leadership and supervision; improper management; criminal actions; breakdowns in communication; major facility issues; charges of intimidation and witness tampering; and more”.

Forrest Turner, the head of Code Compliance at that time, was in the thick of things at that point, just months after the HSUS scathing report.  His response?  A memo, which Dallas Observer’s Andrea Grime called “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.

If the Commission’s goals mirror the Community’s goals, then why would the City’s goals not be the same?

#themorethingschange

In The Beginning

Posted in Updates on February 13, 2014 by Lisa Roberson

When we started this blog in August of 2010, our purpose was to show our readers how they could get involved in finding solutions to the problems at Dallas Animal Services – problems that had existed for decades and finally culminated in the arrest of the shelter manager on animal cruelty charges. In September of 2010, we wrote “The most valuable, compassionate, experienced staff members, tired of the stress and uncertainty at DAS, are leaving for jobs with other agencies. Dallas residents are angry, taxpayers are demanding change…We need to replace each and every manager and director with animal sheltering professionals and get Dallas Animal Services out from under the micromanagement going on in Code Compliance.”

By early October of 2010, some progress had been made, when we wrote “…. the progress now being made is not because of, but in spite of continued ignorance and mismanagement in Code Compliance.  Whether Code Compliance is intentionally trying to undermine some of the progress being made, or just completely lacking in basic management 101 skills is yet to be seen.”

Later in October, 2010 we wrote “But as it turned out, the Director of Code Compliance didn’t have the time to participate in ANY of those meetings with those other agencies after all.  He’d promised to be more involved in Dallas Animal Services and not to rely on middle-managers to run the department.  But then not two weeks later, the Director delegated his responsibilities to the Interim Assistant Director of Code Compliance…”

Since that time, a lot has changed but as the saying goes, the more things change, the more they remain the same.  Had we known then, what we know now, we’d probably have realized that hiring animal sheltering professionals to manage the department wouldn’t yield the long-term sustainable results we wanted.  We probably should have continued to insist the department be moved out from underneath the micromanagement and malice that seems inherent in Code Compliance.  It’s a lot like being the ugly Stepchild in a Grimm’s fairy tale.

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” -George Santayana

#themorethingschange

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.

You’ve never seen an annual report like this one

Posted in Now or Never, Updates with tags , , , , , , on February 1, 2011 by Lorrin Maughan

The City of Dallas Animal Shelter Commission Annual Report for Fiscal year 2009-2010 is out and it certainly makes for some interesting reading!

The report starts with a scathing overview by the Commission, outlining instances of “lack of leadership and supervision; improper management; criminal actions; breakdowns in communication; major facility issues; charges of intimidation and witness tampering; and more”. It reads like the screenplay to an explosive new television drama.

The overview concludes with a sobering observation: a 2010 review of Dallas Animal Services by the HSUS made observations and recommendations “virtually identical to those made nine years ago” in a previous HSUS Report. “The Commission supported the recommendations made then, and supports those in the HSUS 2010 Report as well. But these recommendations are only as good as their implementation. They will remain just words on paper—like so many of those from a decade ago—unless and until the City of Dallas, from the Mayor and City Council to the City Manager and on down the line, commits to making the necessary changes; to hiring the best and the brightest to lead and manage; and to ensuring that compassion is the guiding force at Dallas Animal Services.”

The report goes on to outline the 251 recommendations, based on best practices in the animal sheltering industry, providing the Commission’s response to each of them. Overall, “the Commission is in agreement with these findings and recommendations and the only thing left to do is to implement them”.

If the recommendations can be put into action, it will be a game changer for Dallas Animal Services and for companion animals in this city. It truly is “Now or Never for Dallas Animal Services” so let’s push to get it done!

Read the full report 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!