Johnny Archer, NBC 5 News
The Dallas city budget picture is improving. Last month the city manager forecast a $30 million shortfall. Now, it's down to a $13.8 million gap the city council must approve to cut from the budget before October.
Dallas Animal Services could see cuts in the next fiscal year due to a budget shortfall, city officials say.
Last month City Manager A.C. Gonzalez forecast a $30 million shortfall in Dallas' 2015 budget. The gap has since been reduced, but an additional $13.8 million must be cut from the budget before October.
Gonzalez is expected to present a budget update Wednesday on how to eliminate the gap, and many expect it may include $1.7 million removed from the Dallas Animal Services budget.
The proposal no longer includes cutting staff from animal services, but the reduced funding would certainly impact the animals in their care.
That possibility concerns thousands of Dallas residents, including more than 7,200 who have signed a petition online opposing the cuts to Dallas Animal Services.
“It will definitely affect the basic needs the animal have,” said Maeleska Fletes, who is assistant chair with the Dallas Animal Shelter Commission.
Fletes said cuts to animal services will affect the city, particularly stray cats and loose dogs.
“They’re going to stay on the street unless we have a facility like this that can take care of them,” said Fletes. “[And] hopefully find homes for them.”
Approximately 35,000 animals come through Dallas Animal Services each year.
“If this facility falls apart where are those animals going to go,” said Fletes.
The cuts will reduce the amount of food and the number of vaccines animals receive. Plus, there won't be enough money to fix anything that breaks down, including lifesaving medical equipment, according to animal service officials.
“I understand that there needs to be money found,” said Fletes. “But you can’t take it away from live animals.”
A spokesperson for the city manager's office said nothing at this point is definitive. They're still working out preliminary numbers.
A recommendation is expected to be made in August.