A massive private donation to the city of Dallas is expected to go a long way to fixing one of the city's biggest problems.
The $13.5 million gift from the Reese Jones Foundation, the Caruth Foundation and the Dallas Foundation is going to an ambitious spay-and-neuter program aimed at tackling southern Dallas' loose dogs issue.
"I can't find a gift bigger on the surface component to the city of Dallas in its history," said Mayor Mike Rawlings.
An estimated 8,700 dogs run loose in southern Dallas, causing problems for people in parks and their yards, and children walking to school.
The mauling death of Army veteran Antoinette Brown last May was one of the major catalysts for the city to take action. Brown was attacked by a pack of loose dogs on Rutledge Street near Fair Park.
The city on Thursday announced these major donations to ramp up a spay-and-neuter initiative.
Dallas Animal Services picks up an estimated 20,000 animals every year, and the city believes that only 15 percent of homes in southern Dallas are spaying and neutering their pets.
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The city wants to perform 46,000 spay and neuter surgeries for free for three years. That's about 138,000 total surgeries at an estimated cost of $24 million.
The private gift announced Thursday puts the city more than 50 percent of the way to its fundraising goal for three years.
So far, no public money is part of the plan.
Rawlings says now it's the community's turn to do its part.
"Citizens, you're the last people. You're going to have to help us. You're going to have to get these dogs operated on. We've got an access to it. We're going to give you the tools. Now, we all come together," Rawlings said.
There are not a lot of vet clinics in southern Dallas, so accessibility is a problem. Mobile clinics play a big role in this initiative. Rawlings says the next step is community outreach to let residents know that this program is available, that it's safe and it's free.