Dallas Animal Services joined a national coalition of animal shelters called Human Animal Support Services (HASS) that aims towards recognizing pets and people as family units and works to keep them together.
In the HASS model, shelters assist the majority of pets without separating them from their owners or community, according to the organization's website.
The Dallas animal shelter will join the HASS program as a tier-one pilot shelter, expanding its role from response-based services to social-service services that help keep pets with their families, get lost pets home more quickly and assist pet owners who are struggling to meet their pets' needs, according to a press release.
"The driving force behind all [Dallas Animal Services] operations is our motto of public safety, compassion and no shortcuts, and we believe joining HASS is the next logical step in that direction," said Director Ed Jamison.
New practices will also include remote services like veterinary telehealth and text support, comprehensive stray and lost pet return services, supported self-rehoming for people who cannot keep their pets and community-based animal protection services.
According to HASS, the idea for the program was developed during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic due to a record number of pets being housed in foster homes.
In the press release, Dallas Animal Services recognized the issues behind Dallas' animal challenges, citing "significant struggles surrounding inequity facing our human population."
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"The HASS coalition will help to create systemic change across the country that will ultimately end the cycle of need by addressing the true causes of our largest challenges that include threats to public safety, loose dogs, pet homelessness and non-compliance," Jamison said.