New Pressure on Dallas Animal Services Over Stray Dogs

Dallas Animal Services received new pressure from the City Council Monday to address dangerous dogs on the street.

The City Council Quality of Life Committee heard what was called the "Dallas Animal Services Action Plan" Monday but several members said it fell short.

"This was not a plan today," said Councilman Scott Griggs. "What the council and citizens want to see is a plan with metrics. Where are we now and what are our goals with our metrics for getting our arms around this loose dog problem? And then how are the resources you're asking for going to achieve those goals?"

Pressure to produce a plan grew after a Sept. 2 meeting attended by two dog bite victims. The men both live in Griggs' Oak Cliff City Council district.

"It's unacceptable," Griggs said. "At least in one of the incidents, the dog had been called into DAS several times over a period of weeks before the bite occurred. DAS was unable to get the dog. So we're not doing our job on behalf of our citizens. And the council wants answers from management."

Stray dogs are roving the streets of Dallas and bite victims are demanding action. Two bite victims called for action Wednesday as the city council considered boosting funding to animal control.

The plan presented Monday identifies 26 vacant Dallas Animal Services positions, including 10 animal control officers who could be out catching loose dogs. The plan calls for higher pay to help fill the vacant positions and a $743,000 budget increase. The money would also buy better communication for officers in the field with 311 call takers and better targeting of Dallas Animal Services resources to problem neighborhoods.

Assistant City Manager Joey Zapata said city staff promised an outline for an action plan.

"And so we are very clear, that's exactly what this is," he said. "But we hear them. We do definitely hear the concern and the need for fast attention to this."

Zapata said city staff will return with more numbers and goals next month.

"We're going to keep coming back to this committee, but we've got to start showing them results," he said.

The council is expected to vote on a new city budget next week, including the Dallas Animal Services budget increase.

"They want more resources, we want to give them more resources, but we want to know that these resources are going to get us to a goal," Griggs said.

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DAS Actionplan Combined 091415 (Text)
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