On Thursday evening, volunteers with the Southern Dallas Animal Initiative will go through training to learn how to count stray and loose dogs in South Dallas. The goal of the survey is to get a handle on the scope of the problem, so there are better solutions to it.
"These are maps of our territory," explained Stephanie Timko as she showed NBC 5 around one of the South Dallas neighborhoods in the count, ZIP code 75216. "We know that these are three critical ZIP codes."
Timko is helping coordinate training and a weekend loose and stray dog count. The method is similar to the Christmas Bird Count. Volunteers don't have to be scientists, they just need to follow rules about where to count and what to count.
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"That man would not be walking down the street and that kid would not be playing in the front yard if there were stray dogs out," Timko observed while she drove. "People around here know to go in."
If residents in South Dallas have known about the problem, the rest of the city found out when Army veteran Antoinette Brown was mauled to death in May by a pack of loose dogs in South Dallas.
"It took a death for the them to sit up and realize there's a problem," Timko said. "It isn't a problem that's unique to Dallas. This is happening across the country."
After Brown's death, Dallas city officials and Dallas Animal Services vowed to step up efforts to control the stray and loose dog problem. Timko thinks maybe a government effort isn't enough.
"I feel whatever Dallas can't do, citizens can step up," she said. "It's our responsibility to take care of our neighborhoods, right?"