Helter Shelter

The city's animal control efforts are running wild, but that's not the critters' fault. It's a people problem. The question now is, will Dallas residents pay to fix it?

"As much as I like Finkelman, I want to strangle her," says commissioner Elaine Munch, who adds that the city council members "should be embarrassed. Ashamed. Outright ashamed."

On this Thursday afternoon, Munch circulates a document that explains why she and her fellow commissioners are so galled by the suggestion that the private sector be expected to bail city council members out of their political dilemma. The document is stunning: For the past two years, the private sector has donated more money to the animal control department than the city itself spends on it. That doesn't include the recent $1.25 million donation, which the city is now in jeopardy of losing if it fails to approve the larger shelter.

"That's the real story here," Brodsky says. "The city is not servicing us properly in this area. We are doing more than the city. We are matching [its] funds today dollar for dollar."

The Dallas City Council could accept its hired experts' advice and ask voters to pay for a new $11 million animal shelter. Or it could cheap out and risk repeating the same mistake it made in 1998. In the meantime, animal control officer Pat Grecco, middle, tries to rescue as many of the Oak Cliff shelter's animals as she can. Below, vet Janet Morris and her assistant, Lori Ramsey, give a stray a shot.
Mark Graham
The Dallas City Council could accept its hired experts' advice and ask voters to pay for a new $11 million animal shelter. Or it could cheap out and risk repeating the same mistake it made in 1998. In the meantime, animal control officer Pat Grecco, middle, tries to rescue as many of the Oak Cliff shelter's animals as she can. Below, vet Janet Morris and her assistant, Lori Ramsey, give a stray a shot.
Samuel Rice, manager of Dallas Animal Control, has begun the process of repairing the problems in his department. Now he says it's time for Dallas residents to do their part.
Mark Graham
Samuel Rice, manager of Dallas Animal Control, has begun the process of repairing the problems in his department. Now he says it's time for Dallas residents to do their part.

As Brodsky talks, the heads in the room nod in agreement.

"They [council members] keep backing away from this because they don't want to raise taxes," Brodsky says. "This is a funny way to run a city."

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