Taking a Look at Dallas Animal Services' First Week-Plus of Full Disclosure

A dog at Dallas Animal Services in 2015.
A dog at Dallas Animal Services in 2015.
Amy Martyn

A little over a week ago, Dallas' animal services department began publishing daily report cards of the actual, concrete work it does each day in the field. In the wake of its reorganization following the South Dallas mauling death of Antoinette Brown, the agency is increasing efforts to be transparent about the efforts being made to handle the estimated 8,000 loose dogs roaming Dallas south of I-30.

So far, the sample size is so small that it's tough to draw any conclusions from the data, but the little information we do have is startling. DAS is dealing with, and euthanizing, dozens of animals almost every day.

The fewest number on animals euthanized on any given day since DAS began posting the report cards occurred on Friday, when 17 animals — nine dogs, four cats and four "others" — were put down.

On Friday, Oct. 28, DAS reported its highest euthanasia total, when 42 animals — 36 dogs, five cats and one "other" — were killed.

In late September, Dallas Police Department Deputy Chief Rob Sherwin, the temporary leader of DAS, said that he anticipated DAS would put down about 12,000 dogs over the next year — a pace of about 33 dogs a day — an increase of about 50 percent from the 8,000 DAS euthanized in the previous year.

As many as 40 dogs are being euthanized that are coming into DAS each day from the field, the reports show.

Many people checking out the reports online have complained to DAS that the city's shelters are putting animals down despite being at less than 80 percent capacity on each of the days measured. The agency says some animals, either because of  being very ill, aggressive or severely injured, just aren't fit for the agency's adoption program.

The reports do show that that adoption program is having success, too. Even on the worst day for euthanasia, more animals went out the door with new or previous owners than were killed. DAS plans to put up the reports seven days a week as part of its new effort to increase transparency. The report cards can most easily be found on the agency's Facebook page.


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