Animal Welfare

Dallas Animal Services Admits That It's Going to Have to Kill More Dogs in Southern Dallas

Dallas Police Department Deputy Chief Rob Sherwin, the new temporary leader of Dallas Animal Services, didn't hide the grim reality of what the agency is going to have to do to control the more than 8,000 loose dogs roaming southern Dallas.

Dallas Animal Services is going to have to pick them up, he said, and picking up more dogs is going to have some fatal consequences.

Over the next year, Sherwin told the Dallas City Council's Quality of Life Committee, DAS intends to pick up about 6,900 more loose dogs than it currently does, bringing the number to about 27,000. The agency will do so, he said, by putting additional animal control officers on the streets and hiring new 311 operators to deal with animal concerns.

The influx of dogs to city shelters will make it hard for DAS to keep its euthanasia numbers at their current levels. Last year, the city killed about 8,000 dogs. This year, the number could be as high as 12,000.

Sherwin hopes that DAS can cut down the number of euthanized dogs as much as possible by improving the way in which dogs are made available for adoption.

"We have to impound more loose dogs," Sherwin said. "There is a loose dog problem in southern Dallas, and we have to have a plan to pick up those dogs aggressively, but we have to balance that picking up with increasing the number of transfer partners and efficiencies at the pound."

The nightmare is what he called "the bad old days" when the city killed healthy animals to make space. "We can figure out how we can get people to come get those animals out faster," Sherwin said.

DAS will also use the additional $3.2 million it will get in next year's city budget to increase the number of free spay and neuter surgeries it provides to nearly 46,000 operations.

"We have to offer our citizens that service so that we can stop the overpopulation problem of the loose dogs," Sherwin said.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young