| News |

Dyer Straits: Or, When a City Council Member Doesn't Trust the City

Angela Hunt
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

I know, right? On Wednesday, Paul Dyer, director of the Dallas Park and Recreation Department, handed down his decree that Jenny the elephant is to remain in Dallas after all. No doubt you figured, "Well, that is that," for better or worse. Only, not so fast.

Not only are the Concerned Citizens for Jenny vowing they're going to continue on now -- "We remain determined to fight for Jenny and make sure she gets to The Elephant Sanctuary and soon," noted Margaret Morin in an e-mail to Unfair Park yesterday -- but council member Angela Hunt is also plenty peeved with Dyer's decision. Hunt's lengthy response to Wednesday's decision follows after the jump. --Robert Wilonsky

From Angela Hunt:

By its own admision, the Dallas Zoo's cage for Jenny is too small. So they're going to bring in another elephant to share this small space?

The Zoo director claims they'll build her a new, large exhibit in just 18 months. That's more than unrealistic. It's just not true.

In the three years I have been on the council, I've watched as construction project after construction project is delayed for one reason or another, often for years (Downtown parks, Santa Fe Trail, Trinity project, Katy Trail extension north, etc., etc.). The city is incapable of meeting its own deadlines for construction. And eighteen months to find an architect, design, bid out the construction contract, build, and finish out a huge zoo habitat is naively unrealistic at best, purposely misleading at worst.

Jenny's old. She's 32. According to the zoo association, elephants in zoos generally live 35 years. She'll spend her final years in a small cage, waiting for her new exhibit to be built as its construction is delayed for several years. She'll continue to be tranquilized for weeks at a time when she self-mutilates or attacks her new elephant companion (as her medical history indicates she will do).

Instead, she could be roaming 300 acres of Tennessee countryside.

Having placed Dallas under national scrutiny by deciding to send our remaining elephant to a drive-though Mexican zoo, Zoo director Gregg Hudson is now desperate for a mulligan. He's trying to undo an embarrassing breach of judgment, only to make another. He didn't want to piss off the zoo's trade association that wants its members to exchange animals only with other members. Then he saw the national outcry from those who objected to sending her to Mexico when she could go to a huge sanctuary in the U.S. Now, he's copping out by choosing neither, a non-decision that does nothing to help Jenny.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.