Last year saw the start of some big, possibly permanent changes at Dallas Animal Services: 53 full-time employees were pink-slipped and replaced with temporary workers. Meanwhile, the number of animal services officers in the field dropped from 55 to 32. And the "drop boxes" at the shelter were closed at night , meaning that anyone wanting to surrender a pet or turn in a stray animal they've found to shelter staff couldn't do it when the shelter was closed. But the drop boxes still existed at least, making it easier for citizens to turn in animals, rather than simply set them loose on Westmoreland Road.
But now it appears that the drop boxes have been quietly closed altogether, although we can't remember the subject coming up at any City Council or Animal Shelter Commission meetings, where one might expect that sort of idea to be discussed. An animal-loving reader sent us the above sign, posted on the front door of the shelter. It states that as of October 2, the drop boxes are closed. Anyone wishing to surrender an animal can do it during the oh-so-convenient hours of 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 12-5 on Sunday.
The sign also recommends that citizens call 311 in case of an emergency. But 311 isn't designed as an emergency service, and as we heard in September, DAS got around 49,811 service calls last year, or an average of about 145 calls a day. The department is still struggling with the most efficient way to deal with that call volume.
The sign also recommends calling the Rapid Response team, which handles loose-dog calls. It doesn't provide a phone number, though. When last we checked, that number was 214-670-FAST (3278).
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Shelter manager Jody Jones didn't return a couple of phone calls seeking comment.