The City Council, especially southern sector reps Scott Griggs, Erik Wilson and Rickey Callahan are fed up. Two weeks ago, they summoned members of Dallas Animal Services leadership to give the council an update on some of the issues faced by animal control, and what needed to happen for those problems to be solved.
The problems, as explained by DAS, largely stem from the organization's inability to fill staff positions — and retain employees in positions that have been filled — and dog owners who, having had their dogs confiscated, simply get new dogs. DAS didn't offer much in the way of solutions, but Dallas City Manager AC Gonzalez promised DAS would be back in a couple of weeks with a more detailed plan for mitigating the stray dog issue.
Late Friday, we got a sneak peak at what DAS will present to the council's Quality of Life Committee on Monday.
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DAS is going to attack its staffing issues by holding a job fair in October, double hiring and giving additional money to existing staff. Total cost to the city, including "enhancements" to existing positions DAS wants filled and the raises for existing staff, is about $800,000. That's on top of the $580,000 already in the upcoming city budget for new DAS positions.
Technology must also be improved, DAS says. Currently, calls about strays can come in to the city's 311 line, which is not integrated with DAS' database. The technology is in the field to solve the problem, DAS says, so the systems will be linked by the end of 2015. DAS also plans to wrap its vehicles. During the last briefing, DAS said many residents didn't realize the work animal control was doing because the vehicles dealing with dog issues were marked with logos for the city's code compliance division.
Perhaps most interesting to stakeholders in southern Dallas, DAS also plans to target specific areas for enhanced enforcement. In those areas, DAS would have foot patrols, expedited responses to calls and daily tactical initiatives for outreach and enforcement.