Dallas Animal Services reports improvements picking up strays

Dallas Animal Services said Monday its picking up more dogs off the streets while euthanizing fewer dogs at its facility.

The new numbers show signs of improvement for an agency that had a bad 2016. A woman was mauled to death last summer and a report estimated there were about 9,000 loose dogs in Dallas.

Stats now show in the city picked up 381 more loose dogs in December compared with a year ago, a 60 percent increase. At the same time, there were 202 fewer dogs put down.

"Those are the two statistics that really indicate that we are on the right path. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. That is something people did not expect,” said Peter Brodsky, Animal Advisory Commission Chair.

There is still a lot of work left to do. Councilwoman Tiffany Young said she's still getting complaints about response time.

"A report of a loose animal is still not a dispatch call,” Young said. “I am still waiting to see the day that becomes a dispatch call. That has been a concern of many in the community, that when they call that in, no one is coming out. I still have concerns that is not happening. That is troubling to me. "

Major Barbara Hobbs who now oversees animal services says if there is a report of an aggressive loose dog it is actively dispatched. DAS uses the data from loose dog reports to plan concentrated efforts in those communities.

The next step for DAS is to raise private money to provide free or low cost spay and neuters for people who can’t afford them.          

It's also unclear how long Dallas police will run and be embedded in Dallas Animal Services. That will be something the new city manager will decide when he takes over in a few weeks.

But Brodsky made a bold prediction Monday about what the agency can accomplish in 2017 and the years ahead.

"I think we'll be able to look back in 2-3 years and say, we've solved this problem,” Brodsky said. “Now we're in maintenance mode."

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