In July of 2011, then Code Compliance Director Joey Zapata asked me to chair a City task force to take on the job of pulling together a group of local animal welfare leaders to create a blue print to get Dallas to No Kill. The task force looked at what cities and towns around the country had done, and learned what had worked and what hadn’t. We undertook an extensive survey to see what resources, both private and public, were already available and in play.
On January 12, 2012, “A Strategy for Transforming Dallas into No Kill Community” was published. It was an aggressive 5-year plan that relied heavily on community involvement, education, spay/neuter, and community outreach.
Just this past week I was looking back at that plan, remember the ways things were then, and I couldn’t help but notice the first paragraph of the plan – the background. It reads, “By the end of calendar year 2010, the No More Homeless Pets of Dallas Coalition reported over twenty-two thousand (22,000) dogs and cats were killed in our community, euthanized because they were not adopted, redeemed, or otherwise rescued. Many of these innocent animals were healthy and well adjusted pets simply in need of a new home. For Fiscal Year 2010-2011 Dallas Animal Services reported killing 20,684 of the 28,392 dogs and cats received at its shelter, a staggering and unacceptable annual euthanasia rate exceeding 72%.
So isn’t it ironic then, that just this past month, Dallas Animal Services set a record live release rate – the highest in their history – of just over 72%.
Have we reached our goals? No, not yet. Is everything going according to plan? No, but a lot is going according to plan. Are we making progress? To go from a 72% euthanasia rate to a 72% live release rate. Yes, yes, I’d say we were.
Congratulations to the DAS staff and management team, the City of Dallas, the community, the volunteers, the supporters, and ALL the partners, corporate and non-profit. This is a victory for the animals – and for all of us.
Let’s take time to be proud and to appreciate ourselves and each other. Together We Do It Better- it’s not just a hashtag.