Dallas Loose Dog Problem Needs Some Context

LooseDogsPieChartContext, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary; “the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.”

For months now we’ve been told Dallas’ loose dog crisis is at epidemic proportions; worse than ever in the City’s history. A crisis. Shocking. A tragedy. Dallas has been compared to a Third World Country. An outrage. Abuse. OMG.

So if I said that less than 3% of the dogs living in Dallas were loose, what would you think of that?  That can’t be right, can it? The BCG Preliminary Report indicated 8,700 dogs loose in Dallas! Yes, it did, and that’s probably a really good estimate. But epidemic? No.

The Texas Government Demographic Center estimates Dallas 2015 population to be 1,295,117. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association Pet Ownership Calculator then, there are nearly three-hundred thousand owned dogs in Dallas. 8,700 represents just 2.9% of that number.

Crisis? Epidemic? Tragedy? 2.9% is neither, unless you are a politician in need of a crisis to solve, or a newspaper desperately fighting to survive. That’s just my opinion of course.

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4 Responses to Dallas Loose Dog Problem Needs Some Context

  1. Joyce Ferguson says:

    So here’s my differing opinion from yours: There’s more to a ‘crisis’ than just numbers and percentages. Even your definition of ‘context’ lists other factors such as “the setting for an event.” When humans can’t walk their neighborhood streets for fear of being attacked; one person actually is mauled to death on the streets; a young boy is bitten while playing outdoors; the elderly–or anyone for that matter–can’t walk down the street without fear of being attacked; loose dogs are multiplying like rabbits…and more–that constitutes a context of crisis does it not? Yes, these things are a ‘tragedy’ and all the other descriptive words mentioned, and a city like Dallas should and can do better. The situation should never have reached this point. Even if the numbers showed a smaller percentage, this situation would still be “shocking,” a “tragedy,” and a “crisis.” So let’s put all this in the context of what it really is: it’s loss of human life; fear of being outdoors in neighborhoods; animals that are not properly taken care of; uneducated pet owners; overpopulated areas of animals….and on and on. Again, there’s much more to consider here than percentages; numbers have little meaning when these tragedies are happening. If this were happening in Lake Highlands/North Dallas and our children couldn’t go out to play in safety, we’d for sure consider it a crisis and we’d be hollerin’ our heads off to the city, not accepting it as a matter of course. Hopefully the city will come up with a workable plan in the near term to fix this. It can’t be soon enough!

    Let me say that I appreciate reading your pieces and what you do for animals…Just sure do disagree with you on this. Hope you re-think it!

    • I understand what you are saying, but the context I was referring to was that in a City this size, there will always be some percentage of loose dogs – most of them owned. Is 2% too many? I’ll try to research the stats for some other comparable cities and provide that info. In the meantime, remember more than 80% of fatal dog bites are caused by owned, unaltered, male dogs. Owned dogs, not street dogs. The “Crisis” part of this situation IMHO is not that dogs are loose, but that come people still get dogs for the purpose of protection. They train them to be vicious and attack anyone that comes near them, and when those dogs get loose – that’s when people are injured. Look deeper than just “loose dogs” and you’ll find a people problem.

  2. Elise Bissell says:

    You are an idiot.

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