Tuesday, March 28, 2017
We visited the Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center this past week and had the opportunity to speak with Teisha Monique Hood who is the Volunteer Program Coordinator for the Department of Code Compliance at the Dallas Animal Services. She gave us a lot of insight and information about the shelters from their admission process, field work, adoptions, processes, to euthanasia rights and adoption rates. The Dallas Animal Shelter has field officers who abide by the Chapter 7 city code which states that animal officers have to put a stray hold on pets for 4 days because if they have an owner the owner can come claim the pet and after the four days they can be adopted. If pets are microchipped then there is a 10 day hold on the pet. After the pets arrive at the animal shelter they are seen by the vet to have a medical examination and have to be spayed or neutered before they are adopted. The Dallas Shelter is run as a non-profit 501c and receives the majority of its funding from taxpayers and minimal revenue from adoption fees. The Dallas shelter advocates that in order to improve quality of life for animals here in Dallas it’s important that pet owners be responsible, so the city can regulate the law.
While the Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center is generally thought of as a “kill shelter” they are actively working to become a no kill shelter. This is difficult because of the shelters open admission policy. A decade ago the life-to-release rate, amount of animals that actually get adopted, was only around 25 percent; this has since risen to 89 percent last year, with a projected 95 percent rate. The stigma of being a kill shelter arises due to the fact that they do it for capacity reasons, while other shelters, such as the SPCA, do not. This is in large part due to the fact that they must take in any animal regardless of circumstances, while private shelters have the right to say no. Other shelters that are considered no-kill still perform euthanasia just like the DAS when there are health or behavior issues that would render the animal unsuitable for adoption. Teisha discussed with us how she thinks in order to become truly no kill, it takes the work of the entire community of Dallas, whether it's as simple as getting your pet spayed/neutered or fostering animals in your home to help DAS with capacity issues. They are continuing to work towards a completely no-kill operation through various strategies, one of which is trying to get apartment complexes to lessen their breed or size restrictions to allow for more potential pet owners as well as working with other cities that may have available capacity.
Philosophers like Immanuel Kant would likely agree with the idea that a community's treatment and relationship with its animals reflects that community's mentality. Teisha highlighted the cultural differences between Dallas and other no kill cities like Austin. She mentioned Austin’s generally supportive mentality towards pet compassion, and how that mentality has generated a city wide no kill environment. In order for Dallas to do the same, animal welfare and rights awareness must be risen. Teisha believes that if the quality of life for animals is greater, the quality of life for the Dallas community as a whole will become greater. Somewhat similar to Kant’s idea that our apparent duties to animals are really indirect duties to other people.
Power Point Presentation
Monday, March 27, 2017
Site visit summary:
Although my group had a meeting with the executive director of the Dallas Safari Club, he was not there when we showed up. Thankfully, a nice guy who worked there named Ben took time out to give us a tour and answer some questions we had for him about the DSC and hunting itself. Ben was an avid hunter himself and had a giant moose head that he had shot himself (the entire animal must have been at least 1500 pounds) hanging above his desk. Ben explained to us that the DSC is not a hunting outfitter, although they do occasionally organize hunting trips. Ben told us that the main focuses of the DSC are ecosystem conservation, political activism and exploring/studying wildlife ecology.
We asked a few not so easy questions, and I was personally surprised with how quickly Ben handled them. To get started, we asked if there was a relevant difference between conservation for the sake of hunting and conservation for the sake of conservation itself. Ben took an anthropocentric stance on this question and told us that hunting gives value to conservation, and this value in turn creates effort more effort for conservation. He talked about how the money raised on big game hunts in Africa (oftentimes $30,000+) goes back into conservation efforts for the animals to keep a steady supply of big game. Ben explained how putting $30,000 towards an ecosystem can easily save more than one large animal, so from a utilitarian standpoint big game hunting doesn't seem so bad (especially since the local villagers would mercilessly hunt lions to preserve their farm animals were the lions not protected by conservation efforts).
We pressed Ben on what "ethical hunting" means to him, as well. He said that humans are on top of the food chain, so he doesn't see anything wrong with hunting as long as it is done painlessly. He did, however, equate fenced hunting to "shopping", which was pretty funny.
Ben also talked about the minimal effect that organizations such as PETA have on the DSC, and that the DSC's main goal is to reach the "middle ground" of people who don't have too much of an opinion on hunting either way.
Ben then had to leave, and he handed us off to a young lady who was not a hunter, but worked on the science and research side of the DSC. She talked to us about a pronghorn restoration project the DSC has been working on, and she also touched on the difference between subsistence hunting and hunting for population control. She claimed that people who hunt wild boar in Texas purely for the sake of population control and not very educated, which I'm not sure if I agree with or not.
To sum it up though, our site visit to the DSC was super educational, and we were presented with a lot more information than we expected.
Site visit notes:
- Hunting gives value to animals/conservation
- Every usable part of the animal is used in hunting and it is illegal to not use every part (want and waste)
- Finances go towards conservation
- Tries to be ethical in hunting and painless (focus of organization)
- Play large role in ecosystem education (major focus), people need to understand the ecosystem when hunting
- There is more of a role the animal plays than just its role, interacts with other animals
- Want to get involved in conservation research
- 30 to 40,000 for trips
- Hunting leads to education about animals and species
- How do you know something is going extinct if you do not know it exists?
- Behavioral ecology
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
- To create your own post you first have to accept the invitation I sent you by email (on March 20). You need to have a google account to accept.
- To get started, you first have to sign in at the top right, using your google account.
- To start a post, select "new post" at the top right.
- To return to the post you've started, select "design" at the top right. Then select "posts" in the left column.
- To add pictures to your post, select the little picture icon. Do add pictures from your site visit!
- Save frequently to avoid losing your work!
- If you have trouble, come see me during office hours (or make an appointment) and I'll help you create your post.