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