Three nonprofit organizations have offered funding for the city to spay and neuter stray dogs in southern Dallas to reduce the population and improve public safety.
Communities Foundation of Texas, Rees-Jones Foundation and The Dallas Foundation have together provided nearly $13.5 million to fund an “aggressive spay/neuter initiative to drastically reduce the number of loose dogs across southern Dallas.” The funding will provide approximately 46,000 free surgeries for dogs per year for the next three years, according to a press release.
Stray dogs have plagued southern Dallas for decades. The issue gained national attention in May 2016 after Antoinette Brown was mauled to death by a pack of dogs. The attack followed years of complaints from residents, and a consultant group recently estimated 8,700 loose dogs roam the streets in the southern part of the city.
“We know that people can’t walk in their neighborhoods," says Monica Egert Smith, chief relationship officer with Communities Foundation of Texas. "They can’t walk their kids to school without carrying a stick or some type of golf club to defend themselves”
As a result of Brown’s death, a Boston Consulting Group was commissioned to study stray dogs and provide recommendations to the city. According to the group, about 15 percent of dogs in southern Dallas are spayed or neutered; in North Dallas, it’s 80 percent.
In an August 2016 report, the group outlined seven recommendations for the city, including euthanizing only the sickest animals and providing more low-cost spay-and-neuter surgeries in southern Dallas.
Highlights from Boston Consulting Group's study
- The number of reported bites from dogs that are loose but have owners increased 23 percent annually since 2013.
- Animal service officers spend a majority of time being reactive. They spend about 80 percent of their day responding to 311 calls – collecting animals and issuing citations.
- While Dallas Animal Services is issuing more citations for stray dogs, the report finds defendants didn’t respond to 44 percent of the citations.
- There are big disparities between North and South Dallas. The group counted about 8,700 loose dogs in southern Dallas. Researchers couldn’t accurately predict the number of strays in northern Dallas because they found so few stray dogs.
- Spay and neuter rates also varied. About 80 percent of dogs in northern Dallas are fixed, while 85 percent of dogs in southern Dallas are intact.
Communities Foundation of Texas’ $3-million grant is set to support the SPCA of Texas’ Community Pet Program, which aims to complete 30,000 free spay/neuter surgeries in 11 targeted zip codes in the initiative’s first 18 months.
The Rees-Jones Foundation and The Dallas Foundation grants will be used to fund community outreach, education, mobile clinics and free surgeries provided by the SPCA of Texas, Spay Neuter Network and Operation Kindness.
KERA coverage of southern Dallas’ stray dog problem
- In her spare time, Marina Tarashevska drives through southeast Dallas in her Chevy Tahoe caring for stray dogs.
- Tarashevska has been helping Dallas’ most vulnerable animals since 2014.
- Peter Brodsky is the chair of the Dallas Animal Advisory Commission. He talks about how the city’s tackling the problem.
KERA's Krystina Martinez contributed to this report.
Note: Peter Brodsky is a member of KERA's Board of Directors. The Communities Foundation and Dallas Foundation are funders of KERA.