Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A long, strange, ugly vendetta, courtesy of Dallas Animal Services

Vendettas are never pretty. This one, carried out by Dallas Animal Services and certain members of city's Animal Shelter Commission, has been going on for years. It sank to a new low earlier this week, Monday March 1st.

Together with Code Compliance, Dallas Animal Services effectively closed the shelter building maintained by Texas Pawprints, a small 501C3 rescue group specializing in "special needs" cats and kittens.

Dallas Animal Services has inspected the Pawprints shelter on no less than seven different occasions. The reason always given by DAS for all the visits/inspections was "anonymous complaints" - something that is currently plaguing at least one other local rescue, Companion Animal Network.

Pawprints never received a single ticket or citation. Yet, after five years, DAS decided to hand things over to Code Compliance, who accused Pawprints of not having the right permit for their building - even though the city's Appraisal Office has it listed as commercial, not residential. But the Notice of Violation remarks say specifically to "discontinue operating a business out of a residence".

I'll post a scan of the Notice in a day or two. In the meantime, here's a screen shot from www.dallascad.org of the shelter building's information:
Does the word "commercial" look anything like the word "residential"? Will someone call Inspector Hamilton at Code Compliance (the inspector who visited Pawprints and issued the Notice of Violation on Monday) and explain the difference?

Also, during the Monday visit by Code Compliance, several DAS inspectors showed up at the building armed with catchpoles. They said they were only there because they were "doing a sweep of the neighborhood". If that doesn't raise the bullshit flag, nothing does.

If you're worried about DAS seizing and killing more animals, as is their habit - this was discussed at last week's Animal Shelter Commission meeting by Bonnie Mathias, as all 118 cats recently removed from a hoarder's house were killed by DAS - Pawprints' attorney advised the group to move the cats from the building before the Monday meeting with Code Compliance. Which they did. DAS effectively raided an empty building Monday.

Bad news for the purveyors of the vendetta, I suppose, but good news for the cats under Pawprints' care.

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