This interesting little story arrived in my e-mail earlier today, forwarded by a blog reader.
Some background first: There is a Web site called examiner.com that publishes a collection of news sites based in major cities. Rebecca Poling - a member of the Animal Shelter Commission - is editor of the Dallas Examiner's Animal Rescue section. I don't know if this is something she's paid for, but I took a look and she seems to post quite a bit.
She recently published an article about no-kill shelters, and ended it by erroneously claiming that Dallas only had two.
"Dog & Kitty City and Operation Kindness are the only "No-Kill" shelters in Dallas."
If you scroll down, there are a few comments. One commenter pointed out that there were more than two no-kill shelters in the DFW area, and mentioned a few of them, including Texas Pawprints. (New readers unfamiliar with Pawprints may want to check out my March postings.)
Seems Rebecca knows - or thinks she knows - all about the shelter. This is her reply, copied and pasted from the Comments section:
Regarding your comment about the Texas Pawprints shelter: I did not mention Texas Pawprints because I saw an article online earlier this week that says the City "effectively closed the shelter building maintained by Texas Pawprints". It explains the "Pawprints shelter building is zoned commercial." Animal shelters are only allowed in areas zoned AA (Agricultural) without a special permit which requires Residential Adjacency Review.
Goodness! If you click on the entry posted here on March 1st, you'll see that the online article she's referring to is ... the March 1st posting of this blog.
It gets better.
Since I deal with zoning now and again at work - although not nearly as much as I used to - I decided to look up the DFW Humane Society of Irving shelter at dallascad.org, which is the Dallas Central Appraisal District Web site . Guess what - the shelter is zoned Commercial. I then searched for Dallas Animal Services and it's zoned Commercial as well. Furthermore, you won't find anything about Agricultural zoning at dallascad.org.
To top it all off, keep in mind that Dallas Animal Services found the Pawprints shelter irresistible - that is, when they could remember where it was. They dropped by at least seven times in two years, but it never once occurred to them to raise any zoning issues.
Only when they failed to manage to issue a single cruelty citation did they pass the buck to Code Compliance, who finally dropped by to scream "Zoned Residential! Off with their heads!"
And they couldn't even get that right.
I wonder who put Code Compliance up to this? I really can't see anyone in that department coming into work and thinking "Hey, let's go hassle a shelter that we've never received a legitimate complaint about." They have more fun hassling builders, anyway. It pays better.