To read and/or download a PDF of the Animal Shelter Commission minutes for 2009, click here.
I'm afraid it's not much of an improvement over the 2008 minutes. There seems to be a lot of discussions about trivialities, and little discussion of important stuff. One member seems absolutely obsessed with Intact Animal Permits-a miniscule number.
This particuarly bothered me: the Commission admitted that one local judge automatically rules that all animals seized in cruelty cases be "humanely destroyed". (See Page 24.) This happens before the person or persons accused of cruelty are found guilty or innocent. But this barely earned more than a suggestion that the judge be educated about animal cruelty and options.
Also, although the director of Texas Pawprints was acquitted of misdemeanor animal cruelty charges in 2008 - the jury came back with an acquittal in literally nine minutes - she is still on the Shelter Commission Agenda over a year later (Page 65 of this PDF). How many members of this commission are in on this vendetta?
Other factors are equally disturbing. For example, there isn't a single useful discussion about lowering the euthanasia rate at Dallas Animal Services (DAS), which is still hovering around 80%. There's also a discussion about a member of the public who went to DAS in the hopes of adopting a dog, yet left without adopting as she and her friends found the "overall condition of the shelter and the lack of staff to be very disturbing".
Other local shelters - Carrollton and Plano - have made some impressive reductions in their euthanasia numbers. Why can't they manage this at DAS? Barely 20% of the animals who end up at DAS survive.
One suggestion: The members of the Animal Shelter Commission should be required to spend a minimum number of hours per month at the DAS as volunteers. Perhaps if they had to assist with daily euthanasia, their thoughts would be more sharply focused on reducing the numbers of animals killed.