Over the past couple of years, rescue volunteers who foster animals in their own homes are becoming increasingly nervous. This is because the 2008 changes in the City Code required them to register with the city, especially if their total number of animals in their homes ever exceeded the new limits. And if you ever foster one dog or cat with a litter of babies, chances are you're over the limit.
The Dallas Animal Advocates' blog sure makes the foster registration requirement sound like a nice deal, doesn't it? I've copied and pasted part of a 2008 blog entry here:
Second, foster families who work with local animal welfare organizations can also register with Dallas Animal Services so you can continue your life-saving work. Foster exemption applications will be considered individually so that we make sure we’re not exempting actual hoarders. And by allowing the director of DAS to consider each foster request individually, we’ve given them the ability to set the limit high for those good, experienced fosters that can handle a lot of animals. Details on this process soon also!
Here's the catch - or catches.
Anyone who registers as a foster will be eyeballed by the director* first, and also agrees to unannounced inspections. Think about it ... what if you've been at work all day, you have six foster cats, and DAS decides to drop by five minutes after you arrive home - before you can clean the litter boxes and check on food and water. If you don't have friends in low places, you run the risk of your fosters being seized and killed because of a stinky litter box or two, or for any other reason - no matter what their state of health. You won't have a chance to appeal the seizure for months, long after your fosters have all been killed by DAS. So much for your "life-saving work".
If you think I'm exaggerating, please take a look at the Commission minutes for 2008 and 2009, and the comments published within this blog.
* Who's the director? According to the City Code, it's: (14) DIRECTOR means the director of the department designated by the city manager to perform the duties assigned in this chapter or the director's authorized representative. So, the director in charge of upholding the city code can be just about anyone. And if you're familiar with City Hall to even a slight degree, you may have already realized the inherent danger of this.