Sunday, May 2, 2010

An educated guess about DAS' lack of volunteers

Recently I pointed out that Dallas Animal Services (DAS) seems oddly short of volunteers (according to Kent Robertson, DAS only has either 15 or 50 - the public gallery couldn't hear what he said during the recent Animal Shelter Commission meeting).

Since more volunteers + more adoptions = less euthanasia, this area begs improvement. Volunteers would also help to socialize the fearful animals, and could foster the animals in need of special care so they wouldn't be euthanized.

Shelters that have significantly lowered their euthanasia rates in a short period of time mentioned the importance of volunteer assistance and community involvement.

Nathan Winograd describes the importance of volunteers here:

Volunteers are a dedicated “army of compassion” and the backbone of a successful No Kill effort. There is never enough staff, never enough dollars to hire more staff, and always more needs than paid human resources. That is where volunteers make the difference between success and failure and, for the animals, life and death.

One recent comment published here described DAS' volunteer application in negative terms. After taking a look at it - click here for a link - I tend to agree. The only small improvement is that it's down to six pages. It used to be 10 pages.

Why would anyone want to volunteer after being put through this idiot's dialogue of questions and answers? Certainly the legalese has to be there, whether we like it or not. But why interrogate people as if they're criminals? It's yet another depressing example of how Those In Charge view the general public.

Conversely, the few DFW area shelters and rescue groups who welcome community service volunteers have mentioned that they're some of the most reliable volunteers they've ever had. It's simple, really - if they don't do the hours the judge has assigned them, they're in trouble. But DAS is not on the Volunteer Center's list.

Maybe they should climb down off their pedestal and consider it. The animals would appreciate it.


PJBoosinger said...

First block on the first page of the volunteer application has far more than the 5 points necessary to effect identity theft. Let me guess, these all sit in an unlocked file cabinet in the shelter. ;)

Consent for criminal background check? Seriously???

Rosebud said...

Yeah, and in an earlier response, I mentioned that you had to fill out a listing of every pet you had owned, how long it lived, how it died, if you had ever surrendered one, and why, if it was euthanized... In 2008, we had one of the folks from our group opposing the ordinance volunteer to help at the shelter. When she got the application, she called me and said, "no way"...and who could blame her? So I see they've reduced some of the "pet" information they were requiring. But FP is are assumed to be guilty until they can invade your privacy enough to satisfy themselves. And wonder why no one wants to jump through hoops to VOLUNTEER! And as we all know, even that is temporary...all you have to do is piss someone off, and they will make your life a living hell. Well, at least they are consistent...they don't treat people any better than the animals they are charged with caring for.