Sunday, May 23, 2010

The last word on the HSUS shelter evaluations

While reviewing this year's Web coverage of the relationship between the HSUS and DAS, I found a link I'd bookmarked in Feb 2010 with details of these.

Here is an excerpt from the link from - click here to read the entire story:

HSUS conducted a similar consultation in 2001 of what was then Dallas Animal Control. That report concluded that the City's two animal shelters were obsolete, unwelcoming, and unsafe - for staff and animals alike, there was a lack of training for officers in the field, the adoption process was "woefully behind the times and in need of a complete overhaul", and the department as a whole was "a ship adrift". While many improvements have been made over the years, including a new state-of-the-art animal shelter and adoption center, increased staff training, and management experienced in animal welfare, concerns still exist within the public and the animal welfare community that there is room for improvement. The hope is that this assessment can shed some light on those issues.

The main reason I'm posting this is not because the HSUS got it 100% wrong back in 2001 - it's because Dallas Animal Services didn't take their advice. I don't know why DAS didn't respond to the results of the 2001 assessment. But eight years down the line, we have a new shelter but little else to show for it. (And wasn't that new shelter supposed to have an in-house spay/neuter clinic?)

For a few examples of DAS' rejection of the HSUS' 2001 findings, take a look at these topics discussed during recent Animal Shelter Commission meetings:

1. Lack of trained staff and officers, or what Kent Robertson describes as "training issues".
2. Public comments that described the current shelter's unwelcoming attitude and limited opening hours.
3. Animals at DAS being neglected to the point of death (see Gloria Blum's comments).

But perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the entire saga is that neither the HSUS nor DAS even mention lowering the euthanasia rate, which seems stuck at a depressingly high 78 to 80%. Why is killing adoptable animals still viewed as a fact of life when, over the past few years, other shelters have introduced some extremely successful initiatives that lowered their euthanasia rates by 30 to 80%?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just one more comment on the 'new state-of-the-art shelter' that was finally built. Refresh my memory - didn't it take TWO runs at the ballot box, both of which passed but only one that actually saw anything built? And secondly, seems to me that there were a lot of problems with the new building when it did finish....standing water (and other things), drains that didn't work, etc.... Anyone know if they finally got the problems fixed?