Monday, June 27, 2011

Shelter Commission meeting notes, part 1

The feedback from last Thursday's Animal Shelter Commission meeting has been considerably more optimistic than usual, due to the presence of the new shelter manager Jody Jones. Nobody has yet to find anything in Ms. Jones' background to be concerned about, and she is believed to practice the No Kill Equation as outlined by Nathan Winograd.

Of course, the Usual Suspects provided their usual contributions - although Joey "I'll get back to you" Zapata was thankfully absent and saved everyone some time and irritation.

The most-mentioned highlight of the meeting was provided during the final hour, when Commission member Rebecca Poling ( writer and professional committee-sitter) did an incredible 180-degree about face. Even though Nathan Winograd ate her lunch on Facebook a couple of months ago - click here to see those details - Rebecca was heard actually quoting Nathan during the meeting.

Of course she didn't get it 100% right. She also insisted on boring everyone by quoting from a Web site called No Harm, No Kill.

This Web site is downright weird: initially it appears to support the No-Kill Equation, but as you read through it, you eventually realize that it doesn't. When you hit the HSUS link, you know something's up.

But the site mentions the Richmond SPCA, a group that Jody Jones worked with, so it's obvious why Rebecca landed on it. It's a fast and easy way to suck up to the new shelter manager. And we're betting that Rebecca's hoping like hell that Jody doesn't notice that she published a shitload of fear-mongering crap online just a couple of months ago. (This is the same anti-CAPA fear-mongering crap to which Nathan Winograd took great exception.)

Overall, the No Harm No Kill site is a mess, but Rebecca still insisted on reading big chunks of it out loud while everyone else mentally drummed their fingers on the table.

When she got to the Five Freedoms (which date back decades, and originate from the UK), a new Shelter Committee member snapped "Why not six freedoms? Including freedom to life?"

I need to find out who that new Committee member is.

More later, including Skip Trimble's latest legal buck-passing and Jonnie England's continuing inability to accept that she ain't on the Commission this year.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Jody Jones: Dare we hope?

Although local media has picked up the news that Dallas Animal Services has a new shelter manager, not much has been said about her management style. However, this was brought up in detail at yesterday's Animal Shelter Commission Meeting. (More about this meeting later, as I sort through the notes kindly emailed to me.)

Fortunately, the news looks good. I spotted this press release online at

Please join us for the announcement of a nationally-significant award recognizing the achievements of the Richmond community in saving the life of every healthy, homeless animal in the City of Richmond since Jan. 1, 2006.

Schedule of speakers:

Robin Robertson Starr, chief executive officer, Richmond SPCA
Richard Avanzino, president, Maddie’s Fund
Mayor Dwight C. Jones, city of Richmond
Jody Jones, shelter manager, Richmond Animal Care & Control

Maddie’s Fund designed the Lifesaving Award to acknowledge the contributions of community coalitions such as the partnership between Richmond Animal Care & Control and the Richmond SPCA, which result in saving the lives of all healthy, homeless pets in the community and that are likely to sustain an adoption guarantee in the future. This recognition is for lifesaving work in the years of 2006 and 2007.

Statistics for the two shelters making up the coalition were submitted to Maddie’s Fund by the Richmond SPCA. Both organizations collect data for the animals in their care based on the Asilomar Accords, which provide for consistent reporting across agencies.

If you're wondering what the Asilomar Accords are, check them out here.

I can't help but wonder if everyone at DAS, City Hall and the Animal Shelter Commission will be able to accept and implement the Asilomar Accords. If they do, perhaps the vendettas we've seen in the past - which were always fueled by a DAS and/or Shelter Commission member - will cease. It would be good for the animals, no?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Give a pit a break!

(To those who have emailed me asking for news of Jody Jones, the new DAS manager: the reason I've not posted anything about her is that she's managing to keep a very low profile. Considering the mess she inherited, I don't blame her.)

However, while we wait for the next Animal Shelter Commission meeting and perhaps an appearance from Ms. Jones, we can still rely on the old guard to make us wonder.

Recently I switched my already-spoiled cat Natasha to the Blue Buffalo brand of cat food. While I don't mind the price, I prefer to buy the larger sized bag so my pet-sitter won't have to go out and find it when I'm out of town. Petsmart is the only place near my condo that sells this brand consistently and in larger bags.

Earlier today I was picking up some cat food at the Petsmart on Greenville Avenue just north of Lovers Lane and Central Market. As usual I stopped by the adoption center to see who the SPCA had taken in recently.

In the past, the SPCA often didn't bother to keep this adoption center at capacity, but these days they seem to be trying harder.

At about this time, I noticed a smallish pit bull being picked up from the Petsmart boarding area next to the adoption center. The volunteers for a rescue group that had set up mobile adoptions in the aisle nearby were petting the dog and making a general fuss over her. She was enjoying the attention and so was her owner.

Suddenly I saw a short woman half-drag the dog away, hissing "Not her!". The dog's owner looked confused but didn't protest. The rescue group volunteers shrugged. The hissing woman continued out the door, with the pit on a leash and the sheepish owner not far behind.

The dog looked sad. I think she'd been enjoying the petting.

The whole incident was really strange. I mean, who wouldn't want their dog to be admired? And the dog had no signs of mange or anything similar, so there shouldn't have been any reason for anyone not to pet her.

Suddenly I recognized the "Not her" woman. It was Rebecca Kornblum from the Dallas Animal Shelter Commission. I've mentioned her before on this blog; she always appears to be unhappy about something or another. I have yet to ever see her smile during a Commission meeting.

I'm still trying to figure out the meaning of the "Not her!" remark. Does anyone care to guess?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mayor Pre Tend

Since the current mayoral race is/was pretty boring, I thought it would be a convenient time to reflect on what the Dallas Observer's Jim Schutz wittily described as The Reign of Dwayne:

Saying Goodbye to Dwaine Caraway, the Mayor of our Dreams

Here's hoping the next guy is just as bold and bumbling.

I particularly enjoyed this excerpt:

Take his recent ethics reform push. It's been talked to death, but the basic concept is so wonderfully—how to put it?—so wonderfully Caraway.

With no public debate, he introduced a measure that he said would repair a grievous wrong perpetrated on citizens by an earlier ethics law. That law prohibited a citizen from giving council members money right after a council vote on something of importance to that citizen.

Caraway said the law was preventing a lot of people who wanted to give the council members money from doing so. The poor things. Wads of money in their hands and nobody to grease with it.

It's not unrelated to the poker house deal. The underlying principle is the same in both.

Hey, that's my money.

Hey, that's my poker house.

But again—and this is the more important part—it worked. The council voted unanimously to adopt the Mayor Dwaine Caraway Ethics Reform Ordinance.

Last but not least, just in case you missed these, here is a rarely-seen photograph of Dwayne doing what he does best - embarrass the crap out of himself, and the citizens of Dallas. I suppose the city was running short of dog-torturing sociopath football players on this occasion: