Update on Dallas Animal Services

There are currently 30 “urgent” positions open at Dallas Animal Services (DAS) and they’ve been vacant for quite awhile.

Those vacancies include a lead veterinarian, 13 animal services officers, nine customer service reps, and two shelter and field assistant managers.

In August 2011, DAS laid off 53 workers and replaced them with temporary workers. Many people frown upon sticking it to your workforce in this manner and I would imagine it gives would-be applicants a sense of instability. In addition, the city of Dallas does not provide rabies or tetanus vaccinations to its animal control workers in the field. And to top it all off, the place kills 3 out of every 4 pets who come through its doors.

What do you say – wanna apply?

The city has just 2 cruelty investigators and 1 of them has been out on medical leave for the past 2 weeks. This leaves one investigator for the entire city of Dallas (population, 1.2 million). The city put out a request for bids in order to outsource cruelty investigations but only one agency placed a bid – and no one has talked to them yet.

Jonnie England, a Dallas Animal Shelter Commission member, and Jody Jones, DAS manager, had an exchange about “missing” pets at the pound at the commission meeting this week:

England was also concerned about the rate of animals “disappearing from their cages” at the shelter, i.e. being stolen. She asked if the temporary workers had something to do with that. Nope, Jones said, it’s everybody else.

“Citizens continue to be our number one challenge,” where animal theft is concerned, she told the commission.

Really?  Cause I mean – how do you know?  If you have security camera footage or eyewitnesses for the theft of every “missing” pet at the pound by citizens, why hasn’t any action been taken to prosecute the offenders?  I don’t know how many animals go “missing” from DAS but if it’s more than say, one a year, I’d think the city would want to get that issue under control right away.  (I’m assuming these are pets who have actually been stolen and not just left to die in the pound’s walls or whatever.)

In spite of all this fail, DAS issued a cheery 16 page briefing to council members this week.  After wading through some historical fluff, you get to “New Initiatives” on page 13.  Number one on the list:

Implemented team building committees and activities to improve staff morale and training

Team building.  They have a “team” of temporary workers who are suspected of stealing pets and vacant positions which no one wants, even in this economy.  They’re killing 3 out of every 4 pets in their care.  Getting a team building committee off the ground is number one on their to-do list.  I’m not a labor relations guru but I think in order to have team building activities to improve morale, you actually need a team first.  Then you have to stop killing the pets you’re supposed to be returning to their owners and adopting to new homes.  I imagine if you do that, you’ll find that in short order, morale will improve.

6 thoughts on “Update on Dallas Animal Services

  1. How can so many pets come up missing from shelters? Am I missing something? It reminds me of MAS! If the pets missing are mostly pit bull type dogs-I bet they are being sold and used for fighting!

    If everybody else is stealing the animals-it must be the public and/or rescues. I have never been to this shelter but most shelters I have been at, it would be dificult to walk out with an animal larger than one could stick under your coat or in a bag. It sounds like incompetence to me and it starts at the top! Are the temporary employees adequately being screened?

    I worked at a company several years ago that hired a lot of temporary employees through agencies and it turned out almost all of them were illegals and someone in the HR dept. knew about it. One was supposed to have a 5 year background check and that was not done for these employees. Nothing surprises me!

  2. You can also use temp employees to give a pool to choose from for permanent hire. You have a hard time predicting how someone will work out in a labor intensive job. And someone that needs a job would say they enjoy working around animals even if they did not so you don’t want to be on the hook having to fire a city employee. With a temp you just tell the agency to send another. It is in the best interest of the temp agency to send a worker who will fit the job well because there are more than one temp agencies to choose from.

    1. But that’s not what happened here. They laid off dozens of staff members and replaced them w/temps. Companies do this to avoid paying benefits to workers.

  3. I hope it is a house cleaning being done by a new director like Rob says. New people can help bring in the open minds needed for change.

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