Euthanasia Rates Rise at Dallas Animal Services


Dogs in kennels at the Dallas animal shelter | Image by FOX 4

Dallas Animal Services have seen an 86% spike in euthanasia for the fiscal year compared to last year, causing worries to mount as an uptick in dog bites and staffing shortages plaguing the department.

“I keep reading on Facebook and Nextdoor that 311 calls are not being answered by Animal Control. It is a big issue,” said one commissioner at an Animal Advisory Commission meeting on Thursday.

“We are working on that,” explained DAS Interim Assistant Director Paul Ramon speaking to Fox 4. “Because of the vacancies we only have 3 to 4 [Animal Services Officers] for the city. We have to focus on calls with injuries first.”

The number of loose dogs that have been captured has fallen drastically over the past several years, and so far, only 7,900 dogs have been taken in the 2022 fiscal year compared to 20,300 dogs in 2019.

At the same time, dog bites have reached an all-time high which the city has not seen in five years. Roughly 805 instances have been reported in FY2022 compared to 568 last year.

Animal advocates will use certain key figures to measure and judge an animal shelter’s performance. One of the primary key figures used is the live release rate, the number of dogs either returned to their owner, adopted, or fostered.

In 2020 Dallas achieved a 93% live-release rate, which earned the status called a no-kill shelter.

But the number dropped down to 82% in 2022, with 3,294 animals euthanized, representing an 86% jump compared to the previous year.

Animal advocates have shared criticism of the new director Melissa Webber. Still, the former director, Ed Jamison, who now works for Operation Kindness, defended Webber’s performance.

“She knows what she is doing. She has been doing this a long time. Coming out of COVID and a pandemic, how she handled staffing. The fact she was able to get bonuses for officer performance, that is huge.” Jamison said. “She probably doesn’t get the credit she deserves.”

Vacancies for Animal Service Officers were 66% in August but are now down to 25%. According to reports.

When asked about the cause of the increase in euthanasia, Webber suggested that there are several contributing factors, including an increase in animal distemper and a lack of capacity.

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4 months ago

How do they Euthanize them? Humanely or gassed in a group???

4 months ago

“A lack of capacity”? Shame on you for killing animals!

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen
4 months ago

Any bonuses should be used to benefit the shelter and animals – expansion or food and beds. Extra money should used to benefit the animals period, Expanding would reduce animals euthanized.