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Dallas Animal Services Faces Capacity Crisis

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Dallas Animal Services (DAS) is facing a capacity crisis for their large dog population. According to a City of Dallas press release, they are not the only shelter facing the same issue. Several shelters in the region and across the state are struggling to find positive solutions for all of their dogs.

DAS Interim Director MeLissa Webber said, “With the help of the community, DAS has transformed into one of the leading lifesaver’s in the state, and our euthanasia rate is at an all-time low. But, despite this progress, we are still running out of big dog kennels in the shelter, and if we can’t find homes and fosters for some of these great dogs, we will have to make difficult euthanasia decisions.”

Part of the solution, Dallas Animal Services found, was to partner with Best Friends Animal Society. Both shelters will participate in the Texas Big Dog Campaign throughout October to encourage adopting or fostering shelter dogs over 40 pounds.

According to the press release, these are the most at-risk animals in shelters across the state.

“About 80% of our kennels are able to house medium and large dogs, and as of October 4, DAS was at 79% capacity,” Webber said. “As the City of Dallas’ municipal shelter, helping any Dallas pet in need, regardless of our current capacity and right now, large dogs are coming in faster than they’re finding positive outcomes. That’s why we need you! If you can adopt or foster a medium or large dog, you can save not only the life of that dog but also the life of the dog we bring into their kennel tomorrow!”

October is also National Adopt A Shelter Dog Month, and all pets at DAS will be free to adopt throughout the month. Best Friends Animal Society Regional Director, LeeAnn Shenefiel, said large dogs in shelters are stigmatized, but this campaign hopes to change that.

“Everything is bigger in Texas, including our dogs,” Shenefiel said. “While those of us who have big dogs know they too can be loveable lap dogs, great jogging partners, or a furry pillow during a TV binge, big dogs tend to have a longer length of stay at shelters, more often get overlooked by adopters and are more challenging to place in foster homes. The purpose of the ‘Texas Big Dog Campaign’ is to destigmatize large dogs, debunk myths and recruit more local adopters and fosters to save this vulnerable population.”

Fostering is considered just as important to the shelters, and DAS has long-term and short-term foster options. While foster families do not have to be Texans, they are asked to be within driving distance from DAS.

Shenefiel said, “We know that dogs thrive and are happier in homes rather than in a shelter environment – in a foster home, dogs are able to decompress and prepare for what life will be like in an adoptive home.”

Adoptable pets can be seen online or through in-person visits.

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