Dallas Companion Animal Project Plan Gets Approval to Make Dallas a No-kill Community
The City of Dallas now has an official plan to become a no-kill community and end the needless euthanasia of shelter dogs and cats.
Monday, Jan. 23, the Quality of Life and Government Services Committee of the Dallas City Council unanimously voted to support the proposal presented by the Dallas Companion Animal Project (Dallas CAP), the City’s task force assigned with creating a plan. The plan was presented to the Quality of Life Committee after being unanimously approved by the Animal Shelter Commission on Jan. 12.
Members of the Dallas CAP task force, all leaders in Dallas’ animal welfare community, were appointed in July 2011. The task force spent the last five months researching other no-kill communities around the country and identifying existing and potential resources in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They created a website (www.DallasCompanionAnimalProject.com) and Facebook page, solicited public input, reviewed hundreds of suggestions, and identified hundreds of successful programs and initiatives.
The task force developed a plan that (1) encompasses programs and initiatives already in place and identifies resources that are still needed, (2) is customized to serve the needs of Dallas and its citizens, and (3) focuses predominantly on the private sector.
The final plan includes six major initiatives:
- Awareness and Education – Develop an aggressive public awareness campaign with support, in part, from Dallas’ world-class business, sports and entertainment industries and seeking educational program support from local, regional and national education resources.
- Feral and Community Cats – Continue to grow the partnership with local cat-advocacy groups
- High-volume Free and Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Programs – Gain additional community support of free and low-cost spay/neuter programs; promote existing spay/neuter programs of groups like the Metroplex Animal Coalition, SPCA of Texas and others, as well as participating veterinarians; and work with the Big Fix for Big D, a three-year. $3 million initiative undertaken by the Metroplex Animal Coalition, SPCA of Texas and the Kaufman County Animal Awareness Project (or KCAAP).
- Pet Owner Outreach –Help people keep their pets and reduce the number of animals coming into Dallas Animal Services by developing preemptive, volunteer-driven programs and services, such as a pet behavior hotline and counseling, free or low-cost emergency veterinary care, pet-friendly housing options, pet food banks, etc.
- Pet Placement Support (Adoption and Rescue) – Make full use of existing animal advocacy partners and seek new ones; explore satellite adoption opportunities like the nationally successful PetSmart Charities© Adoption Centers–which has already set up two locations for the City of Fort Worth Animal Services–as well as independent ventures like Utah’s Furburbia in a local shopping mall; and undertake a new large-scale, community-based, volunteer foster program for dogs and cats awaiting adoption.
- Fundraising – Work with the SPCA of Texas and other local animal-welfare groups to obtain a Maddie’s Fund ® Community Collaborative grant, and continue reaching out to local donors and foundations.
“Funding will be one of the keys to our success,” said Rebecca Poling, Dallas CAP chair, “but the potential for a Maddie’s Fund ® Community Collaborative grant is enormous.” Current Maddie’s Fund ® programs include $5 million over five years for Erie County, NY; $5 million over seven years for Mobile, AL; and $26 million over seven years for New York City.
“We’ll also need continued community support in creating grass-roots awareness and raising community standards and expectations,” added Poling. “This is a major component of the plan and will also be an important key to our success.”
The next steps for the task force are to develop a detailed one-year business plan and a multi-year strategic plan; finish prioritizing initiatives; begin implementing programs; and identify the costs and funding options. In years two through four, Dallas CAP will continue to implement, expand and build momentum. And in year five, if all of the major initiatives have been successfully implemented, the City of Dallas could be one of the largest no-kill communities in the country.