On October 4, WFAA published the story, “Dallas Animal Services at 161% capacity, the worst it’s been in 3+ years.” On the same day, The Dallas Morning News published “Dallas Animal Services is over capacity in unusual fall surge, seeks short-term fosters.” The news stories share a sad glimpse into the current capacity challenges of Dallas Animal Services (DAS) and promote adoption from the shelter as a solution.
While this may seem like a local issue, DAS is not alone. According to Shelter Animals Count, an organization that manages The National Database of animal sheltering statistics, shelters across the country are in “crisis mode” with government-run shelters being impacted the most. Dog intakes across the country are the highest they’ve been in 4 years, while dog adoptions have essentially flatlined. At the same time, dog transfers between organizations have decreased from 17% before that pandemic to just 11% so far in 2023.
All of this has led to shelters filling up beyond capacity and an increase in dog euthanasia. As the past Director of Dallas Animal Services and current CEO of Operation Kindness, I know how easily shelters can become overcrowded. That’s why our teams at Operation Kindness work with Dallas Animal Services daily to alleviate overpopulation by offering transfer of DAS animals into our shelter.
Currently, Operation Kindness is the leading transfer partner to Dallas Animal Services, transferring 97 animals from DAS care into our shelter in the past month alone. In the last 12 months, we’ve transferred 852 animals out of DAS. Thinking bigger than just what we can do, we also partner with Rockwall Pets, Dallas Pets Alive and Heart & Bones Rescue to help DAS keep their population down by transferring into the care of our programs. Together, we have accounted for nearly 50% of all dogs and cats transferred from DAS since October 1, 2022. Once these animals are in our doors, they are given lifesaving medical treatments and special care before we find them a loving new home. More transfers help improve the DAS live outcomes and create space in the Dallas shelter to allow them to help more animals from the public.
By strategically working together with the public and other animal welfare groups, we believe there is hope for the capacity challenges at DAS. History has shown that when the local animal welfare community supports DAS, more lives can be saved. Our shared passion for animal welfare and deliberate collaboration helps us eliminate redundancy, identify gaps, and fill them, creating a brighter future for Dallas’ pets.
The numbers at Dallas Animal Services show how important it is for those looking to add an animal to their family to consider adopting from a shelter, whether it’s DAS or one of its partners, like Operation Kindness. With community support and partners in action, I am confident we can help more dogs and cats in Dallas.
Ed Jamison, CEO