Waiting … and Waiting … for Animal Services Report

Almost a year’s gone by since it was announced that the Humane Society of the United States would conduct and submit to the city a thorough review of Dallas’ problem-riddled animal shelter and animal services department. And, there’s no report yet. Joey Zapata, the city’s code compliance director, said he expected the HSUS review to be submitted today, after earlier-forecast dates (Sept. 1, then mid-September, then early October, according to insiders) came and went. But, don’t hold your breath, Mr. Zapata. The HSUS says it won’t be turning in the report today, either.

So, what’s the big holdup?

Carolyn Machowski, shelter services manager for the HSUS, says that when the original delivery date was estimated, “neither myself nor the consultants anticipated the size and scope of this evaluation…

“Because of recent events and changes in the leadership at DAS,” she says, “it has become even more important that the report be a comprehensive product that provides both specific remedies for on-going problems and suggestions for future improvement.”

It’s taking so long, Zapata says, because the HSUS folks are trying to be as thorough as possible. Once he gets their findings, Zapata anticipates taking another 30 days to review and digest it all before placing the report on the city council agenda for public discussion.

Meantime, an Oct. 25 briefing on the city’s animal control operations for the council’s Quality of Life Committee was abruptly canceled. And Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert–who’s suggested animal services might be best served by a public/quasi-private management arrangement–says he’s frustrated that things are taking so long.

“Oh yeah,” Leppert says. “It’s frustrating on a lot of different levels. We just want to get it to a point” where problems in the animal services department can be resolved.

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