DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – David Hernandez lost his job.  Now he’s losing his companion, Mac.

“To have to give up my friend was really hard,” said Hernandez, while holding an empty carrier just outside of Dallas’ animal shelter.  “I tried other options, I tried to find someone to take him, and this was sort of a last resort, and it was really, really, tough to do.”

Hernandez is one of dozens of pet owners who this very day will deliver their family pets to the city’s shelter because they can no longer care for them, or simply no longer want them.

“Last year in the city of Dallas, we euthanized 20,000 animals.  That’s just an incredible number.  We have to put an end to that,” says Rebecca Poling.

Following the lead of cities like San Francisco, Austin, New York and Richmond, the City of Dallas has created an official task force, the Dallas Companion Animal Project (Dallas CAP), charged with developing a blueprint for ending the killing of adoptable animals.

“Our goal is to guide the community in identifying and increasing easily accessible programs that will allow us to stop the killing of healthy, treatable companion animals,” said Poling, chair of the task force and a member of the Animal Shelter Commission.

Poling says the Dallas Companion Animal Project will likely include a number of tactics — including aggressive programs encouraging owners to spay and neuter, education, training, financial assistance for owners like David who relinquish pets for economic reasons, and community-wide involvement.

“People drop off somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-100 animals every day at Dallas animal services,” Poling said.  “It’s just amazing, and I don’t think the community really realizes that.  If we can stop that, we’ve done 90% of the work right there.”

Community members interested in getting involved can find more information at www.DallasCompanionAnimalProject.org.