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Dallas Leaders Discuss ‘Fixing’ Loose Dog Problem

By Vanessa Brown | CBSDFW.COM

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Action is being taken on Tuesday to curb the loose dog problem in Dallas. City officials met at Dallas City Hall to nail down a plan. Several areas of the city are struggling with dogs, but the issue has been especially bad on the south side of the Trinity River.

In some instances, the loose dog problem has even turned deadly. Antoinette Brown was attacked and killed by a pack of dogs in south Dallas back in May. The 52-year-old grandmother was bitten more than 100 times. Her tragic story has put a face to a problem that has been plaguing many others.

Left alone, Mayor Mike Rawlings stated that the problem will only get worse. “The dog population will grow at 15 percent with no intervention,” Rawlings explained. “So, not only the problem that we have now, but on an annual rate, this problem will get significantly worse.”

A recent report gave a number of recommendations for how Dallas officials could address the issue, such as providing 46,000 low-cost spay and neuter surgeries in south Dallas each year for the next three years. But the price tag on that could be nearly $21 million total.

There are about 350,000 dogs in Dallas, and about 8,700 of them are running free on the streets. “A lot of low-income people stay in south Dallas, and a lot of people have dogs for protection,” resident Jackie Humphrey said. “It would be good if the city would help them.”

One of the consultants behind the city’s report stated that “intact” dogs — those which have not been spayed or neutered — are more likely to bite. On a nationwide scale, some 75 percent of dog bites are attributed to “intact” male dogs. And an estimated 85 percent of dogs in south Dallas are “intact,” more aggressive and more likely to roam.

So, fixing the dogs could be the best way to fix the problem. Dallas city manager A.C. Gonzalez, however, said that the current budget only allows for $1.1 million per year to address this issue, well short of the goal. The city does not plan to ask taxpayers to fund all of the cost.

Concerned citizens at Dallas City Hall on Tuesday booed and clapped as officials discussed the issue. “We hope the city finally understands the gravity of this problem and does something about it,” said Oak Cliff resident Cynthia Dooley. “We are here to support the solution for our city.”

Gonzalez hopes to have a final recommendation ready to go in a few weeks, but wants to know where the city is getting money to fund any plans. Officials are also hoping to hear from local animal rescue groups before moving forward on this issue. They might also be able to help with some of the cost.

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