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Saving 90 percent in Dallas

Dallas Animal Services takes in more than 30,000 animals each year — making it one of the largest municipal shelters in the nation. While many people might be intimidated by such a large volume of animals, the director and staff at Dallas Animal Services (DAS) continue to push for lifesaving success.

DAS’s shelter director, Ed Jamison, was hired in October of 2017. Since that time, Ed has built an incredible team at the shelter, one that is fully dedicated to saving the healthy and treatable animals who arrive there. And the results speak for themselves.

In 2018, DAS finished the year with a live release rate of 81.1 percent — its highest-ever live release rate, up 18.1 percentage points compared to 2016. Since 2016, adoptions have increased 45 percent, transfers to other organizations are up 29 percent, pets returned to their owners are up an amazing 239 percent, and the number of animals killed or euthanized decreased by 35 percent.

Last fall, Dallas launched a citywide campaign called Saving 90 that seeks to get the community’s buy-in and involvement in getting the community consistently above the 90 percent no-kill benchmark. And the hard work is paying off, with the shelter posting a save rate above 90 percent in both December 2018 and January 2019. While the shelter has had lifesaving success, they have done so while also meeting the city’s needs, with increased intake that comes from field officers working to limit the number of free-roaming dogs in the community.

Best Friends Animal Society is proud to be working with our smart and hard-working partners at DAS. We initially visited DAS shortly after Ed’s arrival in 2017. We provided a shelter assessment that highlighted many things the shelter was already doing well and focused on some areas where the shelter could improve.

In spring 2018, our mission advancement team, led by Scott Giacoppo, director of national shelter outreach, provided a field services assessment to give feedback to the shelter services team. Best Friends has also provided ongoing support through our shelter mentorship program, helping the shelter team ramp up their community volunteer program.

DAS also has amazing partners in the community. Last fall, Best Friends provided a grant to Rockwall Pets to help them purchase a larger transport vehicle. Last year, Rockwall Pets transferred more than 1,200 dogs and cats from DAS, making them one of the largest support agencies for DAS. The new transport vehicle will help them move even more pets from DAS. Best Friends has also provided a grant to Spay Neuter Network, which is helping DAS with its shelter-neuter-release program for community cats so they can be released back to their homes in the community.

Best Friends’ support, of course, is only one component of the lifesaving work being done in Dallas. Getting one of the largest shelters in the nation to no-kill is no small task, and it’s the hard work of the DAS team each and every day that is driving the daily impact. However, if we can help them overcome obstacles faster, we’re happy to help as we push toward achieving no-kill across the country by 2025.

We’re even further excited that the Best Friends National Conference is in Dallas (on July 25–27) and several of the DAS staff and partners will be featured during the conference. We will highlight their lifesaving work so that others can learn from their successes. It’s through collaborative partnerships with municipal organizations and their partners that, together, we will Save Them All.

Brent Toellner, senior director of national programs Brent Toellner
Senior director of national programs
Best Friends Animal Society