New Dallas Animal Services Deputy Chief Has Big Plans for Population Control

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DALLAS -- A week ago, many of us got our introduction to Deputy Police Chief Rob Sherwin.

He was viewed as the savior to our well documented Dallas dog dilemma when he was named the new leader of Dallas Animal Services. Monday, he got down to business at the city council's Quality of Life meeting, laying out the blueprints to protect both the public and the Pugs, Pits, and Poms in our communities. For Sherwin, it all starts with population control.

"46,000 free spay and neuter surgeries each year for three years,” he said, explaining their approach.

That’s the goal. A snip-snip to 126 dogs per day every day for three years!

That’s not all either. They plan on taking in 7,000 more loose dogs at DAS, and they’re hoping their friends will help.

"We have not fully engaged our rescue groups and transfer partners, and I think in the past we’ve made it difficult for them to get animals out.”

That certainly seems like a plausible approach considering DAS lists more than 110 transfer partners on its website.

What's the plan for actually bringing in so many more animals in the first place? Sherwin wants to assemble a team of 10 animal service officers who will operate much like Dallas Police officers do. They'll train for their post, write precise reports of how their shift went, and if problems arise with someone he or she will be taken off the street and forced into more training. Sherwin also hopes this improved record keeping will further help DAS identify the worst problem areas, help them plan for the future, and allow the public access to their operations in order to keep them accountable.

Sherwin also hopes this improved record keeping will further help DAS identify the worst problem areas, help them plan for the future, and allow the public access to their operations in order to keep them accountable.

Sherwin also wants to do a better job marketing these bachelor Bulldogs and bachelorette Bichons.

"Almost every time you feature an animal, especially in a video, that animal is adopted,” he said. "Obviously we need a lot more videos and a lot better pictures and a lot more information to give to the public so we can get a positive outcome.”

Now that’s a concept we can support! Our Ruff Life stories have been doing that for awhile now with Dallas Pets Alive! using mostly dogs that came through the DAS system.

With all of this as part of the plan, change is definitely coming, but as Councilman Mark Clayton reminded everyone, the true work is still to come.

“You've been assigned a really crappy job,” he said to Sherwin. "Under your watch, you’re going to have to kill more animals until we get this thing to where the public wants it to be, no matter what that measurement is. We got this presentation, but now we need to not just go to the next project. We need to have the political spine to actually really reach out."

Clayton pushed Sherwin on how many more dogs would face euthanasia because of the plan to bring in 7,000 more each year. Chief Sherwin said that number is likely to rise from 8,000 to 12,000 dogs who die in the shelter. He's optimistic, though, that the number will go down through the spay/neuter program and through a healthier relationship with their transfer partners.