On May 2, 2016, a pack of roaming dogs mauled a woman to death in South Dallas. A week later, The Dallas Morning News broke a story that neighbors had reported the dogs and asked police to do something as many as eleven times over three years. 

They called to report attacks as they happened. They called to report the dogs roaming freely outside. And they called to report attacks after the fact – all from animals living at the same address. In many cases, the owners would euthanize or turn in their dogs, only to get more. The deadly attack in May was by as many as 7 dogs in total.

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In the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, the city has been forced to look inward. The police and animal services admit an obvious breakdown in communication. But it’s possible there are even more serious problems.

The Dallas City Council has taken up the issue, and they quickly found real dysfunction in the city’s animal control. As one local editorial headline read: “No one’s in charge because everyone’s in charge at Dallas Animal Services.”

The council also released a survey, with the goal to “better understand the Dallas community’s perspective on loose dogs and animal welfare in your neighborhood.” This follows a long period of comparatively low funding for animal services, despite pleas from council members of minority communities, including where the fatal attack took place in May.

Those council members and many other people in the community believe the only real solution is a comprehensive spay-and-neuter program, particularly in the poorer Dallas communities where 85% of dogs are not spayed or neutered and where there isn’t much support or acceptance of those procedures.

One other problem to address will be animal control’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to complaints. Many people in South Dallas appear to have lost hope in the system and now under-report problems because they don’t think they’ll be heard.

Dallas isn’t alone with its dog attacks. Only a few weeks after the fatal South Dallas mauling, a woman was killed by a pack of dogs in an Austin suburb, only a city away. And as a dog attack lawyer in Memphis, I see every day that Shelby County has a real problem with dangerous dogs as well.

Let’s hope Dallas and all of our cities with serious animal control problems are able to fix these issues quickly, before another tragedy occurs.

If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog attack here in Memphis, contact me today to discuss your situation asap. The conversation is free.