Take Me Home Pet Rescue (TMHPR) was originally founded in 2008 with the sole purpose to assist the City of Richardson Animal Shelter. I have served as Commissioner since this time and have seen many improvements take place including vaccinating dogs and cats on intake, heartworm testing all adult dogs, the completion of an onsite spay/neuter clinic with an onsite veterinarian and the building of a fabulous much needed dog park within the City limits. In 2014 TMHPR began to focus on the South Dallas dog crisis. It is my opinion that a satellite shelter/community center local to the problem is needed.
TMHPR’s primary focus is on Dowdy Ferry (south of Highway 20), an area known as a dumping ground for live, abused, tortured and dead dogs. In March 2016 dog rescuers even found the body of murdered Marisol Espinosa.
The Summer Dog Count of 2016 (following the mauling death of Antoinette Brown in May) estimated 9,000 loose and/or stray dogs in southern Dallas. After rescuing almost 500 of these dogs off the streets, attending meetings with the City of Dallas and community activists at Paul Quinn College and other nonprofits including the SPCA, I feel I am knowledgeable about the dog problem and the serious need for a local area shelter.
In March 2017, TMHPR was selected to receive donations from pet food distributor, Chewy.com. About 20,000 pounds of food every week is shared with as many as 70 organizations on a rotating basis. Our outreach program also delivers the food to those in need in South Dallas. On June 4, while in route to bring pet food to the Dowdy Ferry area, my group of volunteers found a very large underweight Great Pyrenees, still alive, whose contorted body was laying on the side of the road with a scared puppy hiding behind him. Witnesses driving by reported the pair had been seen for days darting traffic and trying to enter people's homes during the rain storms. It was assumed they had been dumped.
My first impulse was to call 911 who then referred me to 311 where a recording suggested I leave a message that would be returned by the “end of the NEXT business day”. Never had I felt so helpless knowing this huge dog was going to continue to suffer if we did not find help. We called another rescuer working the area who had just found a bagged shepherd family with their heads bashed in and dumped in the creek behind the bushes off Dowdy Ferry. She was distraught but rushed to help. The dog could not move his back legs. He was covered in mud and eyes were matted due to swarming flies and dehydration. But he was still alive enough to be concerned about the puppy.
We loaded the injured dog in to my truck and since there is no local veterinarian in the area drove to Hillside Veterinary Hospital on Mockingbird Lane. X-rays revealed multiple lumbar fractures. He was paralyzed from the hips down so the difficult decision was made to euthanize him. Sadly, he did have a microchip but it was never registered so we were unable to locate a potential owner. We named him Albus and the puppy, Hermoine. Hermonie is safe and living in a TMHPR foster home.
I am frustrated by this experience and the many that precede it. I, along with my comrades, have ideas to help this very poor area (and areas surrounding it) with their lack of resources. The people who live here need help. They cannot afford frequent trips to the shelter for every dog that is dumped near their home. The residents often do not have money for gas or a dependable vehicle to drive the animal across town. Many do not know how to manage a stray, injured, sick or possibly aggressive dog. The existing Dallas Animal Shelter is between 19 and 29 miles away, depending on if one wants to brave the downtown traffic.
My vision is something along the lines of a satellite shelter/community center in the area of the problem. This shelter would have the staff to accept emergency calls, educate the public on proper animal care and a veterinarian to provide medical care, vaccines, and spay/neuter. There would be a pet food/supply pantry and a small area to surrender strays or pets that can not be cared for by their owners. There would be compassion for the animals and the people as well as an alliance with other rescue organizations who want to help. We must unite, find the funds and start building a satellite shelter at the root of the problem. My recommendation is this shelter/community center be privately funded and run so that the City of Dallas can focus their attention on improvements of the current shelter. Regardless of how we look at the problem, something must be done to keep it from getting worse.
I am the President and founder of Take Me Home Pet Rescue. I am a wife of 25 years, a mother of three, and registered nurse and have served on the Richardson Shelter Advisory Commission for 8 years. I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.