According to a recent study published on the Dallas Morning News website, there are approximately 9,000 dogs roaming free in the south of the city. While some of those are thought to be strays, others will no doubt have homes to return to – raising the important question of why they're out alone. Stray dogs have long plagued Dallas' poorest neighborhoods, but the issue seems to be intensifying. Reports of dog bites have increased by 15% since 2013, with a woman killed by a pack of dogs in May of this year, and two boys aged thirteen and eleven years attacked and injured during separate incidents earlier this summer.
Dallas Animal Commission Head Peter Brodsky said: "The situation has gotten worse. We finally have the ability to say this is not just an anecdote. This is really a problem." Brodsky continued: "If the bites are up because the dog problem is bigger, that, to me, is the definition of the problem getting worse." The Commission funded the census, which is thought to be the first of its kind.
The figures for Southern Dallas are stark, but those in the north are markedly different; so few dogs were found roaming free that researchers struggled to estimate how many they'd seen wandering the streets. Indeed, during the taking of the census, some 136 loose dogs were spotted in various neighborhoods, yet only one of those was found in the north. Meanwhile, it has been approximated that 80% of dogs in Northern Dallas are spayed or neutered, and yet 85% are intact in the south. How can one city have such differing statistics, and what can be done about the South's dog problem?
We await the researchers' recommendations when they're presented to the City Council, but in the meantime, please do let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.