Why Change Has To Happen Now
Today a Dallas Police Officer tried to help an injured dog on I-30. He found the dog, made sure he stayed off the highway and waited for DAS. The dog had fractured hind legs and internal bleeding. The Animal Control Officer who responded put a catch pole on the dog and dragged him to the truck. Then he pulled the pole up to try to make the dog stand on his hind legs. The DPD Officer then stepped in and picked up the dog and helped get him in the truck. A police report was filed. A manager at DAS later said, when asked about the incident, that the dog was picked up at 12:48 p.m. and arrived at the shelter at 1:40 p.m. The vet determined the dog’s injuries were too bad to try and save the dog and immediately euthanized it. Photos were taken. The manager was told by the Animal Control Officer that the dog was in pain and trying to bite him and so the catch pole was the only way it could be handled.
The DPD officer reported late this afternoon that “[The] dog wasn’t aggressive until he [the ACO] tried to get it to stand on shattered legs and then pick it up by its rear fur..only then..and it didn’t try to bite him. It only growled and whimpered. He [the ACO] got that pole out immediately before even engaging the dog. It was a sweet tempered dog….if a supervisor would ever call me back I could personally tell them.”
This is a very good example of why Code Compliance shouldn’t be running Dallas Animal Services – because they don’t know right from wrong when it comes to basic animal handling and assessment.
The proper way to safely handle an injured dog is not always with a catch pole. Basic pet first aid courses from the Red Cross teach the public how to safely approach, capture and restrain a dog hit by a car. Participants are told that a muzzle should be placed carefully over the dog’s mouth and nose. If a muzzle is unavailable, the class is shown how to use a towel or even gauze to make a temporary muzzle. A slip-lead, which is carried by DAS field officers can also be used for this. The animal can then be safely lifted into a vehicle by placing one arm around his neck and the other around his belly (unless an abdominal injury is suspected in which case the arm should go behind the back legs). You can read all this and more in “Dog First Aid, Be Red Cross Ready, Safety Series Vol. 2″, pages 28 – 33. If the Red Cross is comfortable teaching the general public these techniques, why can’t our animal control officers use them as well?
Emails to the Director of Code Compliance and the Interim Assistant Director of Code Compliance remain unanswered as of the time of this post.
Update: The Dallas Morning News has a full report today with information that the Animal Control Officer involved has been put on administrative leave. It is a very good article and I’d encourage everyone to read it. Please note the dog was muzzled.