Stray dogs have plagued southern Dallas for decades. The issue gained national attention in May after Antoinette Brown was mauled to death by a pack of dogs. The attack followed years of complaints from residents, and a consultant group recently estimated 8,700 loose dogs roam the streets in the southern part of the city.
Peter Brodsky, who’s redeveloping the old RedBird Mall in the neighborhood, was appointed to chair the Dallas Animal Advisory Commission. Brodsky talks about how the city is tackling the problem.
Interview Highlights: Peter Brodsky
... on the size of the issue: "This is an absolutely enormous problem, and what makes it even more infuriating is that it is only a problem in one half of the city — in the southern half of the city. If you spend any time south of the Trinity driving, walking, you cannot go 15 minutes without seeing at least one dog. People are walking around with golf clubs, baseball bats; it is a constant menace. Not that there are dogs around every place every second of the day, but there is always a concern that there will be a dog or a pack of dogs, and it's very intimidating."
... on how the city takes on the problem: "It is a huge quality-of-life issue that affects people on a daily basis in that part of the city, and the first priority needs to be: You need to pick up the dogs. Public safety has to be No. 1, and then in order to solve the problem, ultimately you've got to address the spay-neuter issue."
... on why there are more unfixed dogs in South Dallas: "I think there [are] three things that cause that disparity: access, affordability and education. In southern Dallas, there are very, very few veterinary clinics. The estimates are between three and seven for the entire southern half of the city. There are between three and seven veterinary clinics within two miles of my house. So, it's not easy to find a place to go spay neuter your pet.
"The second is that it's expensive to spay or neuter your pet, it could be $100 to $150. Southern Dallas is less affluent part of the city, and people don't necessarily have $150 lying around.
"And then there is the education issue, which is that if you've always lived in a community in which no one spays or neuters their pets, you may not know that that what's you're supposed to do — that that's better for people and better for animals. And so one of the things that we're doing now is a community is aggressively going after this spay-neuter issue."
Peter Brodsky chairs the Dallas Animal Advisory Commission. He's also a member of KERA's board of directors.