Dallas Animal Services staff are advocating for funding from the city's 2024 bond program to build a new facility that could be double the size of the current shelter. Staff are asking the city to designate $114 million, more than a tenth of the $1 billion bond, for the project.

The overview

The new facility would replace Dallas Animal Services’ current shelter at 1818 N. Westmoreland Road. While the current shelter is less than 60,000 square feet, the proposed design for the new shelter includes 122,000 square feet, Dallas Animal Services Director MeLissa Webber said at a town hall Sept. 5.

If Dallas Animal Services receives funding for the project, the new facility would be constructed on a 20- to 25-acre plot of city-owned land at 4555 W. Davis St., according to meeting documents from the bond task force’s critical facilities subcommittee.

Quote of note

“The point isn’t just to build a bunch more kennels,” Webber said at the town hall. “We do want to have more kennels ... but we’re really talking about a bigger shelter because of all the other components there will be.”

The details

In addition to more kennel space, the larger facility would allow for play areas, trails for dog walking, a kitten nursery, flex spaces, additional parking and other infrastructure to support more effective operations, Webber said.

The new facility would help support higher adoption rates and fewer animals euthanized, according to the meeting documents. Webber said the goal is to get the shelter’s live release rate to 90%. As of Sept. 7, the rate was 76%, according to the shelter's website.

Dallas Animal Services would also be able to host more animals. The current facility’s capacity is 244 dogs and 112 cats, according to meeting documents. The proposed design for the new shelter would allow a capacity of 452 dogs and 172 cats.
A medium-sized brown dog in a kennel
Dallas Animal Services is at 147% capacity for dogs as of Sept. 7. (Courtesy Dallas Animal Services)
On the other hand

If the new facility does not make it into the bond package, Dallas Animal Services will still need millions of dollars to maintain the existing facility. Webber said the current shelter will need significant maintenance and renovations to continue operating efficiently and meet city goals.

The shelter, which was built in 2006, was designed with the idea that stray animals would be held for the law-mandated time and then released, whether through adoption or euthanasia, Webber said. At the time, staff wasn’t looking at life-saving programs or disease control and mitigation.

But in 2018, Dallas launched BeDallas90, an initiative to find homes for at least 90% of the shelter’s stray animals, rather than euthanizing them. The shelter would support that goal, Webber said.

What’s next

Dallas residents can give input on the city’s bond program through an online survey, which will stay open until Sept. 15. They can also attend two remaining open houses, which are part of the city’s virtual open house series to discuss the bond program and solicit feedback.

The two remaining dates are:
  • Sept. 21 at 6 p.m.
  • Oct. 19 at 6 p.m.
Feedback from the survey and open houses will be shared with Dallas City Council and the Community Bond Task Force, which is made up of 15 council-appointed members. Recommendations based on that feedback will be shared in December, with a bond election expected in May.