Earlier this year, a small team of dedicated animal lovers put up a memorial to the 91 dead animals they had found dumped along a stretch of road in southeast Dallas. Photos of the animals, and one white cross for each, bearing the date on which that animal’s body was found.
They wanted these animals to be remembered; they wanted for others not to be able to ignore what had happened to them.
In the months since, the dumpings haven’t stopped. The search parties have found on average, 11 dead animals per month, more than 135 this year, rescuer Stephanie Timko tells Shelter Me.
Some of these were found locked into crates, some in garbage bags; some wore collars, and some not. Last year, the group found a lot of huskies, this year it’s been largely German shepherds. And these animals have clearly suffered, before their deaths.
Timko and the other rescuers are now asking for help to buy surveillance cameras, so they can identify who is brutalizing these animals — mostly dogs, but also cats, goats, sheep, horses, roosters, and others — and then leaving their bodies behind.
Tragically, they also found the body of Marisol Espinosa, a 34-year-old mother. There is a memorial erected to her, too.
“It’s been a very rough summer,” says Timko.
The group has raised just over $4,000 so far, of the $9,600 they are asking for. The cameras they want to buy cost $1,200 each. The plan is to install two cameras, at each of four locations identified as being most critical.
The hope is these cameras will serve as a deterrent, and also help collect much-needed evidence that will in turn propel the city toward pursuing criminal investigations and charges of their own.
Dallas has an undeniable animal crisis, that came to a head when a woman was killed by a pack of street dogs in May.
A report released last week, commissioned by the city after this terrible attack, details overwhelming problems relating especially to loose dogs, as well as proposed solutions.
As detailed by the Dallas Morning News, these include reforming the city’s shelter, implementation of low cost spay/neuter programs, partnerships with private nonprofits — and even just taking better adoption photos of adoptable animals.
Timko says she is pleased to see the city paying more attention to issues relating to animals in this city. She’d like these reforms to be implemented.
But she doesn’t see how they will much improve the grim, gruesome situation that she and her fellow rescuers encounter, on their weekly searches.
“Unfortunately the report doesn’t address cruelty at all except to say that a subcommittee needs to be formed to address the problem,” Timko says. “That’s putting it mildly.”
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