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Other Southern towns: take note!

Officials in Fort Worth, Texas, are taking a creative approach to rounding up the city’s strays, and their out-of-the-box thinking is paying off big time for pets and their humans.

With their shelters full and more strays than ever, the folks at Fort Worth Code Compliance recently decided to take a good hard look at their process. Not only were they failing to pick up enough strays, they also weren’t reuniting many lost pets with their owners.

“The problem with that is you are not picking up enough strays to make it safer for the public and actually give those strays a better life,” Brandon Bennett, Director of Code Compliance, told CBS DFW.

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First they determined that the normal 9 to 5 schedule simply wasn’t working. They also committed to forming a Stray Team, a group of animal control officers that handle strays exclusively.

Bennett explained to CBS DFW that strays are more active early in the morning and late in the afternoon. With new hours and targeting areas with high numbers of reported strays or dog bites, the dedicated Stray Team immediately saw a huge improvement.

“In the first year alone, the number of strays we picked up was up 300 percent. And then in the second year it was up 1,200 percent. And it continues to grow,” Bennett said.

CBS DFW reports that the new program also relies heavily on neighborhood interaction to get strays back to their owners quickly. Three years ago, less than 100 dogs were immediately returned to owner. Last year, more than 1,200 were reunited with their owners.

It sounds like everybody wins! Keep up the good work out there, Stray Team.