Courtesy photo

Another animal has died at the Dallas Zoo, this time a vulture, found dead under what the zoo called "unusual" circumstances in the Wilds of Africa habitat.

UPDATE 1-23-2023: The Zoo held a press conference on Monday afternoon in which they identified the bird as Pin, a lappet-faced vulture who they say had a wound, which they did not elaborate on. They're offering a $10,000 reward for any information. The bird, which was at least 35 years old, had been at the Dallas Zoo for 33 years.

It's the latest in a long-running series of animal deaths at the zoo, more than a dozen in the past 10 years.

The Zoo said the death does not appear to be from natural causes, and they would surely be correct. Animals do not survive or thrive in captivity.

“Given the recent incidents at the Zoo, we alerted the Dallas Police Department,” their statement said. “We cannot share many details until Dallas PD has had more time to look into this matter.”

The "recent incidents" the zoo is referring to is the January 13th escape of a clouded leopard, which the zoo blamed on a mysterious tear in the leopard's enclosure, with a suggestion that another cage had a tear, as well.

Their unspoken implication seems to be that the vulture death is somehow related.

A statement from the DPD says that "on January 21, Dallas Police responded to the Dallas Zoo following a report of a dead vulture. The preliminary investigation determined the bird was found dead in its enclosure. The cause of death has not been determined at this time, but the death is being investigated as suspicious. A necropsy will be conducted on the bird."

When asked what made the death suspicious, a DPD spokesperson referred questions to Allyn Media, the high-profile Dallas agency known for managing crises and wealthy people things.

The leopard's escape made national news, morphing from the initial report that the leopard was missing to far-fetched leaps such as this FOX video claiming "Person purposefully let leopard loose at Dallas zoo: Officials said." (That is not what officials said. The actual quote was: "This wasn't something the cat did, it wasn't something a keeper did in error, and it wasn't a failure of the mesh.”)

This video is titled "Dallas Zoo Vigilante?" and Townhall ran a factually-incorrect story saying that "Multiple Breaches at the Dallas Zoo Allowed Some Animals to Make a Break For It."

"Is someone letting animals out at the Dallas Zoo?" asks this sensational piece, which begins, "It sounds crazy, but some think there may be a saboteur at the Dallas Zoo," quoting ex-Ohio-cop and media hound Tim Harrison. They're right, it does sound crazy.

“ALF, the Animal Liberation Front, will sometimes come in and do these things as you know, terrorists; we call them basically eco-terrorists,” Harrison says, before name-dropping PETA.

ALF has no affiliation with PETA, is not an organization per se, and has never had a presence in Dallas. Regarding animal activists in Dallas, there is a Facebook page in Dallas left over from the old days of protests against Ringling Circus. There's also a tiny group of about three people who've regularly protested sales of puppies at the Petland in Plano, and the occasional sign-holding protest over fur or foie gras.

According to a 2019 post on their website, the Dallas Zoo cares for eight vulture species, several of which are breeding pairs.

That an outside party could be involved in this vulture's death seems surprising considering the fact that the zoo itself just installed additional surveillance cameras and increased their overnight security patrols.

Death count
The most recent deaths at the zoo were a trio of giraffes who all died in October 2021.

The vulture joins this list of animals who've died at the Dallas Zoo:

  • Jesse, a 14-year-old giraffe, died on October 29, 2021, cause unknown.
  • Auggie, a 19-year-old giraffe, died in late October 2021 of liver failure.
  • Marekani, a 3-month-old baby giraffe, sustained a mysterious injury and was euthanized on October 3, 2021.
  • Kirk, a 31-year-old chimpanzee, died in August 2021 due to "surprise" heart disease.
  • Keeya, a 6-year-old Hartmann's mountain zebra, died in March 2021 due to a mysterious unexplained head injury.
  • Subira, a 24-year-old silverback gorilla, died suddenly in March 2020, due to a cough, or maybe cardiovascular disease.
  • Hope, a 23-year-old Western lowland gorilla, died suddenly in November 2019 after being at the zoo for only two years.
  • Ola, an 8-year-old female African painted dog, was killed in July 2019 by two other painted dogs, less than a month after she was transferred to the zoo.
  • Witten, a 1-year-old giraffe, died in June 2019 during a physical exam under anesthesia when he suddenly stopped breathing.
  • Adhama, a baby hippopotamus, mysteriously died in 2018.
  • Kipenzi, a baby giraffe, died in 2015 after running in her enclosure.
  • Kamau, a young cheetah, died of pneumonia in 2014.
  • Johari, a female lion, was killed in front of zoo spectators in 2013 by male lions with whom she shared an enclosure.

Dallas Zoo closes after losing track of leopard missing from exhibit

Animal News

The Dallas Zoo has closed after losing track of one of its animals. The animal is Nova, a clouded leopard, which the zoo says is missing from her "exhibit."

"We have an ongoing situation at the Zoo right now with a Code Blue — that is a non-dangerous animal that is out of its habitat," the zoo said in a tweet. "One of our clouded leopards was not in its habitat when the team arrived this morning and is unaccounted for at this time."

UPDATE 1-13-2023: The leopard was found and has been dragged back into captivity. According to an announcement from the zoo, Nova was spotted near her habitat at approximately 4:40 pm, and was corraled by staff by 5:15 pm. A DPD spokesman said the fence surrounding their enclosure had a “suspicious opening."

According to CNN, the Dallas Police Department has been summoned to help find the cat and there's a SWAT team on site.

"Given the nature of these animals, we believe the animal is still on grounds and hiding," the zoo said. "Our focus right now is on locating the animal."

Clouded leopards are unique in that they are "arboreal," spending much of their time in trees.

Nova is one of two sisters, along with sibling Luna, who were transferred from the Houston Zoo, seen in this YouTube video which the zoo posted in March. She weighs about 20 to 25 pounds, which is not very big, and they are speculating that she is still on the grounds.

Named the third-worst zoo for elephants in 2019, the bumbling Dallas Zoo has experienced a series of mishaps, although most have involved animal deaths.

The most infamous Dallas Zoo escapee was Jabari, a gorilla who escaped in 2004 and was shot and killed by Dallas police.

In 2010, another gorilla named Tufani got out of her cage, but was found on zoo grounds, and 2011 saw two escapes: a chimpanzee named Koko, and a spider monkey, who were both recovered.

And in 2021, they lost a crow named Onyx that flew away during a training session; sadly, the bird was never found.

Sad restaurant closures lead this week's 5 most-read Dallas stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. List of every Dallas restaurant and bar that closed in 2022. Like most industries, the Dallas restaurant world is still in recovery after the pandemic, with some restaurants drawing big crowds and others barely able to muster a four-top. In chronological order, here's a list of restaurants that closed in Dallas in 2022.

2. Dallas location of healthy restaurant Seasons 52 closed after New Year. In what surely seems like the worst timing ever for New Year's resolutions, a healthy restaurant in one of Dallas' most prominent malls has closed: Seasons 52, the successful concept from Darden Restaurants whereby many menu items were 500 calories or less, was forced to close its location at NorthPark Center.

3. Year-end openings & closings sneak into this Dallas restaurant news roundup. With the end of 2022 winding down, things were a little quiet on the restaurant news front. But there were still openings to applaud, closings to lament, new menus to try, and some food media tidbits to catch up on. Here's what happened in Dallas restaurant news.

4. Landmark Texas estate checks in on exclusive list of world's best hotels for 2023. A new list of the best hotels in the world — by Condė Nast Traveler, no less — may sound lofty and aspirational, but one is just a short ways from Dallas: the now prestigious Commodore Perry Estate, Auberge Resorts Collection, in Austin.

5. Highly reputable Dallas-Fort Worth animal nonprofit expands hours. A Dallas-Fort Worth nonprofit made up of compassionate veterinary professionals who are working to end pet overpopulation in North Texas by providing high quality, affordable vaccines, spays, and neuters is expanding its hours. Texas Coalition for Animal Protection, better known as TCAP, has added days at two DFW locations.

Dallas animal shelter offers $150 to foster a dog in big New Year push

Animal News

A special event to save dogs' lives is returning to Dallas: Dallas Animal Services, the city's animal shelter, is reviving a program to get dogs out of the shelter with a financial reward for those who participate.

From Friday January 6-Sunday January 8, anyone who comes in to foster a dog gets $150.

DAS, along with many shelters and boarding facilities, has seen an increase in canine upper respiratory infections (URI), including the canine influenza virus (CIV), which began surfacing in the fall.

Getting dogs out of the shelter helps prevent them from getting sick.

In November, DAS began working with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine on a plan to create a clean break in its building and stop the spread of illness.

They launched two sweeps in December with Friends of DAS, a volunteer group who awarded gift cards to those who fostered a dog, and to rescue groups.

DAS Director MeLissa Webber says the turnout was amazing, especially given the time of the year, with hundreds of dogs being rescued.

"We are so grateful that despite the busy holiday season, residents showed up in large numbers to foster or adopt dogs," Webber says. "While we have certainly been celebrating this community response, traffic is now slowing down and the hard work isn’t over yet.”

“DAS is now halfway through the clean break process and 53% of our dog rooms are housing unexposed animals,” she says. “Now we need your help to continue this momentum and get us across the finish line.”

Their goal this weekend is to find adopters, fosters, or rescues for 188 dogs. Anyone who fosters an exposed large dog gets a $150 gift card, in addition to supplies and medical care.

DAS also provides fosters with training, supplies including crates, bowls, and food, and covers 100 percent of the foster dog’s veterinary care, including 24/7 online chat with medical personnel.

Not all dogs within the population are sick; many have fully recovered from URI or have never shown symptoms but were housed near a sick dog. DAS is encouraging fosters and adopters to practice #DoggyDistancing for all dogs adopted from DAS, regardless of status.

Anyone interested in adopting, fostering, or rescuing dogs from DAS should come to 1818 North Westmoreland Rd. during the following hours:

  • Friday January 6, 11 am-7 pm
  • Saturday, January 7, 11 am-6 pm
  • Sunday, January 8, 11 am-6 pm

Though URI is rarely life-threatening in dogs, it spreads quickly and is challenging to contain in a shelter or boarding kennel environment. URI in dogs is like the human flu. Most experience mild to moderate symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, lethargy, and congestion that resolve with rest and hydration within 1-2 weeks. In rare cases, dogs can develop secondary infections such as pneumonia that require additional treatment.

Cases of URI and CIV are spreading throughout the Dallas area, with many boarding facilities and private veterinary clinics reporting an increase of illness in the community. DAS has created #DoggyDistancing to encourage owners to isolate their dogs. Until cases in the area decrease, owners should avoid taking pets to doggy daycare, dog parks, pet stores, and boarding facilities.

“If you could not participate in December, this is your chance to be part of the solution and get involved with the Dallas90 family,” Webber says.

Highly reputable Dallas-Fort Worth animal nonprofit expands hours

Animal News

A Dallas-Fort Worth nonprofit made up of compassionate veterinary professionals who are working to end pet overpopulation in North Texas by providing high quality, affordable vaccines, spays, and neuters is expanding its hours.

Texas Coalition for Animal Protection, better known as TCAP, has added days at two DFW locations:

  • TCAP Fort Worth will now be open for walk-in vaccines on Tuesdays.
  • TCAP Garland will now be open on Wednesdays.

They'll offer free rabies vaccines on Tuesdays in Fort Worth as well as Wednesdays in Garland every week in January.

TCAP was founded in November 2022 by Stacey Schumacher, whose vision was to end animal overpopulation by providing low-cost preventative services throughout North Texas.

"From the very beginning, Stacey knew that making spay and neuter affordable and accessible, she and her team could positively impact North Texas animal populations," their site says.

She started out with one clinic in Denton, where TCAP and its veterinary team built a reputation as a competent, effective high-volume clinic.

Eight locations
Since then, TCAP has opened eight stand-alone clinics, has established and maintained a M.A.S.H-style travel program, and has set up a weekend vaccine event program that services more than 40 locations each year, providing more than 630,000 low-cost spays and neuters, and more than 1,225,000 rabies vaccines.

TCAP also provides accessible and essential basic wellness services such as vaccines, microchipping, heartworm testing/ prevention, deworming, and flea/ tick prevention.

With each spay/neuter, Team TCAP eliminates the possibility of a litter of puppies or kittens without a home. With each low-cost wellness service provided, TCAP helps alleviate the cost of pet care for owners struggling to make ends meet. These efforts combined have resulted in keeping hundreds of thousands of pets in loving homes and out of animal shelters.

TCAP partners with like-minded groups of animal caretakers at city animal shelters as well as hundreds of animal rescue organizations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth.

Dallas Pets Alive/Facebook

Dallas' animal shelter will give $150 if you foster a dog over the holiday

Animal News

Dallas' animal shelter is extending a hugely successful program to save dogs' lives.

It was one week ago when Dallas Animal Services first put out a call to get 150 medium or large dogs out of the shelter, with a goal of stopping the spread of canine upper respiratory infections (URI).

According to a shelter spokesperson, the response from the community was overwhelming. Between December 9-11, they saw 160 medium and large dogs leave the building: 74 were picked up for fostering, 58 dogs were adopted, and 28 were pulled by local rescues.

Another 30 dogs were scheduled for pickup for foster, adoption, or rescue Monday and Tuesday.

“We are blown away by the support the community showed us this weekend,” says DAS Director MeLissa Webber in a statement. “Our volunteers and staff worked incredibly hard to make this happen and it’s so fulfilling to see how many families came out to foster or adopt."

The need to prevent the spread of illness has not stopped, so Friends of DAS is extending the offer for the next 100 medium and large dogs that are fostered or rescued.

Fosters will play a key role by continuing to reduce the percentage of dogs exposed to URI in the shelter and help DAS avoid overcrowding.

Anyone wishing to foster can come by 1818 N. Westmoreland Rd. during DAS' operating hours:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 11 am-7 pm
  • Wednesday, 1-7 pm
  • Saturday-Sunday 11 am-6 pm

After fostering an eligible dog for 14 days, fosters receive a $150 gift card courtesy of Friends of DAS.

DAS is continuing to offer training, veterinary care, supplies (as available) to animal lovers that come out to foster.

Webber says there is a vaccination for CIV, but it's currently on backorder; some local vets have doses available.

DAS is also encouraging all dog owners, as well as fosters and adopters, to practice #doggydistancing and keep their pet isolated until levels of illness in the area decline.

Webber says they are hopeful that this momentum can carry them into the new year. "We have between 30 to 60 dogs arrive at the shelter each day, so the need is ongoing," she says.

Fort Worth shelter
Fort Worth Animal Care and Control is hosting a similar initiative from December 16-17.

Facing a record-high population, they're inviting the public to come in and adopt or foster an animal.

According to Nia Odgers, Code Compliance Superintendent Nia Odgers, FWACC currently has 508 animals at their Chuck & Brenda Silcox location, a facility that is only designed to house 334 animals long term.

On December 16-17, their goal is to get 150 medium and large animals adopted or fostered. The need is especially acute since some animals at the Fort Worth shelter are being kept outdoors, in areas that are designed to be recreational or temporary holds.

With the anticipated high temperatures, this cannot be sustained.

This program is focused on healthy dogs that need out, and it is being hosted at their Chuck & Brenda Silcox location located at 4900 Martin St. Fort Worth.

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Nickelback's upcoming tour stop rocks this week's 5 hottest Dallas headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Juggernaut rock band Nickelback is touring summer 2023 with stop in Dallas. Nickelback is back: Canadian-born rock juggernaut Nickelback is going on tour in summer 2023 to support their new album, Get Rollin'. Called the "Get Rollin’ Tour," it'll hit 38 cities, including Dallas on July 22 at Dos Equis Pavilion.

2. Behind the wall of greenery and other Dallas restaurant must-haves. If you're a Dallas restaurant in 2023, you're nowhere without a wall of greenery. Walls covered with greenery are among the features restaurants are deploying these days to lure in diners. Food is still the official reason people go out to eat, but restaurants these days are more experience-oriented. Here are few features being rolled out at restaurants around town.

3. Affluent Dallas neighbor cashes in as the richest city in Texas for 2023. North Texans wanting a glimpse into the lives of the 1 percent won't have to travel far to get a peek. Southlake has been named the richest city in Texas for 2023 in a recent study.

4. South Polk Pizzeria in Dallas' Oak Cliff slings perfect pies in pizza desert. Dallas has plenty of pretty pizza these days — but nearly all of it is found north of I-30. So let's hear it for South Polk Pizzeria, a new shop that opened in late December in Oak Cliff, at 3939 S. Polk St #527, just off US-67 and north of Loop 12, slinging the same kind of artisanal pies that are being slung across Deep Ellum, Oak Lawn, and North Dallas.

5. 12 Dallas-Fort Worth restaurants score coveted James Beard Award nominations. The James Beard Foundation has revealed the semifinalists for its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards. A dozen Dallas-Fort Worth restaurants have been included in both national and regional categories. Here are the nominees.

Event celebrating Dallas' Braniff Airways a must for fashion & flying buffs

Fashion News

Dallas' original hometown airline is having a moment: Braniff International will celebrate its 95th anniversary with an event that promises to be a must for fashion and airline buffs alike.

Called The Braniff Style Tour & Fashion Show, it'll take place on March 11 at the Alexander Mansion, with David Preziosi, Braniff Airways Foundation Board Member and Executive Director of Texas Historical Foundation, presenting a program on what a release calls one of the most revolutionary airlines in history.

The event will include lunch and a mini fashion show featuring Braniff’s epochal flight attendant uniforms created by haute couture fashion designers Emilio Pucci and Halston.

Braniff International began in June 1928 with a small Stinson Detroiter single-engine six-passenger airplane that flew its first flight from Oklahoma City to Tulsa. It operated as an airline until 1982.

braniff airlines stewardess Braniff Airlines flight attendants decked out in stylish uniforms.Courtesy photo

Braniff Airways is now a branding/marketing, online retail and historic airliner tour firm with a portfolio of licensing agreements worldwide. Its history has been preserved by Braniff Airways Foundation, an organization created by Richard Ben Cass, a former pilot and Braniff collector and expert whose book Braniff Airways: Flying Colors was published in 2015.

The Foundation curates the Braniff International Heritage Archives, formerly Braniff Flying Colors Collection, which contains Cass' lifetime collection, and includes original Braniff Airways Advertising Department records and archives.

The collection was founded in 1972, and has become the largest and most comprehensive collection of Braniff memorabilia that includes more than 1000 crew uniforms.

The Foundation also acts as an advocacy group for Braniff buildings in danger of demolition, including the mid-century themed Braniff Operations and Maintenance Base in conjunction with lead Flying Crown Land Group.

In 2014, they authored a nomination for the Braniff Hostess College to determine its eligibility for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The Hostess College is undergoing a complete restoration and will become a public use facility in the future.

The fashion show promises lots of stretchy fabrics and zowie colors, while the lunch menu is a fun throwback, inspired by vintage Braniff flight menu, with chicken Romanoff, a garden vegetable medley, and strawberry cheesecake.

The Braniff Style Tour & Fashion Show is March 11. Doors open at 10:30 am, with the style show beginning promptly at 11 am, and lunch at 12 pm. Tickets are $60 for "First Class" (includes lunch) and $20 for "Coach" (style show only). Tickets are available online. Proceeds benefit the restoration of the Alexander Mansion.

New play about Uvalde shooting takes the stage at DFW university


A TCU faculty member has written a new play called For the Love of Uvalde: A Play Inspired by the Robb Elementary School, and it's premiering January 28 both in-person on-campus and online via streaming.

Playwright Ayvaunn Penn, who is part of the Theatre TCU faculty, also wrote a play in 2020 inspired by the Botham Jean shooting by police officer Amber Guyger.

The premiere staged reading of For the Love of Uvalde promises a similar evening of art for social change, paired with a panel-led community discussion. This staged reading will feature select songs and monologues from the show.

The original play uses testimonies to explore the aftermath and varying viewpoints of the families, politicians, and medical professionals affected by the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last May. Nineteen children and two adults were killed in the deadliest shooting ever at a Texas public school.

Panel members for the discussion include Dr. Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, TCU Chief Inclusion Officer; James McQuillen, director of Theatre for Youth at Casa Mañana; Professor Lisa Devine, UNT Theatre for Social Change professor; and Shania Tari, M.S, LMFT-A & EMDR trained.

A collaboration between Theatre TCU, TCU School of Music, and El Progreso Memorial Library in Uvalde, the event is free to attend, though tickets are required and may be reserved here. It begins at 6:30 pm at PepsiCo Recital Hall at the Mary D. and F. Howard Walsh Center for Performing Arts on the TCU campus.

El Progreso Memorial Library will also stream the event on YouTube so that community members may join and participate in the discussion and reflection.