About Us
Dallas Street Dog Advocates (DSDA) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that was formed by volunteers who care about the loose and stray street dog problem in Dallas. 
 
What we have learned from our experience in rescuing dogs off the street is that many of them are highly adoptable. They yearn to love and be loved and deserve to be healthy, happy and have a home of their own. We have also learned that the people that live in the areas where the stray dog problems are the worse want our help. They are instrumental in helping us catch the strays by establishing feeding schedules and routines. They also tell us about the dog’s history. Some are left when their owners move out. Some are tossed from moving cars. Some are born on the street to dogs that have been abandoned. The list goes on and on. If you can think of it, it has happened. The people have watched these dogs die of starvation, dehydration and heat stroke. They have watched them suffer after being hit by a car and left lying on the street. The dogs and the people living in these conditions need our help.

​These dogs are typically socialized and do very well once they are rescued off the streets and given time to decompress. Dallas Street Dog Advocates goal is to rescue as many adoptable dogs off the streets as we can find foster homes for and have the funds to care for. After they are healthy and have lived in a foster home, then we find them forever homes. We see ourselves as a "bridge" between the homeless street dogs and their forever families. 

We also want to serve the people who live amongst this problem by offering them dog food, flea and tick prevention, education on caring for their dogs and connecting them with available resources to have their dog spayed or neutered.
 
Together with the help of our volunteers and supporters, coupled with our passion and love for dogs, we will make a difference in Dallas one dog, one home, and one community at a time.​  


Our Mission: Dallas Street Dog Advocates is committed to rescuing the stray and forgotten dogs off the streets of Dallas, providing them with the necessary medical care and training, and finding them permanent homes where they will be cared for the rest of their lives.
Board of Directors
Key Coordinators
Elise Bissell has been passionate about animal rescue since she was a child. She recalls rescuing kittens out of trash cans and injured dogs and cats off the road where she lived in a small west Texas border town called Marfa. She attended Texas Woman's University School of Nursing and graduated top 10 of her class in 1988. After spending several years as a Clinical Nurse at Parkland Memorial Hospital, getting married, having children, and then running her own medical case management businesses, she left the world of nursing for a life entrenched in that of animal rescue. She has always believed that all animals deserve to be loved and live happy, healthy lives. After founding and running Take Me Home Pet Rescue for the past 10 years, an organization whose primary focus is on shelter animals, she has left that organization to start another nonprofit organization that focuses on helping the street dogs of South Dallas. She assisted in forming the City of Richardson Animal Shelter Advisory Commission 8 years ago, which she still currently serves as Commissioner.

Elise Bissell - President

Growing up in Southern Dallas, David Maldonado has first hand knowledge of the loose and stray dog problem. In 2016 he started volunteering in dog rescue to help with the dogs that were being dumped in South Dallas near Dowdy Ferry. Since then, he has assisted in rescuing and trapping many dogs. In 2016 he helped launch the South Dallas Outreach Team with its founder. He enjoys educating the Hispanic community about responsible pet ownership. David believes in not only rescuing the neglected street dogs but teaching people to be better pet owners as well. Education is key to stopping the stray dog problem in Dallas. Dallas Street Dog Advocates is the perfect outlet for those two things.​​​

David Maldonado - Co-Vice President

Relle Austin grew up in the Australian Outback and began rescuing animals at the age of 5 when her parents found a baby wallaby in its dead mothers pouch.  They taught her how to nurture and care for it and since then she has gone on to raise lambs, goats, calves, birds and eventually cats and dogs.  Relle began her tertiary studies at the Queensland Agricultural College and graduated from the University of Queensland, where she learned all she could about animals and their care.  She moved to Texas in 2008 and began volunteering for her local animal rescue where she was a medical foster for some of the sickest intakes and went on to help with animal behavioral assistance and feral rehabilitation.  Relle recently discovered her passion for street dogs and is active on the streets of south dallas, trapping/catching stray dogs and working with people to educate on the importance of spay/neuter, vaccinations and parasite control.  ​​​​

Relle Austin - Co-Vice President

Coming soon!

Megan Mohammadi - Secretary

Coming soon!

Christine Casales - Treasurer

Coming soon!

Melinda Ferris - Medical Coordinator

Jana Dodson was attracted to the rescue field when her youngest son wanted another dog. An SMU graduate who pursued a career in system implementation consulting until the birth of twins, Jana is now the mom 4 almost grown young men and passionate about children and animals. Fostering provided an opportunity to nurture both introducing a foster dog into one's routine offers many growth opportunities for the foster family as well as the dog. Children develop a greater sense of responsibility, compassion, and intuition when working to train the dogs.  When meeting with potential forever families, children build confidence while talking with strangers. Plus, Jana found that one of the best solutions to a stressful day in the life of a teenager was the unconditional love of a dog and of course puppy breathe. They spent 6 years working together to foster dogs, especially large breed puppies. Now, Jana helps recruit, mentor, and manage our foster humans.     

Jana Dodson - Foster Coordinator

 Jennifer was born and raised in Richardson, TX and graduated from UT Dallas. She is the mother of two wonderful boys who are a phenomenal help with fostering dogs. Jennifer got into fostering and helping dogs after she adopted her rescue dog, Jake, from Relle Austin 2014. Since then she has adopted another rescue dog Snoopy, and has become a better advocate for rescue dogs. Along with fostering dogs and raising two kids, Jennifer also teaches kindergarten. She loves her job and loves sharing with her students the foster dogs she has. Jennifer loves to foster what she calls the "littles." At her house you will probably not find a dog over 20 pounds, though she will never turn away a dog in need. To this day Jennifer has fostered over 30 dogs including a mama dog and her 11 puppies. Jennifer loves being the Event Coordinator for DSDA. She enjoys finding new and different ways to help raise funds and spread the word about the organization she loves.    

Jennifer Jackson - Events Coordinator

Carolyn grew up in New Jersey and moved to Florida where she attended high school. She moved to Dallas in 1982 and spent 25 years in finance. She has been married for 20 years and has 2 dogs and fosters cats. Her passion for animals began at a very young age having cats and dogs her entire life. She has rescued stray cats just about everywhere she has lived. She began volunteering and fostering in 2013 for different animal rescues and has developed a fondness of bringing their personalities to social media to help find their forever homes.     

Carolyn Damato - Social Media Coordinator

Mikayla grew up in a house filled with animals in a suburb of Massachusetts. After attending several colleges, she graduated from University of MA Boston in 2013 with a duel degree in English and Psychology. After working in the Law Enforcement Field for several years, she decided to move to the city of Plano to take a job as a 911 call taker and police dispatcher for the city in January 2018. Since that time, she has joined the DSDA team, volunteering both as a foster and assisting with social media (specifically the DSDA Facebook page). Her love and passion for helping animals is second only to her love of helping people. Her favorite way to unwind after a long night at work is by spending time with her dog (and foster, if she has one at the time!), hiking, jogging, or at the dog park! She is both honored and thrilled to be a part of DSDA and to help dogs in need in any way possible!     

Mikayla Lynch - Social Media Coordinator

Mikayla Lynch - Social Media Coordinator

Lisa Lunberg - Fundraising Coordinator

Coming soon!