More specifically, what Tarashevska says she found were heavy duty, black plastic bags stuffed with dead or decomposed dogs. "I had no idea what was happening," she says. "I had been finding dogs in very bad shape, very injured, but I didn't know the issue was so bad. And once I found the bags, there were just so many more." Tarashevska estimates she's found some 150 dead dogs at Dowdy's Ferry since that August night in 2014.
Most of the dogs she finds dead, she says, are pit bulls. But dogs of all breeds, ages and in all conditions have been discovered. "A few weeks ago, a woman dumped three Chihuahuas," she says.
Tarashevska recently played a central role in a Dallas Morning News feature about the stray and dead dog dumping situation in Dallas; she was also highlighted in a lengthy article by the Dallas Observer, which criticized the city of Dallas for its inadequate response to the situation.
While the articles have been heartening, the situation is overwhelming, she says. "There is so much to do there and so many dogs in need and new ones being dumped every day."
"The city simply isn't doing enough," she adds. "I just cannot keep up with it."
Still, she says, she visits Dowdy's Ferry a few times a week to save who she can.
The city of Dallas
Dallas has long been a city of dog problems, says veterinarian Dr. Cate McManus, operations manager for Dallas Animal Services (DAS) in Dallas.
"There was an ordinance back in the 1800s for loose dogs in Dallas," she explained to The Dodo. "It shouldn't be the norm, I'm not saying that. But [in terms of current problem], I don't think anything has worsened or changed recently - and we are trying very hard to fix it." Unlike Tarashevska, McManus would not call the scenario at Dowdy's Ferry a crisis. But she does think the city hasn't been entirely effective with its approach.
"There have been a lot of Band-Aids," she says, including massive dog sweeps that yank groups of strays off the streets all at once and shuttle them into the DAS shelter. "We can sweep up the stray dogs, take them off the street. But we need to find out why they are there to begin with."