BARC Is An Embarrassment To Our City

Bill White with BARC dog, most likely euthanized the next day.

Citizens, council members and Mayor White:

Houston’s animal control department, referred to as BARC (Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care), is in such shambles that it’s a total embarassment and black eye on this city! To call it animal “care” is a gross misrepresentation. It’s a display of poor leadership, incompetent management and for sure it is a poor-sighted political approach. If Mayor White cannot even run the “dog-catcher” department with minimal success, how does he think he can be a U.S. Senator for the great state of Texas?

BARC has been recognized as an extreme failure in Houston for decades. Mayor White had a chance to change the negligence and inhumane actions of this department but he has proven he is incapable. He and his team have allowed BARC to continue killing the large majority of adoptable animals brought into the shelter, they have maintained a staff at BARC that has been proven to be incompetent through their history of infractions against animals (as reported in the Houston Chronicle and Houston Press), they have done nothing about allegations of animal abuse, they have done nothing to utilize the efforts of many citizens that have stepped up to help BARC through an organized group called Friends of BARC and they have done nothing to improve the poor facility that houses the animals.

There is a lot of history to this story and to get the full monty, check out Craig Malisow’s story in the current issue of the Houston Press . From the continued high euthanasia rate to false promises from the city government to work on the situation, there has been no improvement. Incompetent people are still employed; competent people, like Dr. Costas are asked to leave (most likely because they voiced protest to the inhumane and disgusting practices of the department), the spay-neuter initiatve is poor, public outreach is non-existent and if it weren’t for Friends of BARC taking adoptable animals to other locations on weekends so the public can actually see the quality of adotpable dogs and cats, the adoptions would be minimal.

Mayor, it’s time to change and stop stalling. Proposal after proposal has been laid before you and the city council about how to drastically improve BARC. Why don’t you start by hiring someone competent to lead the department that has had prior success, then follow with at least enough budget to match what other major cities, like San Antonio, spend on animal control? Remember, if we could reduce the number of animals coming in the door, you could potentially save the city money in the future, not to mention the impact on public saftey. And least of all, not to mention the treatment of the helpless animals who find themselves in the throes of death. Treating them with minimal humane care is also not rocket-science. It  just takes someone who gives a shit.