BARC, the City of Houston’s animal shelter, is fighting a capacity crisis. BARC is required by law to accept every animal brought to its doors by Houston residents, and also has the mandate to provide animal control services within Houston city limits.  Animal activity such as roaming to breed tends to decrease during colder weather; unfortunately, the unseasonably warm temperatures this “winter” has brought many more animals than normal across BARC’s doorstep.  BARC took in 250 animals from Tuesday, February 21st to Thursday, February 23rd.  The BARC facility has 550 animal enclosures for both dogs and cats.  As of Friday morning, February 24th, there were 476 dogs alone at the shelter, in addition to 121 cats.  In response to the intake spike, BARC is slashing its adoption fee to $10 for cats and $20 for dogs into next week, hoping that Houstonians will relieve the strain.

“People are more apt to dump unwanted pets outside when it`s warm if they can`t take care of it or don`t want it anymore because they think the animal will be able to talk care of itself,” said Carlene Lormand, Marketing & Outreach Manager for BARC.  Adding, “Houston winters normally allow us to regroup and prepare for kitten season in the spring, and ‘everything’ season after that.  This winter has been great to get outdoors with your family, but it is stressing our capacity.  We just flat out need help right now.  We have great pets here, you already get the most bang for your ‘new pet’ buck at BARC, but we have to do what we can to get people here to move more animals out the door and into homes.”

High intakes have exhausted BARC’s capability to provide additional space.  Litter upon litter of puppies and multitudes of stray dogs are flooding the BARC facility while many area rescue groups are already full.  BARC has also seen a higher number of lost pets or animals arriving at the facility that may have owners looking for them.  Remember to check BARC if your pet is lost, no matter where you are located in the City.  To check online, visit to search for your lost pet – BARC information is updated on this site every hour. 

All animals offered for adoption are spayed/neutered and have received age-appropriate vaccinations, a City license tag and microchip.  For the weekend, BARC has partnered with several Petsmart and Petco locations around the city to offer adoptions of fully vetted BARC animals, including Saturday at Petsmart at 290 and Hollister (11a – 6p), Petco on Eldridge at 1960 (Noon – 6p), Petco on Highway 6 in Copperfield (11a – 6p), and Petco on Wilcrest and Westheimer (Noon – 5p).  On Sunday the Petco Wilcrest and Westheimer location will be offering adoptable pets from 1p – 6p.