Houston, TX – I recently received the intake and outcome reports for BARC (Houston’s taxpayer funder, city animal control) for the last half of 2012. Unfortunately, the numbers are not good.
As a reminder, before Bill White left office in 2009, he hired a Gerry Fusco calling him a “change agent” that would turn around BARC. Fusco managed to fire about 70 bad employees including some really horrible people who got their jollies from torturing shelter animals. Fusco also wrote new procedures for BARC. He did not work on increasing adoptions as we were told that this would come later. Taxpayers footed the $280,000 bill for Fusco’s 6 month contract.
Also, in September 2009, international No Kill expert, Nathan Winograd, performed an assessment of BARC and produced a 196 page guide which detailed exactly what BARC leadership needed to do to decrease BARC’s kill rate. Citizens stepped up and donated all of the money to pay for Winograd’s assessment when the city claimed that they did not have $5,000 to pay Winograd.
So, when Annise Parker took office in 2010, BARC should have been poised to make dramatic increases in life saving. They had all of the tools necessary and new employees to carry out the new procedures.
In fact, when Parker was campaigning for Mayor, several times she promised voters that, if elected, “I would do everything in my power to ensure that Houston transitions to a no-kill community”.
In 2012, BARC leadership attended the No Kill conference in Washington, DC. Leadership from many communities, who have already transitioned to No Kill communities, were there teaching attendees exactly how they reached No Kill status. There was no shortage of information for those who were truly dedicated to making life saving changes.
So, call me a Polly Anna, but considering all of the above, I was expecting BARC’s Kill Rate to decrease in 2012.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed yet again.
BARC’s Kill Rate for 2012 was staggering 57.27%! This is an INCREASE from 56.20% in 2011. (See the records here)
In fact, for the third straight year in a row, i.e. every single year that Annise Parker has been in office, BARC’s kill rate has increased.
Every single year.
During 2012, dozens of Open Admission shelters and animal control facilities reached the No Kill goal line i.e. saving 90% or more of all animals handled. In fact, an average of one new shelter reached this goal every single week in 2012. Every single week. Yet in Houston, our city’s animal control facility is firmly rooted in the dark ages of catch and kill sheltering. They have consistently refused to join the 21st century even when all of the tools necessary to transform themselves has been handed to them on a silver platter.
There simply is no excuse that BARC’s kill rate should still be rising every year. No excuse.
There is a better, more efficient, more compassionate, more humane and more cost effective model of sheltering available today. The only thing BARC leadership has to do is open the instruction manual and implement it. But, in order for that to happen, BARC must have leadership who is dedicated to saving lives and who is willing to work hard to accomplish this goal. More than three YEARS after Annise Parker promised to do everything in her power to transform BARC into a No Kill shelter, BARC still does not have the leadership in place that is necessary to make this happen…. and the BARC animals continue to suffer and be killed at an ever increasing rate.
If you are sick and tired of the mass slaughter in your taxpayer funded city “shelter”, then please tell the Mayor and your council member that you are a voter and you expect better.
Tell the Mayor to keep her promises and hire leadership that is dedicated to saving lives. Click here for their contact information.
It is up to us.
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