Houston Run-off elections are Dec 12th! Vote for the welfare of homeless animals!

Saturday, December 12th are the run-off elections for Mayor, City Controller and several City Council member seats.  The closeness of some of the races proved that even a few votes can make a difference in who will be at city hall next year.

It is predicted that the runoff elections will have a low turnout.  The animal loving community CAN make a difference in this election!  PLEASE VOTE. YOU can make a difference.

No Kill Houston sent questionnaires to the candidates in the run-off elections.  Candidates responses are posted on our website and were Rated from 1 to 5 based solely regarding how well their responses align with the programs and services that have been proven to stop the killing in other shelters i.e. the No Kill Equation.

Responses to No Kill Houston’s questionnaires are posted here:
http://nokillhouston.webs.com/houstonelections.htm

Responses to Noah’s Ark PAC’s questionnaire and other publically available information were also considered when rating candidates’ responses regarding no kill objectives.

(http://noahsarkpac.blogspot.com)

This election is critical for the 80,000+ pets who will enter Houston/Harris County shelters next year. We must elect representatives who will work to drop Houston’s appallingly high kill rate by using methods that have been PROVEN to stop the killing.

We must elect candidates who are not only compassionate to animal issues but we also need leaders who will research what is being done in other successful No Kill shelters. We do not want politicians who will propose more punitive laws that only punish pet owners (as we have seen in the recent past) and will cause kill rates to rise.  This only shifts the blame of killing on the public instead of laying blame where it belongs….. on the shelters that are still killing.

We are fortunate that Houston does not have to “re-create the wheel”.  There are cities all over the US and Canada, including open admission shelters, who have STOPPED THE KILLING ENTIRELY.  Houston can copy their successful strategies. Our city leaders must, must become educated on the programs that have stopped the killing in other cities and they must work to put THESE programs in place in Houston. Nothing else will stop the killing.

Please review the candidates responses CAREFULLY. Pay particular attention to those candidates who propose more puntive laws such as mandatory spay/neuter laws.  Houston does not need this type of legislation that will only cause kill rates to RISE.

I have listed several links below so you can become more educated on this topic yourself. I know mandatory spay/neuter laws may sound like the answer to all of our prayers, but they are not. Please become informed. The 80,000 pets who may die in Houston shelters next year are depending on us to make informed decisions.

1]  L.A.’s euthanasia rates increased 31% following their passage of mandatory spay / neuter law:
http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/2008/07/more-on-los-angeles-msn.html

2] When it comes to spay/neuter, income tells the story:
http://www.petconnection.com/blog/2009/05/27/when-it-comes-to-spayneuter-rates-for-cats-income-tells-the-story

3] Mandatory Spay/Neuter Success? Not Remotely:
http://fixaustin.blogspot.com/2008/01/mandatory-spayneuter-success-not.html

4]  The Best Animal Control Program in North America
http://saveourdogs.net/2009/04/03/%E2%80%9Cthe-best-animal-control-program-in-north-america%E2%80%9D/

5] Mandatory Spay/Neuter Fails:
http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/mandatory_spayneuter/index.html

6]  Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws -A Failure Everywhere:
http://saveourdogs.net/category/legislation/track-record/

7] Forced Spay-Neuter laws don’t save lives or tax payer money
http://www.petconnection.com/blog/2008/07/30/thebiglies/

8] Forced Spay/Neuter update – Shifting the Costs of Killing:
http://www.petconnection.com/blog/2008/08/06/california-forced-spay-neuter-update-shifting-the-costs-of-killing/

Click here for candidate questionnaires

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished by City of Houston or BARC

A few days ago I told you about our very successful cat adoption event. (See this link for previous blog http://wp.me/pGbf7-1m). We pulled TWENTY SEVEN “90 day” cats from BARC and got them to safety. The reasons we pulled these cats were two fold: 1) to save the cats who were destined to die immediately; 2) to free up more cage space for the many cats pouring into BARC. We had been assured that if we returned any of these cats to BARC, they would be killed, so we worked very hard to make sure this didn’t happen.

Many members of the community came together to get these cats to safety. We almost completely cleared out the two free roaming cat rooms which would have given a lot of new space for the many cats pouring into BARC. Then, on Monday, we learned that Elena Marks & Gerry Fusco plan to convert the two, newly emptied, free roaming cat rooms into OFFICE SPACE, A COMPUTER ROOM, OR A CLINIC. This means cats will now have LESS room to live than before! BARC is overflowing with cats. It is UNCONSCIONABLE that anyone would even consider taking away any living space for any animal at BARC. BARC leaders should be looking for more places to house animals, not taking away space from them.

In addition, No Kill Houston and the other citizens did NOT organize this adoption event and spend an enormous amount of time and money only to provide offices, etc. for BARC leaders. BARC is an animal shelter. Their first priority should be to find more ways to save animals, not making themselves more comfortable. The community worked hard to SAVE LIVES. I want to know when BARC leaders will start making decisions that actually save lives as well? I, for one, am sick and tired of waiting.

Elena Marks and Gerry Fusco have been in charge at BARC since July and there has been no change in the kill rate. The only things they have done is to make it more difficult for volunteers, foster parents and rescue groups to save lives.

I am writing our Mayor and City council and telling them that the above actions, as well as many other actions that Marks & Fusco have taken recently, are intolerable and do NOT save lives. 

I URGE EACH OF YOU TO CONTACT THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL as well, even if you do not live in Houston.   We must, must speak up and make our voices heard before BARC goes any farther backwards than it already has. I’m attaching my letter below.  Feel free to use it or write your own.  Email addresses for the Mayor and city council are also below. I urge you to also FAX them.  Fax numbers are on our website at NoKillHouston.org.

PLEASE DO NOT BE SILENT AND ALLOW THIS TO CONTINUE!

********************

No Kill Houston’s Letter to Mayor White and City Council

Dear Mayor White and City Council Members:

This past weekend No Kill Houston and Frisky Paws Rescue organized a large offsite adoption event in a high traffic area of town. We pulled every single “90 day” (meaning their time was up) cat out of BARC and brought them to our adoption event. The reasons we pulled these cats were two fold: 1) to save the cats who were destined to die immediately; 2) to free up more cage space for the many cats pouring into BARC. We had been assured by BARC that if we returned any of these cats to BARC, they would be killed so we worked VERY hard to save them.

Over the weekend, we adopted out 14 of these cats and arranged for the remaining cats to go to foster homes or rescues so that they were not returned to BARC. This event was a HUGE undertaking that required many volunteers working many long hours and donating many supplies and funds. Many members of the community came together to get these cats to safety. At the end of the 3 day event, we were all exhausted but pleased that we helped save so many lives.

Then, on Monday, I learned that Elena Marks & Gerry Fusco plan to convert the two free roaming cat rooms (that we just emptied by pulling 90 day cats) into office space, a computer room or a clinic. This means cats will now have LESS room to live than before. BARC is overflowing with cats. It is unconscionable that anyone would consider taking away living space from any animal. BARC leaders should be looking for more places to house animals, not taking away space from them.

In addition, No Kill Houston and other citizens did NOT organize this adoption event and spend an enormous amount of time and money only to provide offices, computer rooms or clinics for BARC staff. BARC is an animal “shelter”. Their first priority should be to save animals, not make themselves more comfortable. We worked hard in order to SAVE LIVES. I want to know when BARC leaders will start making decisions that actually save lives as well? I, for one, am sick and tired of waiting.

None of the “procedures” that Marks & Fusco have come up with have been designed to save lives; most only harass and punish the volunteers, foster parents and rescue groups. It appears that none of their new “processes” address the real problems at BARC, and that is and always has been, the employees and leaders who don’t really care about animals’ welfare. Over FOUR MONTHS since Mr. Fusco was hired, citizens are STILL seeing entire Wards of animals going ALL DAY without food and water or having their kennels cleaned. Employees leave for the day without feeding animals even though the South Ward is overstaffed. No supervisors check to see that animals are properly cared for and it appears that neither Mr. Fusco nor Ms. Marks verifies this either.

We know that distemper and other diseases are still rampant as our foster animals are still dying from these preventable diseases in large numbers. It appears that Marks & Fusco have not addressed proper cleaning protocols yet or, if they have, they are not hiring the right type of employees nor are they supervising them to make sure that procedures are followed. And contrary to what Elena Marks recently stated, foster parents and rescue groups are NOT “selling animals and making a profit”. The medical expenses, that we pay ourselves for these animals, are incredibly high. In fact, many of us have gone deeply in debt to save animals. We do NOT pull animal out of BARC to make money. We pull animals out to save them from certain death at BARC. This, by the way, also saves BARC money as it is well known that it costs the city $125 to take in, house, feed and then kill an animal. Yet Marks & Fusco continue to make it increasingly difficult for us to get animals out. It appears that Marks & Fusco would rather spend $125 and kill an animal, rather than turn it freely over to a foster or rescue group who would spend their own money to save it.

As further proof that basic “processes” for BARC’s own employees are not in place or not being followed, on Monday 11/30/09, BARC ran out of litter boxes. I find it utterly absurd that BARC could run out of a critical supply that it needs every single day. It seems like ordering critical supplies, in a regular, timely manner, should have been one of the very FIRST “processes” that Marks & Fusco addressed. Perhaps Marks & Fusco should have worked on this process rather than on the new rules/procedures for volunteers, foster parents and rescue groups; especially since those particular areas “were” working well until Marks & Fusco’s involvement.

BARC scheduled only one offsite adoption location in November even though Marks & Fusco know, or they SHOULD know, that a large number of people are NEVER, EVER going to go to BARC to adopt. Offsite adoptions are critical to getting animals out alive. The kill rate has not decreased significantly since Marks & Fusco have been running BARC. This fact should prove that most citizens are NOT going to go to BARC. It doesn’t matter how many statutes or murals Ms. Marks plans there–not enough people are going to go to BARC to adopt to stop the killing.

So, over four months after Elena Marks lobbied you all to hire Mr. Fusco, and you all spent $183,000 of our tax money to do so, I want to know exactly what Fusco & Marks have done that is saving lives at BARC because I am not seeing any change. BARC still has the same problems and BARC is still killing just as many animals.

The most important element at a shelter is a hard working leader dedicated to SAVING LIVES. BARC has never had this and again, BARC does NOT have this with Marks & Fusco. And BARC will NOT have this if Elena Marks is allowed to hire the next Bureau Chief because SAVING LIVES is not a priority to her.

Marks & Fusco are failing BARC miserably and this means YOU are also failing BARC and tax payers with this $183,000 fiasco. When will someone at city hall step up to the plate and hire a leader that makes saving lives the NUMBER ONE priority? There is one person who has applied for the Bureau Chief position who has actual experience turning a high kill shelter into a No Kill shelter. The shelter she runs now as a SAVE rate of 92%. Why aren’t you all BEGGING this woman to work at BARC? She is one of the few people who could actually make a difference.

Sincerely,

Bett Sundermeyer, President
No Kill Houston

************

EMAIL INFORMATION FOR THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCILmayor@cityofhouston.net; atlarge1@cityofhouston.net; atlarge2@cityofhouston.net; atlarge3@cityofhouston.net; atlarge4@cityofhouston.net; atlarge5@cityofhouston.net; districta@cityofhouston.net; districtb@cityofhouston.net; districtc@cityofhouston.net; districtd@cityofhouston.net; districte@cityofhouston.net; districtf@cityofhouston.net; districtg@cityofhouston.net; districth@cityofhouston.net; districti@cityofhouston.net; contact@billwhitefortexas.com

PLEASE ALSO FAX THEM–SEE OUR WEBSITE FOR FAX NUMBERS

www.NoKillHouston.org

Help us help BARC cats & kittens get forever homes for the Holiday!

No Kill Houston is renting a retail space to be used for adoptions for cats and kittens from BARC (Houston’s animal control). BARC cats have very, very few offsite adoption opportunities and very, very few cats are being adopted at BARC.  We want to get these wonderful cats & kittens out to the public so they can have a chance to get a forever home. We are partnering with Frisky Paws Rescue and other rescues so that lots of cats & kittens have an opportunity to be seen by the adopting public!  The retail space we have is in a very high traffic, highly visible location on Westheimer and Wilcrest. It will be the perfect space to showcase these little love sponges.  The realtor has agreed to rent the space to us for 1 weekend instead of the entire month. We want to rent it over the long Thanksgiving weekend since this is the busiest shopping weekend of year. This will mean that these little beauties will be seen by lots of people out shopping who might also be thinking of getting a pet. The rent, electricity and insurance will total $1,200.00.  We raised $500 with the first Chipin fundraiser but we still need $700 to cover all the costs.  Please donate!   Every dollar donated will help us help homeless cats and kittens!

Click here to visit our secure fund raising website!

http://nokillhouston.chipin.com/holiday-cat-adoption-event

*If you are fostering a cat or kitten for BARC and would like to show your foster in this space, please email me.  You can bring your fosters even if you are fostering through another rescues group.  The only thing that I ask is if you bring your foster cat/kitten, that you also volunteer for at least 1 day—if we have enough volunteers, you may only need to volunteer for 3-4 hours.

**If you have kennels, folding tables, litterboxes, bowls etc. that you can bring, that would save some costs for us.

Thank you,

Bett Sundermeyer, President

NoKillHouston@yahoo.com

Don’t miss our interview w/ Nathan Winograd this Thursday!

Bett Sundermeyer, President of No Kill Houston will interview Nathan Winograd regarding effective Companion Animal Legislation.  This is the type of legislation that is needed to stop the killing in our animal shelters.

Nathan is the Director of the national No Kill Advocacy Center (NoKillAdvocacyCenter.org or NathanWinograd.com).  He is a graduate of Stanford Law School, a former criminal prosecutor and attorney.  He has held a variety of leadership positions including Director of Operations of the San Francisco SPCA and Executive Director of the Tompkins County SPCA, two of the most successful no kill shelters in the nation.  He has spoken nationally and internationally on animal sheltering issues; has written animal protection legislation at the state and national level;  he has created successful No Kill programs in both urban and rural communities; and has consulted with a wide range of animal protection groups including some of the largest and best known in the nation.  He is also the author of the groundbreaking book, Redemption; and also a new book which will hit the bookstores very soon called Irreconcilable Differences.

Also, in August of this year, Nathan assessed Houston’s BARC (which is Houston’s animal control) and his report is on our website at NoKillHouston.org.

INTERVIEW WITH NATHAN WINOGRAD
When: Thursday, November 19th; 9:30 am – 10:00 am
Where: KPFT, 90.1 FM or listen online at KPFT.org

You won’t want to miss it!

Help us help BARC cats & kittens get forever homes for the Holiday!

No Kill Houston is renting a retail space to be used for adoptions for cats and kittens from BARC (Houston’s animal control). BARC cats have very, very few offsite adoption opportunities and very, very few cats are being adopted at BARC. We want to get these wonderful cats & kittens out to the public so they can have a chance to get a forever home.

We are partnering with Frisky Paws Rescue and Friends for Life so that lots of cats & kittens have an opportunity to be seen by the adopting public!

The retail space we have is in a very high traffic, highly visible location on Westheimer and Wilcrest. It will be the perfect space to showcase these little love sponges.

The realtor has agreed to rent the space to us for 1 weekend instead of the entire month. We want to rent it over the long Thanksgiving weekend since this is the busiest shopping weekend of year. This will mean that these little beauties will be seen by lots of people out shopping who might also be thinking of getting a pet.

The rent, electricity and insurance will total $1,200.00. Please donate so we can secure this space ASAP. Every dollar donated will help us help homeless cats and kittens!

Click here to visit our secure fund raising website!
http://nokillhouston.chipin.com/holiday-adoption-event

*If you are fostering a cat or kitten for BARC and would like to show your foster in this space, please email me.  The only thing that I ask is if you bring your foster cat/kitten, that you also volunteer for at least 1 day—if we have enough volunteers, you may only need to volunteer for part of the day.

**If you have kennels, folding tables, litterboxes etc. that you can bring, that would save some costs for us. 

Thank you,

Bett Sundermeyer, President

NoKillHouston@yahoo.com

Houston election results

Below are election results for Mayor, City Controller and City Council.  We have quite a few run-off elections coming up. 

The closeness of the  races proved that even a few votes can make a difference in who ends up running our city.   The animal loving community CAN make a difference with our votes!  Please continue to become educated on the candidates in the run-off races and vote for those who will help us stop the killing.  Run-off elections are December 12th.

Mayor  – Runoff

Annise Parker 29% of the vote

Gene Locke 26%

City Controller – Runoff

Ronald Green 36%

M.J. Khan 33%

District A – Runoff

Brenda Stardig 32%

Lane Lewis 22%

District B – Jarvis Johnson 82%

District C – Anne Clutterbuck 82%

District D – Wanda Adams 76%

District E – Mike Sullivan 74%

District F – Runoff

Al Hoang 25%

Mike Laster 25%

District G – Oliver Pennington 59%

District H – Edward Gonzales-unopposed

District I – James Rodriquez-unopposed

At Large #1 – Runoff

Stephen Costello 23%

Karen Derr 20%

At Large #2 – Runoff

Sue Lovell 49%

Andrew C. Burks, Jr. 21%

At Large #3 – Melissa Noriega-unopposed

At Large #4 – C.O. Bradford 53%

At Large #5 – Runoff

Jolanda Jones 43%

Jack Christie 36%

CHALLENGING THOSE WHO CONTINUE TO KILL

I attended the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets conference this past weekend (Oct 23-25). This was my first BF conference and I enjoyed it very much. I met a few of the founders and staff of Best Friends and can tell you that they are all awesome people dedicated to stopping the killing. In addition, we heard from shelter directors, including OPEN ADMISSION FACILITIES, in the U.S. and Canada, who have STOPPED KILLING ALTOGETHER. Those shelter directors have taken the word euthanasia back to its true definition of relieving the suffering of those who are irremediably injured or sick. It was incredibly exciting and gratifying to hear their successes.
There are 5 kill shelters in Houston/Harris County killing around 80,000 animals every year. It is so disheartening dealing with city politicians as well as shelter leaders and staff who just don’t seem to care how many animals are dying even though life saving alternatives are right in front of them—for BARC, the leading No Kill expert, Nathan Winograd, literally wrote a 196 page guide for the city leaders to follow. Yet, the killing continues. Winograd’s book and website are step by step guides on how to stop the killing. Yet, the killing continues all over Houston. There are successful No Kill shelter directors all over the US and Canada willing to share their life saving strategies. Yet, the killing continues in Houston.  When will Houston stop the madness?

The speakers and the 650 attendees at the conference were like an IV of energy and renewed sense of purpose for me. It gives me hope and faith that there are enough compassionate people out there that we can pull ourselves out of the dark ages and make No Kill a reality in Houston as well. So, I will continue spreading the No Kill message. If all 2.2 million Houstonians expect and DEMAND No Kill instead of being satisfied with, and allowing, the status quo of 80,000 needless deaths every year, I have to believe we can make it so.

I’m attaching a link to the closing comments of the conference. Best Friends challenges all of us to “Get Crazy”, think differently and challenge the conventional thinking that says killing is the only way.
(http://network.bestfriends.org/golocal/lasvegas/13499/news.aspx)

WILL YOU SPEAK UP WITH US AND CHALLENGE THOSE WHO CONTINUE TO KILL?  80,000 ANIMALS NEED YOUR VOICE.

Join our email list. A link is on our website.  www.NoKillHouston.org

 

VOTE FOR CANDIDATES WHO WILL PUSH FOR PROVEN NO KILL STRATEGIES!

ImageIn less than 1 week, we will elect a new Mayor, new City Council members and a new City Controller. This election is critical for the 80,000+ pets who will enter Houston/Harris County shelters next year. We must elect representatives who will work to drop Houston’s appallingly high kill rate by using methods that have been PROVEN to stop the killing.

We must identify those candidates who are not only compassionate to animal issues but we also need leaders who will take the time to research what is being done in other successful No Kill shelters. We do not need politicians who are reactionary and will propose more punitive laws that only punish pet owners and will cause kill rates to rise (as we have seen in the recent past). This only shifts the focus and blame of killing on the public instead of laying blame where it belongs….. squarely on the shelters that are still killing.

We are fortunate that Houston does not have to “re-create the wheel”. We don’t have to wonder what will work to stop the killing. There are cities all over the US and Canada, including open admission shelters, who have STOPPED THE KILLING ENTIRELY. We can copy their successful strategies. I met and learned from some of the directors of these successful No Kill shelters this past weekend. They are not killing ANY healthy or treatable pets. Our city leaders must, must become educated on the programs that have stopped the killing in other cities and they must work to put THESE programs in place in Houston. Nothing else will stop the killing.

Questionnaires were sent to all candidates regarding animal and BARC issues. Those who have responded are posted on our website (www.NoKillHouston.org) and we will continue posting new responses right up until election day. (A link is on the bottom right side of our website). Please review these responses CAREFULLY. Pay particular attention to those candidates who propose MORE PUNITIVE LAWS such as mandatory spay/neuter laws. Houston does not need this type of legislation that will only cause kill rates to RISE. Out of all of the Directors of the successful No Kill shelters who spoke last weekend, not a single one of them supported mandatory spay/neuter laws. NOT ONE. Yet all of these shelters were still successfully saving all healthy and treatable pets. In addition, Nathan Winograd, one of the most successful No Kill shelter directors, and the leading expert on successful No Kill sheltering, also vehemently opposes mandatory spay/neuter laws. Please keep this in mind as you review the candidates responses.

I have listed several links below so you can become more educated on this topic yourself. I know mandatory spay/neuter laws may sound like the answer to all of our prayers, but they are not. Please become informed. The 80,000 pets who may die in Houston shelters next year are depending on us to make informed decisions. 

1.   The Dark Side of Mandatory Licensing and Neuter Laws:   Why Punitive Legislation Fails.  http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/pdf/mandatorylaws.pdf

2.  L.A.’s euthanasia rates increased 31% following their passage of mandatory spay / neuter law:
http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/2008/07/more-on-los-angeles-msn.html

3.  When it comes to spay/neuter, income tells the story:
http://www.petconnection.com/blog/2009/05/27/when-it-comes-to-spayneuter-rates-for-cats-income-tells-the-story

4.   Mandatory Spay/Neuter Success? Not Remotely:
http://fixaustin.blogspot.com/2008/01/mandatory-spayneuter-success-not.html

5.   The Best Animal Control Program in North America
http://saveourdogs.net/2009/04/03/%E2%80%9Cthe-best-animal-control-program-in-north-america%E2%80%9D/

6.  Mandatory Spay/Neuter Fails:
http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/mandatory_spayneuter/index.html

7.  Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws -A Failure Everywhere:
http://saveourdogs.net/category/legislation/track-record/

8.   Forced Spay-Neuter laws don’t save lives or tax payer money
http://www.petconnection.com/blog/2008/07/30/thebiglies/

9.  Forced Spay/Neuter update – Shifting the Costs of Killing:
http://www.petconnection.com/blog/2008/08/06/california-forced-spay-neuter-update-shifting-the-costs-of-killing/

BARC UPDATE 8/31/09

The city of Houston announced that BARC would be removed from the Department of Health and Human Services.  It will be its own stand alone department.  We believe that this is a positive move for BARC that has been a long time coming.  Hopefully, BARC will get the attention it deserves from the city and not have to compete with health department attention and money.

BARC UPDATE 8/17/09

Gerry Fusco’s $208,000 consulting contract is on the city council agenda for Tuesday, August 18, 2009.   http://www.houstontx.gov/citysec/agenda.html

On August 3rd, city councilmember, Jarvis Johnson, told citizens that this contract would not be up for a vote until September. Apparently, they are trying to slip this contract through under the radar and at tax payer’s expense.

We intend to continue OPPOSING this contract as we do not believe Mr. Fusco has the background necessary to be able to turn BARC around. He has no idea what it takes to run a successful shelter (i.e. one where the kill rate and inhumane treatment actually drop). And, we don’t believe Mr. Fusco could ever turn around BARC if he won’t admit that MANY of BARC’s employees need to go. The employees who have abused animals cannot be rehabilitated enough to be good employees and the good employees will continue to be drug down to their level. BARC will never be able to pull itself out of the mire if these employees are not removed. In addition, $208,000 is a huge waste of our tax dollars for someone with absolutely NO experience in the subject.

We encourage everyone to FAX and CALL the mayor and all city council tonight and OPPOSE this contract. If you can only call a few council members, we recommend calling Pam Holm, Anne Clutterbuck, Ed Gonzales, Jolanda Jones, Sue Lovell, Jarvis Johnson–and whoever your own personal city council member is. Let them know that you DO NOT want Fusco but also let them know what you DO want i.e. someone who actually knows how to drop the kill rate. We do NOT need yet another consultant, facilitator or friend of the Mayor with absolutely NO idea how to drop the kill rate.

We have the report from MCV and we have the Mayor’s 2005 Task Force Report. We already know what, and who, many of the problems are. What BARC needs is a Bureau Chief who knows the strategies necessary to drop the kill rate and eliminate the inhumane treatment. Bonnie Ford is that person. The city needs to hire Bonnie Ford as Bureau Chief and save the $208,000 for programs that Bonnie can use to drop the kill rate, such as renting offsite adoption sites all over the city in highly visible locations; free spay/neuter services especially in low income neighborhoods; programs and services that keep pets in their homes instead of dumped at the shelter; a TNR program. All of these things have been PROVEN to drop the kill rate. Houston does not have to re-create the wheel. We can copy what other successful No Kill cities and counties are doing, but, Houston MUST HIRE PEOPLE WHO KNOW HOW TO GET THERE.

All contact info for the Mayor and city council is on No Kill Houston’s website. There is also a link to find out who your city council person is. A form letter is also on our website if you need help with your letter. Make sure you remind this person that YOU VOTE.

BARC UPDATE 8/12/09

Mr. Fusco says that perceptions of BARC are worse than the reality.  I beg to differ.  See my response below

From: No Kill Houston <nokillhouston@yahoo.com>
Subject: Mr. Fusco’s perception of BARC
To: mayor@cityofhouston.net, atlarge1@cityofhouston.net, atlarge2@cityofhouston.net, atlarge3@cityofhouston.net, atlarge4@cityofhouston.net, atlarge5@cityofhouston.net, districta@cityofhouston.net, districtb@cityofhouston.net, districtc@cityofhouston.net, districtd@cityofhouston.net, districte@cityofhouston.net, districtf@cityofhouston.net, districtg@cityofhouston.net, districth@cityofhouston.net, districti@cityofhouston.net, Michael.Terraso@cityofhouston.net, Stephen.Williams@cityofhouston.net, Elena.Marks@cityofhouston.net, info@anniseparker.com, info@genelocke.com, contact@billwhitefortexas.com
Cc: Gafusco@aol.com
Date: Thursday, August 13, 2009, 3:00 AM

I heard Mr. Fusco’s interview on KUHF today.  Mr. Fusco stated that the “perception of BARC is worse than the reality”.  I’m curious, is the reality of Kennel Attendants punching puppies not bad enough for Mr. Fusco? How about the KAs who slam dogs’ heads in cage doors? Or how about the KA who starved dogs until one couldn’t even pick up her head up (and the vet who lied and said the dog had a neurological disorder)?  Or, how about Dr. O killing and beheading a cat because it scratched her?  Or an animal control officer who kicked a puppy until it was paralyzed and found dead in its kennel the next day?  How about all of the puppies that die because of no enforcement of disinfecting protocols?  All of these things and much more are realities that are being witnessed. Are none of these things a bad enough reality for Mr. Fusco?  What does he think people are “perceiving” that is worse than this?  The ignorance of this statement should make it obvious that either 1) Mr. Fusco does not have a clue about what is going on around him at BARC or what has gone on for years; or 2) he is merely the mayor’s spin doctor trying to convince citizens that things aren’t as bad as the volunteers and media have reported, while the mayor continues his senate campaign. 
 
Mr. Fusco’s statement is like a slap in the face to all of the volunteers who witnessed the above abuses and other abuses day after day and year after year.  It is a slap in the face to those volunteers and advocates who have been telling you about this abuse for years.  It is a slap in the face to the foster parents and rescue groups who have had multitudes of BARC animals die from diseases that could have and SHOULD be prevented at BARC.  It is a slap in the face to the citizens who have called, written and spoken to you in person at city council about their pets who have suffered greatly and died from preventable diseases from BARC.  It is a slap in the face to the citizens whose pets have died horrible, painful deaths from heatstroke on animal control trucks with no air conditioning—another citizen told you his story on 8/3/09.  It is a slap in the face to the volunteers who witness the “walk of death” of animals to the euthanasia room every single day 50, 80 sometimes 150 times per day to the tune of almost 30,000 animals every single year.  These deaths COULD be prevented but there has been no real effort by BARC leaders to stop it so far. 

To say perception is worse than the above reality of abuse and death is a slap in the face to all of us and we will not stand silently by while you do it.

We will continue speaking out.  And we will continue to make all 2.2 million citizens aware of what is going on at BARC, if we have to go door to door to do it.

You need to hire Bonnie Ford as the next Bureau Chief and you need to do it now.  Bonnie already knows “who” the problems are at BARC and she knows what the problems are.  She also knows the strategies needed to drop the kill rate and prevent the humane treatment and diseases that are rampant at BARC.  Just this week, she presented a proposal to BARC management that will greatly reduce the number of cats killed at BARC.  If she can do this as a volunteer, just think what she can do if she were Bureau Chief and could make sure the programs and services that will save lives are put into place and enforced.  Call her. 

Bett Sundermeyer, President
No Kill Houston
http://www.NoKillHouston.org

BARC UPDATE 7/27/09

No Kill Houston’s email to the Mayor and City Council: 

From: No Kill Houston <nokillhouston@yahoo.com>
Subject: Another puppy died in a drain at BARC
To: mayor@cityofhouston.net, atlarge1@cityofhouston.net, atlarge2@cityofhouston.net, atlarge3@cityofhouston.net,
atlarge4@cityofhouston.net, atlarge5@cityofhouston.net, districta@cityofhouston.net, districtb@cityofhouston.net,
districtc@cityofhouston.net, districtd@cityofhouston.net, districte@cityofhouston.net, districtf@cityofhouston.net,
districtg@cityofhouston.net, districth@cityofhouston.net, districti@cityofhouston.net, Michael.Terraso@cityofhouston.net,
Stephen.Williams@cityofhouston.net, Elena.Marks@cityofhouston.net, info@anniseparker.com, info@genelocke.com, contact@billwhitefortexas.com

I received information that another puppy died in a drain at BARC recently (you can confirm with Celina Garza Ridge). As you may or may not remember, several people spoke to City Council back in 2005 regarding puppies at BARC being washed down drains. The Mayor is on camera saying that there need to be changes at BARC. Yet, here we are in 2009 and this is STILL happening. Not only that but disease is STILL rampant and inhumane treatment by employees is STILL common place.

How long do we have to wait before the city and BARC provides even the most basic and humane care for pets who have the misfortune of entering its shelter?

How long do we have to wait until you all step up and do what is right?

As I have said many times, we do NOT need yet another consultant or facilitator with absolutely NO track record for saving animals in shelters. What we need is someone who has a proven track record of transforming high kill, atrocious facilities, such as BARC, into no kill shelters. That person is Nathan Winograd. Instead of spending $200,000 on someone with no clue how to stop
killing animals, spend $25,000 and get one of the top experts in the country on this topic. For $25,000, Mr. Winograd could do a top to bottom, thorough assessment of BARC and give step by step guidance on transforming BARC. This is so common sense. Why do you continue to fight it?

Houston does not have to re-create the wheel. We can copy what other successful No Kill cities and counties are doing. But, you must hire people who know how to take us there.

BTW: If you think that we do not know about the good ol’ boy/buddy deals struck with Mr. Fusco and others, you are mistaken. We do know and we are not happy. You should also know that all of the animal advocates in Houston have friends all over the State of Texas who are also animal advocates and who also vote. We will be making each and everyone of these people/groups are aware of Mayor White’s “solutions” for BARC.