The Mayor approved “change agent”, Gerry Fusco, to “turn around” BARC.  This person has absolutely NO animal sheltering experience whatsoever.  We believe this is a complete waste of money and resources.  The city should hire people who actually have experience in transforming high kill shelters, such as BARC, into No Kill shelters……. eople such as Nathan Winograd who actually do have experience in the area and would charge the city almost 1/10 of the amount the Mayor has promised Mr. Fusco.

If you are as appalled about this waste of time and money as we are, PLEASE SPEAK UP TO YOUR COUNCIL MEMBER NOW. The Mayor has paid Mr. Fusco part of his fee, but city council has NOT yet voted to pay him the rest of the money.  Council has to approve the rest of this expenditure. This contract will likely be on the agenda in the next two weeks. The new agendas are posted on the City of Houston web site on Friday.

Please email, write  letters and CALL City Council Members.  Please ask them to vote AGAINST Gerry Fusco’s contract. We could get this voted down if enough noise is made.   FYI: You can leave voice mail at night that they will have to pick up the next day.

Talking points are below if you need them:
* You are appalled that the city would spend $200,000 on yet ANOTHER consultant who has NO ANIMAL SHELTERING experience whatsoever.

* How can Fusco turn BARC around when he has no experience in the subject matter at all?

* How about investing in someone who actually does have experience in successfully turning high kill shelters such as BARC into No Kill shelters?  They could hire Nathan Winograd for almost 1/10 of that amount and he actually HAS experience in successfully turning shelters like BARC around.

* Perhaps this is just another way to control what information gets out…just like MCV who said they were not allowed to say certain things in the meeting. This was obviously because of who was paying their tab.

* Some people have been trying to get a commitment from the city for just a few thousand dollars so that BARC could have an offsite adoption location in a high traffic retail space. Do you know how many locations that $200k would pay for? Do you know how many animals would get adopted if BARC had adoption sites in high traffic locations all over the city?

* Do you know how many spay/neuters $200k could pay for especially in impoverished areas like the Corridor of Cruelty?
* Do you know how much food, heartguard or other services $200k could buy that would help keep pets in their homes, instead of being dumped at a  shelter? (a friend said she kept 12,000 animals out of her shelter in one year by offering these types of services and other advice).

* The MOST IMPORTANT element of a successful shelter is a compassionate, hard working bureau chief.  The city needs to hire Bonnie Ford as the Bureau Chief and then wholeheartedly support her efforts at BARC.

*The city needs to remove BARC from the Dept of Health and Human Services. It should be its own a stand-alone department. The Health Dept has proven that it cannot run BARC effectively.

* And most importantly if they think that we are going to be quiet for the next 6 months while they spend $200k on this idea, they should think again.  We will be speaking out about BARC and the city’s failures right up until election day and beyond.

We must stand together and DEMAND change.
Contact City Council today.

Contact Info for City of Houston / BARC personnel


No Kill Houston has had many meetings with Stephen Williams and his Incident Command Team. We have heard many promises that gave us hope that Williams was sincere in his desire to make improvements at BARC.  But, after many months of working hard on various committees but seeing no real improvements in the kill rate, the inhumane treatment or disease prevention, we have given up hope.  On 6/29 I asked Mr. Williams point blank over and over what has been done to reduce the killing and the only answer I received was that it looks better and smells better.  So, just as many animals are dying horrible deaths in a building that looks and smells better.  We’re not impressed.

We believe hiring of Mr. Sim only proves Mr. Williams lack of committment to real life saving change at BARC.  Mr. Sim stays in his office with the door shut every day.  He is being “mentored” every single day by Dr. Terasso but is still failing to do the most basic things such as reaching out to the community.  Some of the kennel attendants are literally starving animals to death, yet there are no repercussions and these employees are simply moved to another Ward to torture a different group of animals. This must stop!

We must stand together and DEMAND change.
Contact the Mayor and City Council.  Send a letter to them today.
Click here for a form letter you can download and send. 
Feel free to add your own feelings

Contact Info for City of Houston / BARC personnel


Nathan Winograd has sent sent the city 3 requests for information.  The city said they will have all the information to respond to the 2nd request by the end of June.Winograd just sent the 3rd request last weekend.  It was pretty short.  As soon as the city gets all the requested information to Winograd and he has a chance to review, then he can schedule his visit.


Stephen Williams, Director of Health and Human Services  relayed the following information to me. 
Williams is talking to Winograd about perhaps being involved in a more ongoing fashion.  He said he was thinking about having Winograd on a retainer so that he could have him back in Houston periodically.
He said he was out at BARC recently and saw things he was not pleased with. He is seeing that there are supervision and accountability issues. I agreed because I’m still seeing issues that were supposed to be fixed some time ago. I’m not sure if this is something that Williams will ask Winograd to assist with, or if he will continue to try to solve it with his staff. I was just glad to hear that he is seeing some of the same things I’ve seen. BTW: I asked him what I should do when I saw issues a BARC and he said to report it to the manager on duty right then. If that didn’t fix it, then I should escalate it to the next level. You all can do this as well, if you wish.
Williams visited the San Francisco SPCA (where Winograd was director) and a couple other shelters when they were in CA last week. I asked him what he thought and he said the first thing he noticed was a different attitude with the employees. He said there is a different culture there. That is something he would like to change at BARC.  Last Monday, I had told him that one of the things that I heard from many shelter directors at the No Kill conference in DC was that once a no kill director got to a shelter, there was a always big turnover in staff. Either they left on their own or were fired. That was the one thing that they ALL said.
He said they have been frustrated trying to change the culture and attitudes of current employees, along with trying to hire new people with the right attitudes.


UPDATE 10/2008
In October 2008, the City of Houston agreed to hire Mr. Winograd to perform an assessment of B.A.R.C.
(Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care i.e. animal control or city pound). Citizens of Houston raised the money to pay for Mr. Winograd’s fees. 
After almost 4 months of negotiations, the city finally signed Mr. Winograd’s assessment contract. There is still quite a bit of information that the city must supply to Mr. Winograd before he can come to Houston for the assessment.  We will keep you updated. 
Click here to read Winograd’s Assessment Contract