No Vets At BARC, And A Struggle To Get The Story Straight

Getting a veterinarian to work weekends at the animal control facility for the nation's fourth-largest city is a real pain.

Take Saturday. No vet showed up, even though, according to Health & Human spokesperson Kathy Barton, the city had arranged for a relief vet through a temp agency called RSVP. (Although Ben Hernandez at HHS previously told Hair Balls that he was assuming Barton's duties, it turns out that was not the case. But you know how dang confused they get over there at BARC!)

However, Eddy Koch, the Houston director of RSVP, says his agency had no such arrangement. He said there was an arrangement for Sunday, and that the relief vet called in sick.

And then it gets more confusing, because while important folks like HHS Assistant Director Michael Terraso speak openly and freely with some volunteers, he's never spoken directly with Hair Balls. So this morning, Terraso e-mailed a volunteer about the weekend mix-up, stating "The unfortunate circumstance of this last weekend was the result of relief vets not showing up as scheduled on Saturday and Sunday and not calling to let the management know. "

Which is perfectly in keeping with what Barton told us. But at 2:56 pm today, he e-mailed that volunteer again to say, "I apologize, but I was in error in the email I sent earlier. I have been told that a vet was not scheduled for last Saturday.  I am investigating as to why one was not scheduled."

So, for publication, Health and Human Services tells us one thing. And then, in a private e-mail, the assistant director says the complete opposite.

Not having a vet around means animals can't get rabies shots, which means animals can't be adopted, which means space fills up, which means animals need to be killed to make space for animals to come in to a facility that can't even schedule a weekend vet.

And Hair Balls hasn't even gotten into the fact that even when BARC is able to wrangle a weekend vet, they don't all have the Texas Department of Public Safety certification to handle certain drugs. Which, we suppose, is better than no vet at all.


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