Sad kitten is sadA veterinarian who left the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care after he was caught dispensing controlled substances without proper registration is now accused of botching routine surgeries on four kittens last week at his new job at a low-cost clinic. Marie Melancon told H ... More >>
Lacy, the famed Natachee's horse, nuzzles up to owner Jerry Don Luco. Jerry Don Luco, co-owner of Natachee's Supper & Punch, is a cowboy. He's got the hat, the boots, an endless supply of quirky Southern idioms, and like any good cowboy, Jerry has a horse. Her name is Lacy, and she's quickly ... More >>
Photo by abcrumleyCity Council once again delayed the vote on extending BARC Interim Chief Gerry Fusco's contract today, possibly killing any chance to revive the vote in the future. Fusco's initial agreement with the city, made possible via a $49,500 purchase order, expires Friday.Health a ... More >>
Veterinarian Gil Costas, fired from the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care last February for an alleged registration violation, has sued the City under the Texas Whistleblower Act.Filed today, the suit accuses the city of "trying to hurriedly squelch Dr. Costas and discredit him" after Costa ... More >>
It seems a day can't go by without some drama regarding the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care. Today's edition involves a 2006 allegation of abuse against BARC Interim Bureau Chief Gerry Fusco made by his then-wife. The Harris County Sheriff's Office report was posted on an online animal- ... More >>
Photo by allygirl520BARC could install a 3,000-square-foot building to house cats within a month, interim chief Gerry Fusco and Health and Human Services Spokeswoman Kathy Barton told Hair Balls Wednesday. It was a bit of welcome concrete information, something that's been scarce since Fus ... More >>
Photo by Craig MalisowShelby Kibodeaux, outside the courthouseA Harris County Court judge found probable cause this morning in the case of a BARC volunteer accused of filing a false police report; the next court date is scheduled for August 28. With all the change-agentization taking place at BAR ... More >>
BARC went through some housecleaning yesterday -- in a big way.In addition to the firing of veterinarian Eunice Ohashiegbula-Iwunze, other BARC personnel issues Wednesday included the resignation of Administrative Supervisor Dorian Strickland and a "disciplinary procedure in process" for vet tech ... More >>
Murray Bailey, the BARC kennel attendant accused of punching a puppy in the head in June, is no longer working at the facility, Health and Human Services Spokeswoman Kathy Barton tells Hair Balls. We're waiting to hear if there's an official explanation, but Barton said Bailey was still on his proba ... More >>
Photo by dunkvThe biggest surprise during yesterday's City Council Committee on Human Services and Technology meeting on BARC was not that it was three hours of meaningless bureaucratic babble -- Hair Balls had $50 on that -- but that the ghost of Dante Alighieri showed up. "Aband ... More >>
Photo by bf_photosWhen BARC volunteer Nela Brown accused a kennel attendant with a long criminal history of punching a puppy June 9, she assumed the matter would be investigated and the man would be dealt with accordingly. After all, when another volunteer, Shelby Kibode ... More >>
A stray puppy at BARC was placed in the wrong cage and washed down the drain last Thursday night, Health and Human Services Spokeswoman Kathy Barton confirmed today. She would not give the name or position of the person who placed the puppy in the cage, but said the person has been susp ... More >>
Photo by bf_photos BARC has inked a six-month contract with Houston consultant Gerry Fusco to address physical, financial and operational procedures at the troubled animal-control facility. Houston Health and Human Services spokeswoman Kathy Barton told Hair Balls that Fusco will be ... More >>
BARC Bureau Chief Ray Sim was fired today, spokeswoman Kathy Barton confirmed. She would not give specific reasons, saying only "I think it was just an issue of timing...[it was] not the right time for this guy." Sim began his job in May, after the Department of Health and Human Services conducted a ... More >>
Highlights from the Blog at HOUSTONPRESS.COM
Photo by elvissaToday's Chron column by Lisa Falkenberg, headlined "Finally, a bit of good news out of BARC," might have been more accurately titled "When Public Relations Attacks!" What the column lacks in actual news value and insight, it makes up for by highlighting what might be one of BARC's th ... More >>
Photo by R'eyesWe've got updates on last week's BARC stories; the delays of which could have easily been avoided by proactive public relations, which is apparently anathema to the animal control department of the nation's fourth-largest city.Last week's photo of exposed canine cadavers in the ... More >>
The World Health Organization has declared swine flu to be a pandemic, the first in over 40 years.It's doing it mostly on the basis of a sharp growth in cases in Australia, Japan and Chile, but just about every story on the subject -- at least in America -- mentions Houston.We were, of course, the f ... More >>
Photo by Martin EveringtonThe captured dog, waiting for BARC, is at least in the shade now.Meet the latest dog who will likely wind up on one of those BARC meatwagons Hair Balls discussed Wednesday.The pictures come from a friend of Jerry Heinemeier, who owns a produce business by Old Spanish Trail ... More >>
Photo by Daniel KramerWe're pretty sure the dude who coined that phrase about a hard task being akin to "nailing jelly to a wall" wasn't referring to getting news out of BARC, but he could've been.For one thing, Health and Human Services did not tell the media when BARC hired its new chief, Ray Sim. ... More >>
Hamilton Middle School, which was closed Thursday and Friday over swine flu concerns, has reopened, HISD and city officials said.Hamilton had been closed because an individual "had exposure to a known case" of the flu, Health and Human Services spokeswoman Kathy Barton tells Hair Balls. "And subsequ ... More >>
Photo by The Pug FatherThe first case of a death from swine flu has been reported -- and it's here in Houston.Of course, it's not exactly a Houstonian who, say, was attending an elementary school in HISD. It was an infant, born in Mexico, who got sick in Brownsville and was transported to Houston an ... More >>
No Dogs Allowed. So said the city health department last week when pets and their owners were turned away from a planned "Yappy Hour" at Beaver's on Decatur. The bar and restaurant had done a considerable amount of promoting for the new event, even sending out packets of dog biscuits to th ... More >>
A swine flu pandemic isn't a "foregone conclusion," according to the new alert level issued yesterday by the World Health Organization. But things are starting to get a little scary. Cue the travel warnings. The United States said not to head south of the border. The European Union said stay a ... More >>
Photo courtesy of finnadat NO SOUP FOR YOU!No Dogs Allowed. So said the city health department last week when pets and their owners were turned away from a planned "Yappy Hour" at Beaver's on Decatur. The bar and restaurant had done a considerable amount of promoting for the new eve ... More >>
Photo by bf_photosGetting 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 ... More >>
Photo by Daniel KramerVeterinarian David Rundell resigned today from the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care, spokeswoman Kathy Barton confirmed. Nicole Sica at the Houston Examiner was the first on the story. Rundell was suspended with pay three weeks ago for allegedly treating a sick d ... More >>
On Tuesday, Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care veterinarian Gil Costas was fired for what Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Kathy Barton said was not having proper state certification.Barton said Costas did not have "site-specific" Texas Department of Public Safety controlled-su ... More >>
Photo by Daniel KramerGil Costas, a part-time veterinarian at Houston's Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care, was fired today for lack of state-mandated certification, Houston Health and Human Services Spokeswoman Kathy Barton told Hair Balls. The news was originally broken by Nicole Sica, editor o ... More >>
The city's animal shelter just can't get its act together
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A closer look at a spiffy downtown park reveals it's crawling with rats
UTMB's controversial proposed deal with the city dies
The ultimate answer to too many strays, cash-strapped budgets, animal shelter abuses and starving people
Annabelle's Diner says a neighbor keeps using the city to lay siege to the cafe
You like fresh salmon? So do marine parasites.
There's a bull market on the meningitis vaccine. Are some doctors cashing in?
Does the health department's grading system ensure safe restaurants? Or is it just fuzzy math?
Advocates are working to unleash a plan for a public park where pooches can play
A jury helps a whistle-blower in his battle against city animal control unit abuses
Health Department fires a final whistle blower
Is a businessman's problem a preview of the poop ahead?
A veteran inspector's dismissal raises questions about asking questions in the city's health department
Even without the low pay, high turnover and oppressive conditions, city health inspectors can't manage the load