BARC Down To Its Last Vet

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Veterinarian 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 dog with Valium he brought into facility. Rundell, who animal welfare activists have complained about for years, operated without proper state registration for most of his time at BARC.

"We have posted that position, and we have been trying to bring in temp vets or part-time vets for about two, three weeks now," Barton told Hair Balls.

This leaves Chief Veterinarian Eunice Ohashiegbula-Iwunze as the only full-time vet at BARC, which handles over 25,000 animals a year. (Prior to working at BARC, Ohashiegbula-Iwunze worked in New Jersey, where she was reprimanded twice - including one suspension - by that state's veterinary board. The board accused her of "gross negligence, gross malpractice, or gross incompetence" in her mistreatment of three dogs who subsequently died. In one case, according to the board's records, Ohashiegbula-Iwunze "testified that she was under the influence of Ultraset, a drug prescribed to her by her physician following a diagnosis of a herniated disc" while treating one of the dogs).

Prior to Rundell's suspension, the Health and Human Services Department fired part-time vet Gil Costas for a technicality relating to his controlled-substances registration - which, unlike Rundell, he held consistently. (The city's interpretation of the controlled-substances statute was that all vets are required to notify the state of all addresses where they handle or distribute certain drugs. Officials at the Texas Department of Public Services have told Hair Balls and other media that only a primary address is needed.)

You can read all about the wacky, wild world of BARC in a story we did here.

Meanwhile, the city is closer to finalizing a contract with no-kill advocate Nathan Winograd to perform a "snapshot" assessment of BARC. Winograd's $8,000 fee has been covered by his supporters.

No date has been set for the assessment, but Winograd will give a seminar March 28 at the South Texas College of Law's Joe Green Auditorium. He is being sponsored by No Kill Houston, which is selling tickets for $14.99 at www.nokillhouston.org, or for $20 at the door.

The proceeds will go toward covering the seminar's expense, according to Bett Sundemeyer of No Kill Houston.

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