BARC Wants More City Money Now, Or Dogs And Staffers Will Die

The Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control vaccinated only eight percent of animals on entry between July 2008 and January 2009, according to a BARC supplement asking for additional funding from the city.

"Best industry standard is to vaccinate all animals entering a shelter, to minimize the spread of disease among the existing animal population," the report states (original emphasis included). "This management decision translates into concrete efforts to promote and create a population of animals that can be adopted."

Titled "FY 2010 BARC Supplement Personnel Requests," the supplement states that $569,881 is needed to hire personnel, prevent a food shortage and disease among animals and people, and possibly prevent the release of "deadly chlorine gas" due to "ad hoc" mixing of chemicals used in cleaning.

The supplement states that if BARC does not receive $90,000 for vaccines, it could "contribute to the spread of disease among humans who come into contact with the animals."

Also, if BARC doesn't receive $60,000 for food, it "would lead to a shortage of food for the animals staying longer at BARC."

Chemicals used in cleaning are also a problem.

"Current procedures require staff to mix chemicals ad hoc, leading to inconsistent mixing ratios," the supplement states. "We are currently toting large (5 gal) buckets to each of the nine kennel wards/rows and scooping solution out of a 50 gallon bucket and tossing into each kennel prior to scrubbing. The north kennel housing facility does not exchange enough air with the current system (currently about 35 percent exchange rate) to control the odor generated by the large number of animals in the facility."

If BARC doesn't receive $29,000 for proper chemicals, "the continued use of bleach with unregulated mixtures will lead to increase odors." Also, "exposure to chlorine bleach is a health hazard for all exposed humans and animals. Accidental mixing of bleach with ammonia would release deadly chlorine gas."

Using better disinfectants would "help reduce the transmission of disease in the shelter," the supplement states.

The additional requests are for a staff vet and vet techs; support personnel; raises for senior animal control officers; increased contracting for spay/neuter services; and micro-chipping.

Hair Balls has asked Dept. of Health and Human Services Spokeswoman Kathy Barton to comment on this report, so we'll let you know when we hear back. But in the meantime, it might be important to remember that, per Mayor Bill White, BARC's problems are a "community" responsibility -- so if you don't want the animals to starve to death or if you don't want any volunteers to be exposed to deadly chlorine gas, you better cough up some dough. After all, why should trivial things like "vaccinations" and "food" be the responsibility of the Dept. of Health and Human Services?


KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Contributor Craig Malisow covers crooks, quacks, animal abusers, elected officials, and other assorted people for the Houston Press.
Contact: Craig Malisow