BARC's Firing Of Vet Doesn't Add Up

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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-substances registration. But Jane Ray, of DPS's controlled-substances division, told Hair Balls this morning that the "site-specific" factor only applies to where vets store narcotics -- not to where they handle them. Vets with active DPS and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency cetification can handle narcotics at any site, although they can only store drugs at one location.

Barton told Hair Balls this morning that she did not know if Costas was storing drugs at BARC -- which strikes us as strange, because if you're going to fire someone, wouldn't you want to have all your ducks in a row? Like show us a picture of a tiny freezer in a corner of BARC with a piece of paper taped to it saying "Dr. C's ketamine - hands off, bitches!" That way, the city could provide proof that Costas was breaking the law. So far, the city has not been able to provide such proof.

Generally, if you're going to spin a story, it's best to omit facts which are easily verifiable. Here are some suggestions on how to do this:

-- Say the employee was fired for possessing a supernaturally foul body odor. "Oh, but Hair Balls," you say, "couldn't this be disproved by dispatching an undercover reporter to surreptitiously sniff the employee?" Possibly. But if the person is found to smell OK on Wednesday, the city could just say he or she took a bath. It's down to he said, city said. No actual facts are at play, so the city's in good shape.

-- Say the employee is a serial killer. This accusation is so brazen that no one would have any choice but to accept it as fact. C'mon, who in their right mind would fabricate such a story? Reporters would say to themselves, "There's no way the city would lie about such a serious thing, so we have to believe it's true, and we're not even going to check for bodies in the crawlspace."

-- Say the employee was fired for inability to play bagpipes. Then point reporters to the part in the state constitution where it says all municipal employees must be bagpipe-proficient. Boo-ya!
-- Say the employee has cooties.

These are but a few ways a city can go about firing someone without just cause. And they all make more sense than what Hair Balls was told on Tuesday.

-- Craig Malisow

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