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Mayor Makes Animal Shelter Changes

More changes are on the way for the city's controversial animal shelter known as BARC, KPRC Local 2 reports.
/ Source: Click2Houston.com

More changes are on the way for the city's controversial animal shelter known as BARC, KPRC Local 2 reported Tuesday.

Houston Mayor Bill White said he will move BARC out of the city's health department. It is unclear whether BARC will become its own city department or will be under another department's supervision.

White said continuing issues at BARC have become a distraction for the health department and believes the move would help give the shelter a "clean slate" as it continues to make changes.

In July, Local 2 Investigates exposed how numerous dogs and puppies were becoming sick and dying after being adopted from BARC. Investigative reporter Amy Davis uncovered how BARC leaders were unable to figure out or track how many animals were actually vaccinated against a fatal canine virus.

Weeks later, the city fired the chief veterinarian and several other employees.

Volunteers inside BARC have complained to city leaders for years about everything from poor conditions to claims workers were mistreating animals.

On Monday, a former chief vet sued the city, saying he was fired after he pointed out serious problems.

Also, city council is expected to vote on Wednesday on whether to extend a full $208,000 contract for consultant Gerry Fusco. He has been working at BARC for weeks, charged with overhauling the shelter.

Full Statement from Frank Michel, spokesman for Mayor White

"We will be working to remove BARC from the Health Department over the next couple of weeks.

"The continuing issues have been a distraction for many of the good people of the Health Department who are doing excellent jobs on human health and other programs.

"It also will allow us to work through the turnaround process with more of a clean slate.

"The decision to move BARC does not preclude moving it back, once the turnaround process is completed or has made significant progress."