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Controversial BARC Hire Stirs Animal Rights Activists

Animal activists come to Houston city hall to voice their displeasure about the new chief veterinarian at The Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC). They’re upset because her license had been suspended in New Jersey. Pat Hernandez has the story.


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Houston’s choice to head BARC has come under fire after it learned that her license was suspended in New Jersey after a veterinary board found she had provided substandard care to three dogs. Eunice Ohasheigbula-Iwunze didn’t note the suspension on her application for Houston’s top animal post. Activist Kelly Cripe appeared before council to complain.

image of Activist Kelly Cripe“The state board concluded that her conduct, conduct that resulted in the deaths of three dogs, constituted gross negligence, gross malpractice, and gross incompetence. Yet, she was still hired by the city of Houston to care for the animals at BARC.”

She was upset that no one on council wanted to talk to her.

“It signals to me that the city doesn’t care about BARC. The mayor himself has gone on the record saying that BARC has issues and that these issues need to be addressed. However, he has done absolutely nothing to change those problems.”

Kathy Barton is with Houston’s Health Department. She says BARC is going through some major changes.

“Right now, it’s just really tough out at BARC because we don’t have a permanent bureau chief. A few years ago, we lost great deal of the leadership and the management infrastructure of that organization, so we lost the ability to thoroughly manage our data control system to thoroughly manage our fleet. So we’ve had a lot of problems that we’ve struggled with the last few months, but we’re looking forward to getting some new management out there. Not just one person, but several people who can take all of those loose ends and tighten it up and have a better operation.”

Councilmembers says they’ll meet to discuss problems plaguing BARC and what to do to improve the department.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.