BARC Has New Boss

The agency in charge of Houston’s stray dogs and cats has a new leader. The Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control has gone through a lot of turmoil in recent years. But with today’s announcement, they’re hoping to put all of that in the past. Bill Stamps has more.


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The agency known as BARC went through two general managers earlier this year and then there was bickering about contract of the interim manager Gerry Fusco. Come February, Fusco will be gone. The new top DAWG will be former 24 Hour Fitness Vice President of Sales David Atencio. Atencio calls this his dream job.

“There’s a lot of great things going on at BARC right now, so my roll is going to be to take it to the next level.”

City councilmember said they got more emails about BARC this year than any other agency. Almost none of them were good. Fusco was brought in this summer to right the ship. Mostly to improve what they call live releases:

“The adoptions, the fosters, the rescues, and get more animals out of BARC alive. And I’m proud to say that in November we achieved an all time record at BARC of 942 animals released.”

Fusco says one of the changes he made was to add another staff member that specifically works with volunteers and rescue groups. Those were some of the groups that were most critical of the agency. Still, Fusco says none of that matters if they can’t control the overall number of strays.

“If we don’t control animal population, obviously the rates of rescues and fosters and adoptions cannot keep up with that, so we really need to control the population.”

The new general manager will start on Monday and will have six weeks to get up to speed before Fusco says goodbye.

“The great things I got Jerry for six weeks, so for me, that’s invaluable. But I also know that I’ve got Jerry for me anytime and that was important for me when I took over this role, to have some great transition, to make sure that I was successful.”

BARC’S animal housing facility is in the process of undergoing a 3-million dollar makeover. They’re adding space, but they’re also hoping to work with other rescue groups in Texas. Their hoping all of these changes will mean fewer and fewer animals will have to be put to sleep.

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