Houston’s Animal Control Has New Boss

Mayor Anise Parker isn’t the only one people will be watching closely as the new year gets underway. The City of Houston’s Bureau of Animal Regulations and Care has a new leader as well. As Bill Stamps reports, the new manager takes over a troubled department with a history of turmoil.


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David Atencio with dogHis name is David Atencio. You may not have heard of him before and he’d probably like to keep it that way. That’s because the less he’s mentioned,  the better job he’s probably doing. It’s his third week on the job — running BARC — the department in charge of Houston’s stray animals.

The department went through two managers last year. You can tell he genuinely loves animals as he walked the corridors of the Northeast Houston facility, but some might question hiring a man who’s experience is in the fitness industry.

“I had experience obviously in organizational skills, development of personnel, staff, hiring, development of that staff putting the right people in place, coaching, so there’s a lot more to it than a fitness expert.”

Atencio was hand picked by interim manager Gerry Fusco. Fusco has no doubts he made the right choice.

“I think he’s gonna help take this place to the next level, which is very important. It was important to me. It was important to the city from day one.”

Atencio will have his hands full. At one point last year, a city council woman said she got more email about animal control than all the others agencies combined.

Atencio comes from California’s Bay Area and is a big Raiders fan. A terrible team who’s owner has fired six coaches this decade. I asked him if can relate…given the history of the department he’s taking over.

barc dog“I’m a true passionate Raider fan. You know, I’m not going to be lost because we lose. I’m going to try and find the solution and help out. Same thing at BARC. I’m not going to walk away from 500 plus dogs and cats because of the past. Can’t. Would not. And so everyday I get to come in with a renewed passion and love for working with cats and dogs and I’d say that if you’ve never been down to BARC, you need to come down and see all the things we’re doing.”

barc puppyLike Football teams, Atencio’s success will also be measured in wins and losses. As in how many animals they lose or keep alive by finding new homes. They have a gameplan in place but success won’t be easy.

“It’s always going to be a challenge to continue to find good homes for our dogs and cats.”

The NFL just concluded its regular season and once again the Raiders are expected to fire their head coach. Atencio believes his department is already making great strides and that he’ll be coaching Houston’s Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care for years to come.

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