Houston/ Community & Society
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Published on April 24, 2024
Houston's BARC Shelter Expands Intake Hours for Stray Animals Amid Rising DemandSource: Google Street View

Houston's animal shelter is throwing its doors open wider to deal with the city's stray pet problem. Starting April 28, the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC) will no longer require appointments for Sunday drop-offs of stray animals, between 1 and 3 p.m., as reported in an earlier announcement.

Jarrad Mears, BARC Shelter Director, laid out the dire stats. An uptick of over 5,000 calls in 2023 from the previous year has put the spotlight on the need to more effectively manage the stray animal crisis. "In 2023, BARC animal enforcement officers received 59,573 calls for service, an increase of more than 5,000 from 2022. This rise in call volume is indicative of the rising needs of our community, and I'm again proud of our staff for being proactive and expanding intake to further address the stray animal crisis in Houston," Mears told the publication. In an effort to literally let in more dogs and cats from the mean streets of Houston, this initiative aims to quickly address the needs of concerned citizens who happen upon stray animals.

The shelter reported its total intake was a staggering 19,209 in 2023, which outnumbers any other municipal shelter in the area, showing that this issue is no small puppy chow. According to Mears,"Our total intake in 2023 was 19,209, the highest of any municipal shelter in the Houston area. Most of these animals were brought in by our enforcement team. We answered nearly 60 percent of all calls for service last year as well, and hope that by expanding access to intake, we can more proactively address the needs of our residents and continue to protect public health and safety,"

Proof of Houston residency is required for the Sunday intake, and the policy remains the same for those looking to surrender their pets, noting the need to schedule an intake appointment online. BARC isn't turning a blind eye to the ripple effects of increased intakes either. They're actively rejiggering the Urgent Pets process to better promote animals who need homes fast and are at risk of euthanasia. "This will mean that more animals are entering the shelter. We are actively working with our rescue, foster, and volunteer partners to more quickly find forever families for our pets and open up much-needed kennel space for the growing number of animals coming to the shelter."  detailed Mears in the original source.

As part of their proactive efforts, BARC has introduced two new reports on their Urgent Pets page: "BARC Priority Pets" and "BARC At-Risk Animals". Both aim to highlight animals in need, with the former focusing on those with medical or behavioral issues and the latter on those in imminent danger of euthanasia. Transparency is key, and these reports are there to be a beacon for adoption or rescue partners to rally. For more information on how to become a rescue partner with BARC, interested parties can follow a provided link to their official website.