Nice to see that BARC (Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care) finally has a new animal shelter chief with the recent hiring of Ray Sim (Houston Chronicle, Bradley Olson, 5-17-09). The entire organization needs a major overhaul and effective management will be a key component. The City needs to work with Sim in laying out a new vision and direction for the bureau. My goal is for our city to ultimately become a No-Kill city. This is a critical issue that demands immediate attention, as the number of animals killed annually by BARC is staggering.
We must develop a 5-year strategic plan that incorporates various components: change the culture at BARC to attract/retain the best employees possible, provide better veterinary care at the facility, and increase funding by the city. We should also work closer with organizations such as SNAP, to increase spaying and neutering rates. As a candidate for City Council District H, it troubles me that a portion of the "corridor of cruelty" traverses through a portion of District H and nothing has been done. Our City should not be at the top of the list with the number of dog bites - this should be viewed as a major safety issue. We can also be more humane in the treatment of animals. We must bring greater awareness to our communities regarding this issue and I look forward to being a strong advocate on Houston City Council. The problems at BARC can be solved, but it will require greater collaboration. We must work with all stakeholders (ie: community members, schools, Harris County, rescue/adoption groups) in order to develop a successful foundation for BARC.