HOUSTON - BARC Houston's animal shelter says it must spay and neuter dogs and cats before putting them up for adoption. But when behavior issues are noted, those animals still don't make it out alive.
A 1-year-old German Shepherd mix, Hannah, was spayed on September 1, then euthanized the next day, according to kennel records.
"It's very cruel. It's not what an animal should have to go through, they're not even post-op yet," said Jennifer Rivera, founder of Woof and Meow Cat and Dog Rescue.
"As a taxpayer and a good human being, I think it's disgusting," said animal advocate Claudine Vass.
"I find it tragic, disturbing, but most of all, the inefficiency and cruelty of it baffles me," said animal advocate Luis Larotta. "I wish we'd get some more transparency behind what's going on at BARC."
BARC spokesperson Cory Stottlemyer told us he was too busy to talk on camera and sent written responses. He says Hannah was put down for behavior issues. He offered no reason why she was spayed the day before her death.
Wrangler was a 3-year-old German Shepherd mix brought to the shelter by BARC enforcement officers on August 16. Wrangler was neutered on August 22 and euthanized 10 days later.
"Two days before the clear the shelters event, the mega adoption event," said Jennifer Braudway with BARC Task Force.
BARC says Wrangler was euthanized for behavior issues.
"To me, it's unconscionable to put an animal through that procedure, spaying them, neutering them, just to euthanize them. It makes no sense," Larotta said.
Braudway says BARC's own records show a disturbing trend when it comes to euthanizing dogs that were fixed either at the shelter or before their arrival.
She says she looked at a seven-week period from August 1 through September 17.
"We had 74 animals that were spayed or neutered that were then killed out of 222," said Braudway, "That's roughly 33% of those animals killed."
Braudway says 75% of all the animals euthanized during that seven-week period were under 3 years old.
BARC sent FOX 26 a statement regarding Wrangler and Hannah saying the animals were on the Code Red list for behavior reasons and were initially impounded by its animal enforcement team.
"Per City of Houston Ordinance, all animals must be spayed or neutered before they are released from BARC. Therefore, shelter medical staff alter pets shortly after arrival so that when an adopter, foster, or rescue is interested in the pet, it can leave the shelter the very same day. This provides the shelter with much-needed space for that day’s incoming pets. In many instances, the spay/neuter is performed while the animal is sedated for other medical procedures, limiting the number of times the pet is subjected to sedation and preventing the unnecessary stress of multiple procedures."
"The only exceptions are animals that are too young or underweight for the surgery, which qualifies them for BARC’s "early adopt" program. In these cases, an animal’s surgery is scheduled before leaving the facility for the early adopt home, and the animal’s adoption is made final the day of surgery at the time of pick-up. An assigned team member is responsible for contacting individuals who are in breach of contract. The only exception to this is if it is medically inadvisable due to age or declining health."
"Wrangler, A1837351, was impounded by BARC enforcement officers on August 16, because he was one of three dogs reported for jumping on clients of a business on Canal Street. His neuter date was August 22. The shelter notes from his stay showed his behavior was difficult to manage: "Behavior (vocal, jumping on kennel door, pulls cover sheet into kennel, panting, got out of outside run and ran up to handler that had other pup, must be leash walked only)". Wrangler was humanely euthanized on September 1 after 18 days at the shelter."
On August 21, Hannah, A1838020, came to BARC from an HPD assistance call; she was impounded after she was reported to be attacking tenants and children at an apartment complex. She was spayed September 1. The shelter notes from her stay: "Behavior (dog reactive, baring teeth and barking at other dogs, stressed, heavy panting, high pitch whining)." Hannah was humanely euthanized on September 2, after almost two weeks at the shelter.