Houston animal shelter BARC has new director, first time in 10 years

Before our interview with new BARC director Jarrad Mears, he wanted us to see firsthand what an average day of stray intake at BARC looks like.

"We average about 60 dogs a day that come through our doors," said Mears.

Once they arrive, all the dogs are checked for a microchip, tested for heartworms, and medically assessed.

"Every call that we answer is based on the severity of the situation," Mears said. 

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There are so many calls to BARC for dog bites and aggressive dogs. Animal cruelty officers can only respond to about 58 percent of them.

"We're not killers we're here to help animals and we're here to help people," said Mears.

He's BARC's first new director in a decade.

"I don't want to euthanize any animals, but the fact of the matter is we have more animals than there are people willing and able to take them," Mears said.

Critics take to social media blasting BARC, but the shelter's live release rate is improving and is now around 86 percent.

Mears points out euthanasia is not the worst fate an animal can find themselves in.

"We find dogs in terrible condition and I would rather them come here and get humane compassionate care instead of lying out in the street getting run over by cars, dying a cruel death in the ditch or God forbid attacking somebody or hurting a person," he said.

While some take potshots at BARC, Mears praises his employees.

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"What we are doing here is nothing short of a miracle," he said. "We have a $15 million a year budget compared to Dallas which is $21 million with half our population. San Antonio is $28 million."

There are many reasons for Houston's over-animal population crisis, including irresponsible pet owners and a lack of spay and neutering.

But Mears says he's ready to tackle the issue.

"We have a new administration coming and I'm very excited to meet with him," said the new director. "I have a lot of ideas I'm holding close to my chest. I need to find out what their priorities are."

Adoption fees are waived through Dec. 17. You can adopt or foster a dog from BARC and make your best Christmas ever