This week, KHOU 11 is all about the animals.
Most people love their cats and dogs, but you can have too much of a good thing. Houston has too many animals and not enough homes or places for them to live.
Strays, surrenders and the abused pour into BARC and similar shelters every year. For the animals, their lives are left to a lottery of sorts. Gio Sibrian sits patiently inside BARC’s adoption clinic.
“I’ve probably seen about six different dogs,” Sibrian said.
“535,” shouts a BARC employee. Sibrain steps up to the counter to sign paperwork. Today, there’s one winner: a dog named Sport who is now a part of Sibrian’s family. Unfortunately, not all the animals that come through shelter doors are as lucky.
“It’s (stray animals) a lot,” said BARC Director, Greg Damianoff. “You have a lot of people from all over the place that have all kinds of needs and we’re just one location.”
Nearly 34,000 animals came into BARC last year. One-fifth of them never found a home. They either died of natural causes or were euthanized.
Cities across the nation are also overflowing with animals. But Houston is different. It’s a bigger problem in our city because of our growth, culture and weather.
1. Without a real winter, Houston has a year-round breeding season.
2. We’re also the most diverse city in the nation.
“I think the more diverse a community gets the more difficult it becomes to have everybody understand what has to be done in order to be a responsible pet owner,” Damianoff said.
3. Another issue is constant relocation. In the past, BARC has spent time and resources trying to educate Houstonians in troubled areas of the city, but it’s not that easy.
“No matter what we do this year, there’s going to be 30 percent of the people will be different by next years’ time frame and they may not have any idea about what we do and how to be a responsible pet owner," Damianoff said.
4) Finally, Damianoff says there’s a strong culture resistance to spaying and neutering animals.
“We have to continue to beat down that resistance or ignorance to that stuff to make that go away,” Damianoff said.
This mixture of issues make Houston a harder place for animals to survive.
Adopting animals, like Sibrian, is only part of the battle. According to people at BARC, getting your pets spayed and neutered is a major priority. BARC provides as many free procedures as possible and low-cost surgeries via ‘Fixin’ Houston Spay and Neuter Clinic.
More organizations providing low-cost/free spay and neuter services: