HOUSTON - A photo has been shared tens of thousands of times on social media since it was posted a few days ago but many are concerned if it is real.

The Facebook post claims that the long line of people seen in the photo were waiting to dump unwanted animals at BARC, a Houston animal shelter.

Our Verify team went to work to confirm if this was true or not. Here's what we found:

  • The picture is real, but the caption is not
  • Our fact-checkers went straight to Ashtyn Rivet Hooper with BARC, who says that some people in that line may have been dropping off animals, but some were also in line for wellness checks and other services that the shelter provides.
  • Hooper says BARC takes in more than 26,000 animals a year.
  • Around 80% of them are saved, either by being adopted out to people or by BARC's rescue partners.
  • Hooper also said that the post got the attention of national media.
  • BARC is an open admission shelter, meaning that it's required by law to take in every single dog and cat that comes in.
  • The staff of more than 130 people, along with hundreds of volunteers and foster pet parents, work hard to get those animals into forever homes.

While we can verify that the photo is real, the "facts" behind it are false.

On Friday, we spoke to the woman who took the photo, Alli Richard.

"It was to be shared privately, never publicly, I never meant for it to be shared publicly or with that post," said Richard.

She said she was at BARC on Tuesday, hoping to find her friend's lost dog, but the line was long and she wanted to show her friend.

"I sent it to my friend, I shared it with colleagues, and at that point, it was posted without me knowing," said Richard.

She said she is happy we verified the caption is false and happy to have the story finally set straight.

"I just think it's really important for everybody to take a second to really research before you react," she said.

For more information about adopting pets in Houston, click here.

VERIFY: Sources

Ashtyn Rivet Hooper, BARC

Alli Richard


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