HOUSTON Over the weekend 412 homeless animals came in to BARC, the City of Houston s animal shelter in northeast Houston.
Eighty animals came in just today. All of them need homes but more than that, animal advocates say people in Houston need to become more responsible pet owners.
This is the peak season when BARC is almost overrun with homeless dogs and cats.
Our busiest months of the year are usually April through August, said Ashtyn Rivet, BARC Marketing and Outreach Lead.
Adding to the problem, experts said, are the facts that Houston s climate is warm practically year round and there is a bayou system that provides good animal hang-outs.
Advocates like Gloria Zenteno said adoptions would help but that may be the tail wagging the dog.
There s too many animals, not enough fosters, not enough adopters, she said.
She wants the city to start a massive public awareness campaign.
How about a soccer player or a Rockets player holding a pit bull and stressing the importance of spaying and neutering your animal, Zenteno suggested as a possible campaign.
Officials at BARC said the problem is bigger than them, bigger than government.
We have a hundred people on staff and we could have a thousand people on staff, but it s going to take a community to really get one message and get the word out, Rivet said.
Those on all sides of the issue agree, things have gone too far and something more needs to be done about the city s strays.
It s becoming a safety issue, a health issue, a quality of life concern, Zenteno said.
There is some good news. The city s new budget increases BARC s funding from $9 million to $12 million starting in July. That will include one full time educational officer.