Volunteers fear policy change will increase euthanasia rate - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Volunteers fear policy change at BARC will increase euthanasia rate

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BARC, the city's dog pound, is the first to admit rescue groups, fosters and volunteers are the only reason many animals walk out of the shelter alive.

"Just last year they pulled more than 5000 animals from BARC," said Chris Newport, the shelter's spokesman.

"I'm one of the many volunteer rescue people with BARC," Julie Strother said.

Strother said she's rescued 75 to 80 dogs over the last year by using what's called a "last resort" hold.

"You would notify BARC and let them know that you are interested in a dog but you wanted to give others the opportunity to pull a dog from the shelter before you would actually commit to pull the dog," Strother said.

If no one else stepped in BARC would contact the person who requested the last resort hold and the animal would escape euthanasia.

But not anymore.

According to this e-mail BARC sent to various rescue groups and fosters, the last resort hold has become, "too resource intensive for BARC to manage."

"We have a hundred animals lining up everyday to come in," Newport said.

"There will be more animals euthanized as a result of removing the last resort hold," said BARC volunteer Rhonda Barron.

A concern we've been hearing from a number of BARC volunteers.

"It's something they should be embracing and thanking the people offering their services and not saying no to it," said BARC volunteer Norma Welsther.

Doing away with the last resort hold is just one of many recent changes at BARC that some volunteers say just makes it more difficult for them to save lives.

"With the new rules we can not go to BARC unannounced if we enter the guard shack we'll be turned away," Barron said. "We can't even go into BARC."

BARC says most of their volunteers are in favor of all the recent changes.

"Our volunteers generally understand where we are coming from with these type of things and they've been acceptable of it," said Newport.

But some volunteers tell us new policies like abolishing the last resort hold have left them wondering if BARC's mission is really about saving lives.

"The goal, I thought was to try to save dogs from the shelter and euthanasia," Strother said. "This policy goes against all of that."

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