BARC Director Gone With Shelter Reorganization

David Atencio at BARC. Photographs taken on January 5, 2010. photos by Bill Stamps.
The man who led recent changes at Houston's BARC Animal Shelter has left the agency amid a reorganization effort.

David Atencio took over as the head of the day-to-day operations at BARC in early 2010. We talked to him shortly after he started his new job.

"We've stabilized BARC. It's what we call phase one, or what I use from the old Karate Kid, wax on, wax off. I can say that this team, after six months, really has done a great job."

In a recent memo to city council, the head of the city's Department of Administration and Regulatory Affairs announced another reorganization at BARC, including the departure of Atencio. The memo says Atencio elected to pursue other opportunities and the city wouldn't confirm if he'd been fired or resigned. Chris Newport is with BARC.

"Dave Atencio was absolutely crucial. He played a leading role in the progress that we've accomplished and we've got a very, very strong management team in place at BARC and we are completely confident that we're going to continue moving forward to create the best shelter in the United States."

BARC says it has improved its euthanization rate over the past few years and is doing a better job of returning stray dogs and cats to owners. But Bett Sundermeyer with No-Kill Houston says she's not so sure things have improved.

"We were all hopeful that with a new director and a new department, BARC was moved from the Health Department to the ARA Department and these new employees that this would really set BARC up to save a lot more lives. But since that time we really haven't seen that much progress and with all these things in place, BARC should have been on a firm footing to move forward."

So far no word on who will replace David Atencio at BARC. The shelter says it is doing a better job overall and reunited more than 1100 lost or stray animals with their owners last year.

 

BARC released the statement below: