BARC Whistleblower's Case To Continue

BARC Protest081009.jpg
Photo by Craig Malisow
Shelby Kibodeaux, outside the courthouse
A Harris County Court judge found probable cause this morning in the case of a BARC volunteer accused of filing a false police report; the next court date is scheduled for August 28.

With all the change-agentization taking place at BARC, Hair Balls was surprised that no one from BARC called the prosecutor and asked for the charges to be dropped. But apparently, there's only so much "change" to go around.

"I want to go home and cry," defendant Shelby Kibodeaux told reporters in the hallway outside Judge Jay Karahan's court. "...I'm embarrassed, it's just ridiculous."

Kibodeaux also claimed the footage from BARC the Houston Police Department's Office of Inspector General reviewed in its investigation was incomplete -- that there is footage of him entering and exiting the building, but none relevant to the alleged incident of dog abuse he complained about hearing.

He also said he was encouraged by the handful of protesters who demonstrated outside the courthouse before his hearing.

Health and Human Services Spokeswoman Kathy Barton said she couldn't discuss the case, explaining in an e-mail, "This is a legal case we cannot comment upon."

When we asked Gerry Fusco, who has been named BARC's acting director, about the case, he said no one's filled him in on it yet -- pretty surprising, since a lot of critics believe this prosecution has been orchestrated to silence folks who speak up about abuse they've witnessed at BARC. (Although Kibodeaux never even named anyone in his complaint, he stated that heard abusive language coming from a woman with an unusual accent, which would likely be former Chief Vet Eunice Ohashiegbula-Iwunze, who was fired last week).

Prosecutor Rachel Palmer, deputy chief of the misdemeanor division, told Hair Balls that she has not yet seen the BARC footage. In the meantime, we're also waiting to hear if anyone at HPD can confirm or deny Kibodeaux's claim about the footage.

While Fusco has been winning raves from some previously skeptical critics for being paid $35,000 a month to recommend the firing of people who so obviously should never have been hired in the first place, he apparently has no involvement in this case. Which is a shame, because if Kibodeaux is found guilty and sent to jail, why on Earth would any other BARC volunteer complain about animal abuse -- unless they had the footage to back it up?


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