Check out the Plans for BARC's Bitchen Adoption Center

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Illustrations from BARC
BARC's new HQ: Click here to enlarge
Mayor Annise Parker joined other officials in unveiling designs for a planned $12 million adoption center for the historically troubled Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care Tuesday.

Scheduled to break ground in October, the initial phase of the center will be funded by $4.1 million in capital improvement project money and will comprise free-roaming cat "display windows," and three separate units that can hold 128 dogs. One of the units is a dedicated nursery that can hold 64 mother dogs with their puppies. It will also include a courtyard -- part of a planned quadrangle for an exercise area and space for potential owners to get acquainted with the dogs. The center will be located adjacent to the existing facility, on 2.2 acres the city acquired for a cool $72,500 at a tax sale.

Parker announced the plans at the current BARC building, a Thunderdome-like structure with a long history of abject suckage -- something the Mayor alluded to by saying that "It
was designed to take animals off the street and hold them until they could be euthanized. It was never really designed as a place for people to adopt animals, a place for the public to come and be comfortable. The new adoption center is designed to be exactly that -- a welcoming place for people who want a permanent companion adopted through BARC."

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But one of the biggest obstacles to proper care of homeless animals is a local culture that doesn't place a "priority" on spaying and neutering their pets, she said.

"The reason that we have the challenges that we do in this facility is irresponsible pet owners. End of sentence," Parker said.

The city is seeking private funding for the $8 million needed for four subsequent phases, to include: additional dog and cat adoption areas, administrative/volunteer training space, and low-cost spay/neuter clinics.

The center will be designed with the animals' quality of life in mind, with guillotine doors (no, not that kind of guillotine) to let the dogs come and go into the courtyard; it will also have fans and skylights.

Pointing out some of these snazzy details was BARC's operations manager Greg Damianoff, who has also assumed the daily operations role previously held by David Atencio, who quietly left BARC earlier this year for reasons unknown. (In a memo to Parker and City Council, the head of the department that oversees BARC, Alfred Moran, stated that Atencio "elected to pursue other opportunities outside the city of Houston.")

We must say, this is pretty dang huge, and we give props to Parker's administration, as well as the architects and designers involved, which include a design firm, PBK, that's working as a pro-bono consultant. Trees for Houston and Lauren Griffith Associates will donate trees and landscape architecture services. (We hear dogs like trees). Jackson & Ryan Architects is the architect of record, and Balfour Beatty is the construction manager at-risk.

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5 comments
Bett Sundermeyer
Bett Sundermeyer

While I think it is great that Mayor Parker is finally using the money that was set aside for BARC by Bill White’s administration back in 2009, I am disappointed in the location chosen for this project.  In order for a shelter to stop killing pets, they must concentrate on high volume adoptions which means that the animals must be seen by the public.  BARC’s physical location is not at all conducive to high volume adoptions.   We’ve seen this for years, including the last 2 years under Parker's watch. Adoptions at BARC have always been low considering that Houston has 2.2 million potential adopters.   If you have been to BARC, you can see very quickly why the location is not conducive to adoptions. In the past, Parker has even agreed with this.  In fact, in February 2010, Parker wrote that BARC’s “out of the way location” deters adoptions. (See her letter here: http://bit.ly/c9LVg1)   So why would she want to build even more shelter space in an area that she herself said “deters adoptions”?  Why not build in a higher traffic area where the animals would actually have a chance to be seen by the adopting public?  Wouldn't that be a wiser use of the precious few tax dollars that is given to BARC animals?  This location makes no sense.   Also, what happened to all of the money people donated for the Gragg Park/Ann Young adoption facility the city claimed to be building in 2010, but has never started?  Is that money sitting in the city’s coffers somewhere?

Bett Sundermeyer
Bett Sundermeyer

While I think it is great that Mayor Parker is finally using the money that was set aside for BARC by Bill White’s administration back in 2009, I am disappointed in the location chosen for this project.  In order for a shelter to stop killing pets, they must concentrate on high volume adoptions which means that the animals must be seen by the public.  BARC’s physical location is not at all conducive to high volume adoptions.   We’ve seen this for years, including the last 2 years under Parker's watch. Adoptions at BARC have always been low considering that Houston has 2.2 million potential adopters.   If you have been to BARC, you can see very quickly why the location is not conducive to adoptions. In the past, Parker has even agreed with this.  In fact, in February 2010, Parker wrote that BARC’s “out of the way location” deters adoptions. http://bit.ly/c9LVg1   So why would she want to build even more shelter space in an area that she herself said “deters adoptions”?  Why not build in a higher traffic area where the animals would actually have a chance to be seen by the adopting public?  Wouldn't that be a wiser use of the precious few tax dollars that is given to BARC animals?  This location makes no sense.   Also, what happened to all of the money people donated for the Gragg Park/Ann Young adoption facility the city claimed to be building in 2010, but has never started?  Is that money sitting in the city’s coffers somewhere?

Rich Connelly
Rich Connelly

 A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man, sir.

H_e_x
H_e_x

I don't know why, it's a perfectly cromulent word. 

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