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BARC Announces Grand Opening of NEW Wellness Center on World Rabies Day, September 28, 2011

Now Offers Low-Cost Vaccinations, Testing, and Preventative Medications

BARC, the City of Houston’s animal shelter and adoption center continues its commitment to build the best municipal shelter in the country with the grand opening of a Wellness Center located at the main facility on 3200 Carr Street in Houston. The BARC Wellness Center is designed to offer low-cost vaccinations, testing and preventative medications to local Houston pet owners seeking economical options for pet care. And it seems most fitting that the unveiling of this much needed service occurs in conjunction with World Rabies Day.

The mission of World Rabies Day is to raise awareness about the impact of animal and human rabies, how easy it is to prevent, and how to eliminate the main sources. It is a global call to action that BARC has answered through the formation of a Wellness Center to carry on the mission and extend the reach of rabies prevention. Rabies is caused by a virus that animals and people can get through certain exposures to the saliva or nervous tissue from a rabid animal and is nearly always fatal without proper post-exposure treatment.

Rabies is zoonotic, which means it can spread from animals to people. Rabies is 100% preventable. In most cases, preventing rabies is as simple as ensuring adequate animal vaccination and control, avoiding contact with wild animals, and educating those at risk.

Rabies vaccination is required by law and works in conjunction with pet licensing: The City of Houston Municipal Code requires that anyone owning a dog or cat four months of age or older must have his or her pet vaccinated against rabies and licensed with the City each year. The challenge in increasing the number of animals vaccinated is to reach pet owners with limited means, and provide the same level of protection to these underserved pet owners through low-cost vaccinations and wellness to ensure this essential protection is readily available to everyone, regardless of financial means.

“We view the BARC Wellness Center as an opportunity to educate pet owners about preventable diseases, and recommended vaccinations, internal and external parasite testing and prevention, and educate the public on affordable solutions to pet wellness,” said BARC General Manager, David Atencio, adding “Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies and other illnesses by not letting them roam free.” As an added health measure, a rabies vaccination and City license tag is included with every pet adoption through BARC.

A rabies vaccination in combination with a City pet license identifies and protects your pet in case it becomes lost. Even indoor pets can get out and without identification, only 1 in 10 pets is ever reunited with their owner. A pet license tag tells everyone that your pet is vaccinated, is not a homeless or stray animal, and allows found pets to be quickly reunited with their owner.

BARC remains committed to minimizing rabies through vaccinations as well as on-going animal control efforts. BARC Animal Control Officers collect approximately 3,000-5,000 bats annually, and each is carefully tested to detect the rabies virus. If you suspect your pet has been bitten by another animal, consult your veterinarian immediately to examine and assess your pet’s needs. If a human is exposed to a presumably rabid animal, seek immediate medical evaluation, and if possible, the offending animal should be immediately quarantined and examined.

Now more than ever many pet related businesses require proof of rabies vaccination for your pets, including grooming and boarding facilities, dog parks and special events where pets are allowed. And remember, if you travel with your dog or cat, proof of current rabies vaccination must be with you at all times. Be sure to place a copy in your disaster preparednes kit as well, so you have everything you may need if you must evacuate with your pets.

BARC is always filled with healthy, affectionate dogs and cats and puppies and kittens of every color, shape, and size imaginable, looking for homes. BARC’s cats and dogs are mostly mixed-breeds, each of which has a unique personality and look all their own. But we also bring in purebreds from time to time. Whatever the mix or breed, you are sure to find your newest addition here…ready and waiting for a new family and a new home.

When you adopt from BARC, you are getting a pet that has been medically checked, evaluated for temperament, and already spayed or neutered. Our adoptions also include the Rabies vaccination, City license, microchip, free bag of Hill’s Science Diet pet food, and for all dog adoptions, we include a six-week AKC/CGC dog training course FREE.

During the week of September 27 – October 2, 2011 BARC has drastically reduced pet adoption prices to ease an overcrowded shelter and place more animals in loving homes – dog adoption fees have been lowered to $10 and cat adoption prices are only $5 – with all the same perks as the full adoption price.

The simplest, but most powerful thing you can do to help the BARC Houston shelter, and pets throughout our community, is to talk to your friends, neighbors, and family about caring for pets responsibly, and spaying and neutering all animals.

To donate to BARC online via the Houston BARC Foundation, click here. We encourage everyone to visit us online at

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BARC is a Division of the
Administration & Regulatory Affairs Dept.

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