CitizensNet Banner

April 24, 2024

BARC Houston to Expand Stray Animal Intake through Limited No-Appointment Hours Every Sunday

BARC Building

From 1 – 3 p.m. every Sunday beginning April 28, 2024, BARC, the City of Houston’s Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, will open intake for Houstonians with a stray animal. During this time on Sundays, residents who want to turn in a stray animal will not need to schedule an intake appointment online and may turn in a stray animal on a first-come, first-served basis, until shelter capacity is reached. Residents wishing to surrender owned pets will still be required to schedule an intake appointment online and will not be eligible to turn in an animal during non-appointment hours.

“In 2023, BARC animal enforcement officers received 59,573 calls for service, an increase of more than 5,000 from 2022. This rise in call volume is indicative of the rising needs of our community, and I’m again proud of our staff for being proactive and expanding intake to further address the stray animal crisis in Houston,” said BARC Shelter Director Jarrad Mears. “In addition to expanding daily intake appointments last year, we are launching this new opportunity to allow even more access for those residents who find strays in their community.”

Cats or dogs may be turned in to BARC only by residents of the City of Houston. Proof of residency is required for all turn-ins. Appointments can be scheduled up to four weeks in advance, further allowing the public more opportunities to schedule an intake appointment. No appointments are ever needed for sick, injured, or fading animals. Learn more about scheduling an intake appointment at BARC:

“Our total intake in 2023 was 19,209, the highest of any municipal shelter in the Houston area. Most of these animals were brought in by our enforcement team. We answered nearly 60 percent of all calls for service last year as well, and hope that by expanding access to intake, we can more proactively address the needs of our residents and continue to protect public health and safety,” said Mears. “This will mean that more animals are entering the shelter. We are actively working with our rescue, foster, and volunteer partners to more quickly find forever families for our pets and open up much needed kennel space for the growing number of animals coming to the shelter.”

In anticipation of the increase in animal intake that will likely result from this change, BARC is making adjustments to its Urgent Pets process to more proactively network and find live outcomes for shelter animals in need. Those who visit BARC’s Urgent Pets page will see two new reports of animals in need, in place of existing reports:

  • BARC Priority Pets – This report shows pets who have been identified as having medical or behavioral conditions, physical or mental deterioration due to length of stay in the kennel environment, or any combination of the above. While not at immediate risk for euthanasia, they are a medium priority. Rescue coordinators at BARC share individualized pleas for these animals in hopes of finding them a live outcome.
  • BARC At-Risk Animals – This report shows pets who are at potential risk for euthanasia. These pets are in urgent need for adoption, foster, or rescue assistance. While the report may change throughout the day, pets on our At-Risk Animals Report that do not leave the shelter will move to the final euthanasia list. These pets are at higher risk for euthanasia and are a high priority. BARC shares an automated plea report with approved rescue partners every afternoon for all at-risk animals.

BARC staff will continue to send direct emails for that day’s euthanasia list and for emergency cases such as immature animals and injured or special cases to current rescue partners. Learn more about becoming an approved rescue with BARC:

About BARC
BARC, the City of Houston’s Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, takes in more than 20,000 animals annually regardless of behavior, breed, or medical condition. BARC works each day to improve Houstonians and their pets’ health and safety by pioneering programs such as low-cost and no-cost spay/neuter services, mobile adoptions, transfer/rescue partnerships, and pet registration and microchipping. BARC is also committed to public safety through animal enforcement, which answers calls for service from the community and investigates cases of animal cruelty.

Visit for more information.