VOLUNTEERS ARE BANNED FROM BARC
YET NONE HAVE BEEN GIVEN A REASON
During Gerry Fusco's 6 month tenure, at least 3 volunteers have been banned from BARC.
Below are the "Security Alerts" for 3 of the banned volunteers. These Security Alerts look like the banned people are some sort of terrorists posing some threat to city of Houston security. But, these are VOLUNTEERS. These are people who have selflessly given up their precious free time, to go to BARC to try to help. Yet, they are treated like criminals and banned from the premises. This is a complete and unnecessary waste of resources that BARC cannot afford to lose. BARC generally does not have enough volunteers. Many of those who used to volunteer, or may be talked into volunteering in the future, will not because of BARC’s over-restrictive rules and badging requirements. So, those citizens who do volunteer are quickly becoming exhausted and burned out.
In addition, not only is it stunning that these people were banned from BARC, but the manner in which they were banned by Fusco, David Atencio, Alfred Moran and the city of Houston is equally disturbing.
1) One volunteer didn't even know that she was banned until she went to BARC and saw her name on a sheet of paper at the guard desk. To date, she still has no idea what prompted the banning. She made a request to the city of Houston to provide an explanation regarding why she and other volunteers were banned, but received only the below Security Alerts. The reason for banning is either non-existent on these documents or is so vague as to be completely useless.
2) A second volunteer didn't know the reason she was banned although Fusco screamed at her in BARC's parking lot (this was reported by other citizens & volunteers who saw the scene). She later got a reason, although I seriously question whether her "offense" merited banning. I also note that a reason is not listed on her Security Alert either. Is this the way the city of Houston operates? This Security Alert would indicate that the city operates as a police state who issues Security Alerts against citizens with ABSOLUTELY NO REASON.
3) A third volunteer believes the below email caused her to be banned, although no one from BARC or the city of Houston has given her an actual reason other than "insubordination".
She sent the below email to Fusco expressing her disappointment. Some time later she was told by a BARC employee, not Fusco, that she was banned. When she later wrote then Mayor Bill White and city council, she received a response from Elena Marks stating that she had "broken the rules". However, it is still unclear what rule(s) she broke. The alleged broken rules have never been stated by Marks, Fusco, Mayor Parker or Alfred Moran.
Is the “Change” that the city of Houston has promised us? Is this BARC’s path to stopping the killing? It sounds remarkably similar to what we had before Gerry Fusco arrived.
Adobe Acrobat document [2.0 MB]
Restricted Access Gondo.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [2.1 MB]
Restricted Access Cormier.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1.2 MB]
BARC shelter director, David Atencio, and ARA Dept Director, Alfred Moran have continued on the path Gerry Fusco started by banning more volunteers.
Adobe Acrobat document [1.4 MB]
Memo requesting the banning of 4 volunteers:
1) Trish Cormier (for the 3rd time);
2) Margaret Gondo (for the 2nd time);
3) Dr. Patricia Cooper and her assistant Kathleen Donahue
Adobe Acrobat document [2.9 MB]
I sent the city a public information request asking for the following:
"...Please provide all security alerts issued between June 1, 2009 and July 21, 2010 for any person who has been restricted or banned from the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC) building. Please indicate the specific reason(s) that said security alert was issued each person and state whether each security alert is still in effect.
Also provide all correspondence with each banned or restricted person regarding the security alert issues against them and the reason(s) for their banning or restriction.
I do not believe that the documents that the city produced respond to the highlighted request. The security alerts state the individuals were "abusive" or "generally unruly" but this is not a specific reason.
I am requesting that specific reason(s) be produced for each individual that was banned/restricted. I am requesting the exact date(s) that each individual was "abusive" or "unruly" and am requesting a detailed description of each incident which led to each individual's restriction/security alert at BARC.
Also, the documents produced by the city do not contain correspondence with any of the listed individuals regarding the security alerts issued against them and the reason(s) for their banning or restriction. If these individuals were restricted from city property, surely the city notified them of said restriction? I am requesting this notification / correspondence.
I received the following response:
From: "Carmody, Frank - ARA" Frank.Carmody@houstontx.gov
cc: "Garrison; Linda - ARA" <Linda.Garrison@houstontx.gov>; "Nguyen; Tam - ARA" <Tam.Nguyen@houstontx.gov>; "Vasquez; Patty - ARA" <Patty.Vasquez@houstontx.gov>; "De La Garza, Candice - LGL" <Candice.DeLaGarza@houstontx.gov>; "Newport, Christopher - ARA" <Christopher.Newport@houstontx.gov>; "Enax, Mark - GSD" <Mark.Enax@houstontx.gov>
Regarding your highlighted questions below:
The reason each person’s access was restricted is stated on the Security Alert flyer. The General Services Department, which is responsible for security, does not require a written request from a manager to issue a Security Alert. Normally, these are issued based on a phone call from the manager. Likewise, the restricted individual is also normally notified verbally.
Francis X. Carmody
Assistant Director, Operations
Administration and Regulatory Affairs
611 Walker , 13th Floor
Houston , Texas 77002
Email from volunteer, Trish Cormier dated 12/02/2009
(Notice that a "Security Alert" (posted above) was issued against Ms. Cormier on 12/03/2009)
Dear Mr. Fusco:
I write this not only with a heavy heart but with a heart filled with anger, sadness, confusion and most importantly, disgust in the fact that after I and many others stood beside you against hate mongers who did not think you were the right person for the job~~~to only be let down by you, the very Christian person who claimed that he cared about the sick, dying “customers” of BARC who did not choose to be there; someone who said if it weren’t for the many volunteers who give unselfishly every spare moment of their time, there would be no BARC but yet has worked against us to limit the amount of time we are willing to give; someone who said that it didn’t take a person with animal experience but someone with the heart, soul and compassion to improve the lives of the many homeless victims of this society but yet has failed the homeless in more ways than one; someone who once appreciated my support but yet through me out of BARC for speaking my mind and expressing concern.
I have so many times overlooked your vicious comments~~~you know, like the one you made about being able to get your church members to come to BARC and volunteer as they would make better ones (where the hell are they?). Or overlooked comments by the wife of the man over the City’s payroll department~~~you know, the one I adopted a puppy out to that had me take her to your office, the one who said that her husband is the reason you got your job (I thought she was full of crap but now I begin to wonder). Or overlooked your arrogance, thinking that I was confusing it with a person who was only confident in himself.
You have failed me; you have failed many; you have failed those who have left BARC that truly cared; but most importantly, you have failed the voiceless “customers” at BARC who depended on you to come in and make their temporary home one without pain, fear, harm, hunger, disease. You promised them better conditions, only to make things worse; you promised them life, only to take it away just for being there. How could you? How do you sleep at night? How do you look at yourself in the mirror every morning? How do you walk the cement of the kennels (or do you) and look in the many faces that you have failed, only to tell them that their number is next in line for the walk of death?
What is a Change Agent?
A change agent lives in the future, not the present. Regardless of what is going on today, a change agent has a vision of what could or should be and uses that as the governing sense of action. To a certain extent, a change agent is dissatisfied with what they see around them, in favor of a much better vision of the future. Without this future drive, the change agent can lose their way. Did you lose yours, Mr. Fusco?
You can use your power to take my badge, keep me away
from BARC and belittle me and call me a liar as you have many times but you will NEVER take away the caring that I have for the voiceless, which is something that can’t be bought at any price~~~not
even for $200,000!
Below is Mr. Fusco's response. It is unedited including the text size.
Sent: Thursday, December 3, 2009 9:36:10 AM GMT -06:00 US/Canada Central
Subject: Re: The Powers That Be
What in the devil's name, and you are speaking in the devil's name, are you talking about????
MORE LIVE ANIMALS WERE RELEASED IN NOVEMBER THAN IN THE LAST 18 MONTHS
Would you like to be specific enough to tell me what the devil you are talking about? There isn't a single fact in your statement.
Here are my facts, besides the one above:
Record Adoption's in October
Not one single mistaken euthanasia in 4 months.
Not one single puppy down a drain.
Not one single claim of starving dogs as there were when I joined.
BARC is now supplying soft cat food for all cats; absolutely non-existent before I arrived.
Paper is being removed from Cat cages and replaced with vinyl matting, recommended by Baylor College of Medicine.
Twelve dog runs now exist where their were 4 before.
A new cat building will be installed by end of January.
Now....... your turn.
You are just vicious.
A volunteer used this law (see below) to sue a shelter in Los Angeles who had banned her after she spoke out about abuses she witnessed.
Fox 26 reported that "BARC Changes Paying Off Dividends". But is this true?
On Feb 5, 2010, Fox 26 reported that "BARC Changes Paying Off Dividends". See report here: http://rev.ms/462 But, is this really true?
See our blog for my reasons for doubting some of BARC's claims. http://wp.me/pGbf7-4f
February 3, 2010
A foster parent was recently told that she could NOT foster a dog because the dog was not sick and was not young enough.
BARC is killing 1,500 - 1,600 animals every month, yet they turn down a person willing to foster a Senior dog? Is this how Mr. Atencio plans to reduce the kill rate at BARC? Really??
See our Blog for more details. http://wp.me/pGbf7-4y