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BARC Houston Launches Healthy Pets, Healthy Streets program offering free spay and neutering services

Written by on August 16, 2023

By Zariah Watson – Texas Southern University School of Communication journalism major

BARC Houston, the city of Houston’s animal shelter and adoption facility, has launched an ambitious new program to address the stray and overpopulation of animals.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, there has been a surge in pet breeding. Consequently, this has led to an increase in the number of stray animals on the streets, creating a crisis that is difficult to manage. 

In response to this problem, BARC Houston has taken the initiative to implement proactive measures to tackle the issue of the rising stray animal population in the city.

BARC has started a Healthy Pets, Healthy Streets initiative to address this crisis at its source, providing free spay and neutering services and other programs. 

“We’re trying to target the source of the issue through all these programs to either keep pets at home or work with external groups,” said BARC representative Cory Stottlemeyer. “We work with our council members, we work with our humane society, offer pet pantries, and just creative ways to try to keep pets at home and keep people united. We also offer them resources and tools to make them better pet owners.”

One of the most significant ways that stray animals are able to roam free is because of Houston’s weather conditions, experts said.

“We have a potential stray problem all year round because we have the temperature that allows the strays to continue to roam without facing those harsh winter months.” 

BARC representative Cory Stottlemeyer

By activating a community outreach team, these programs focus on increasing awareness about the advantages of spaying and neutering, debunking common misconceptions, and providing pet owners with information about the services offered under the Healthy Pets, Healthy Streets Program.

“They would contact me, and we would schedule surgeries at the shelter or one of our partner clinics so they won’t have any more litters. We also can provide microchipping in case the dog does get lost,” Eli Perez, community outreach coordinator said. 

The program’s objective is to promote responsible pet ownership and minimize the number of homeless animals on the streets while providing accessible and free services.

“If you’re going to a personal or private vet it can range from $200 to $600 depending on the size and weight of the animal. With the healthy pets healthy streets program, as long as you reside in the city of Houston limits, the services are free no matter the size or weight,” Perez said. 

BARC recommends more than just spaying or neutering your pet. They suggest adopting or fostering from a shelter, which requires a valid ID, proof of residency, and being 18 years old or older. Additionally, citizens can assist by donating food, bedding, and towels, whether they are new or gently used.

As BARC Houston launches this innovative program, they hope to reduce the stray animal population in Houston significantly. By offering free spay and neutering services, the program aims to empower pet owners and provide a sustainable solution to the issue of pet overpopulation.

For further information on BARC Houston’s Healthy Pets, Healthy Streets program, including clinic locations and eligibility criteria, interested individuals can visit their website at or contact the organization directly.