City of Houston Names New Animal Shelter Director

City of Houston Names New Animal Shelter Director

The City of Houston has selected Jarrad Mears, a senior executive at BARC, to run the City’s animal shelter. As director of the shelter, Mears will oversee 124 team members, including enforcement officers, veterinarians, shelter staff, customer service, and outreach employees. In his new role, he will be responsible for making decisions about public safety, humane sheltering, care, and outcomes for the more than 20,000 animals that are taken into the shelter each year.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve as the new director of BARC, a place where I’ve dedicated the past 14 years of my life advocating for the highest level of animal welfare and emphasizing the significance of what I believe to be one of the city’s most vital resources,” says Mears. “One of my primary objectives will be to ensure that the public has an accurate perception of BARC and our daily efforts to guarantee the safety of the community while providing shelter pets with humane compassionate care.”

Mears will be taking over for Greg Damianoff, who has led shelter operations for almost 13 years. Damianoff recently announced that he will be retiring in early December.

“We did a nationwide search and interviewed strong candidates from all over the United States. I am pleased to say Jarrad Mears was the unanimous choice of the selection committee, bringing a wealth of experience and a passion for animal welfare that is rivaled only by his dedication to public safety,” says Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The challenges and decisions that have to be made on a daily basis require the leadership of someone who understands every aspect of what goes into running a successful animal shelter. Jarrad is a proven leader, and we have full faith that he will take BARC to the next level concerning public safety and animal welfare.”

Since 2009, Mears has worked for BARC, most recently leading the animal enforcement team as a senior executive. Previously, he worked as an animal control supervisor at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter. Mears begins his role as BARC Shelter Director on November 20, 2023.

About BARC:
BARC, the City of Houston’s Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, takes in more than 25,000 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 community outreach.

Through these programs and with community partners’ support, BARC’s live release rate has continued to improve and reached a historic high of 95.6% in the fiscal year 2021.