Board: More Animals Died in PSPCA Care Than Previously Reported

By Tara Murtha
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 19 | Posted May. 26, 2009

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Comments 1 - 19 of 19
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1. Judy Gross said... on May 26, 2009 at 10:17PM

“"They say the rescues that talk about sick animals are simply biased, trying to tear them down due to personal agendas and lingering allegiances to PACCA."

I'm a board member with Stray Cat Blues and Barry Watson pulls many cats/kittens from the PSPCA for us. I was quoted in several articles as having fostered a total of 24 kittens since the first of the year and losing all 24. Adults I have fostered have been ill as well.
I have no interest in politics or what name is on the door at the shelter. My only concern is for the animals. I love fostering, plain and simple, and my specialty is bottle babies.
Stray Cat Blues is a very dedicated group of volunteers and they have been very supportive in our efforts to help the PSPCA. However there is a limit when each animal we pull from the PSPCA runs up many dollars in vet expenses and ends up spending months and months in our foster homes before they are healthy enough for adoption.
The PSPCA board and the people in charge need to make new vaccination policies in which animals would be vaccinated immediately upon arrival. While that might not stop the spread of disease it would provide some protection. If the board was not aware of all the disease then there is certainly a communication problem between the wonderful PSPCA workers and the folks in charge that needs to be addressed.

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2. Anonymous said... on May 27, 2009 at 08:42AM

“Please sign the "No-Kill Mandate"”

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3. Bryan Langlois said... on May 27, 2009 at 08:51AM

“I will admit I have no been inside the Hunting Park Ave building since the takeover, so I have no idea of the medical program actually in place. a shelter vet I will agree that vaccination should be done immediately on intake...preferrably even before the animal gets into the shelter population. Sure there are exceptions to that rule (Severely aggressive, fractious, obviously ill, etc...) but delaying vaccination even those 12 hours at times...well...if the exposure has already occurs...the vaccine really does not do much. As for those that say where are those 30,000 animals going to go...they are absolutely right. There is no way this problem will be solved overnight...or even in 5 years. is the progress towards that goal that is important. I think that is what everyone is looking for...and at least by the stats...are not least not yet.”

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4. Anonymous said... on May 27, 2009 at 01:32PM


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5. Anonymous said... on May 27, 2009 at 02:45PM

“It is beyond comprehension that the Health Dept. would condone the behavior of calling cats “live releases”, only to be euthanized in another building a couple miles away. Who is telling the truth here? Even the Health Dept is not dumb enough to buy into allowing cats to be called “saved”, and contribute to the “save rate”, to be killed thereafter at another site.

Where are all the PSPCA employees/volunteers who defended the PSPCA administration and board of directors and voiced outrage that anyone would even suggest killing cats after being “transferred to Erie”? Much of the 250+ blogs following the “The (Scary) Truth About Cats and Dogs” were attacks on the author for suggesting that this was even a remote possibility. You felt “tar and feathering” of Tara Murtha would have been appropriate when this story was published.

Speak up folks! You were outraged by the mere suggestion that someone could carry out such a heinous act, especially your beloved PSPCA. Where is your outrage that you served as pawns supporting your leadership, when these were lies from day one? Yes, the PSPCA board now says it must re-do numbers from January. Hmmm…. Anyone want to venture a guess as to which directions these numbers will go??????

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6. Anonymous said... on May 27, 2009 at 03:24PM

“Did PACCA/PAWS adjust live release or save rate numbers for deaths post transfer? I applaud the PSPCA for adjusting the numbers and providing more transparency in reporting than ever before (including PAWS). Don't miss the forest (12,000 animals euthanized annually or 31,000 unwanted animals) from the trees (the 100 animals for two months pending adjustment).

The changing stories of vaccinations are suprising, but the facts all get murky here. The story states $300,000 under bidding by the PSPCA. The contract is a 6 month contract and PAWS bid 1.5 million for the 6 month contract and the PSPCA bid 1.45 so the difference is 50,000 not the 300,000 in the article.

I honestly can't blame anyone for not wanting the contract. Who needs all this?

Sadly, the animals suffer while we all blog and fight.”

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7. Anonymous said... on May 27, 2009 at 04:29PM

“Am I to believe that the PSPCA has chosen Sue Cosby as CEO? The PSPCA spent nearly a year tearing PACCA to shreds over the way PACCA executed the animal control contract. As COO, Cosby was the most influential person, the highest level executive, who established and implemented policies reflected in PACCA’s day to day operation. That was her job.

And of course, she will bring back former PACCA staff and employees. That’s exactly what CEOs do and are expected to do.

Is the PSPCA now saying that PACCA had it right all along?

The council hearings should be very interesting, if not entertaining. How is the PSPCA to explain to the citizens of Philadelphia, less than 6 months into the contract, and after trashing PACCA top to bottom, that the former PACCA COO is just what will fix the city’s animal control problem?

Perhaps reality is truly stranger than fiction!

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8. Garrett said... on May 27, 2009 at 04:50PM

“To 11-12. Anonymous

The issue is not the hundreds of animals killed at Erie ave during each of the first three months of the PSPCA running animal control. It's the fact that the PSPCA Board lied to the Public and only under extreme duress and threat of hearings did they change their numbers.

BILL - Talking about PACCA not adjusting numbers of deaths after transfer is a ridiculous statement. First of all that number is nominal and statistically insignificant. Second, PACCA lost the contract right? Third, PSPCA doesn't do this now either. They are only adjusting the numbers of animals WITHIN THEIR OWN ORGANIZATION simply transferred 1 mile up the street to a different building.”

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9. Garrett said... on May 27, 2009 at 05:26PM

“If the PSPCA were open/ honest and transparent the animal welfare community would be able to step in and help, but how can anything be made better when the organization that needs the most help lies about their relative success. A 50% save rate in the slowest time of the year is abysmal.

We need a plan.”

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10. Madras said... on May 29, 2009 at 03:43PM


"Asked who should keep their mouths shut, Yaron says, “The media.” Interim CEO White echoes, “The media and the Garrett Elwoods of the world. No one has stepped up to say, ‘Gee, I’ll do that till you get someone else and I’ll do that best that I can.’”

You HAVE to be kidding me. If the media and the "Garrett Elwoods" -- along with the infamous "DFE's" -- of the world kept their mouths shut, NOTHING WOULD BE CHANGING.

We need the media and the Elwoods of the world to provide the transparency and truth that PSPCA has tried so desperately to hide, for fear it would destroy their donation machine.

We're finally starting to go down the right track -- BECAUSE of the media.”

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11. Anonymous said... on May 29, 2009 at 04:34PM

“So the PSPCA finally gave into the media and admitted shortfalls they had been accused of (not vaccinating animals, finding a weasel way to report save rates, can't get infection under control). Man, what an organization! A lot of fudge slinging on the part of former PACCA types is unfortunate and largely unfounded, but ya gotta admit, they were right about the above 3, I wonder what else.

So basically what went on is PSPCA underbid PACCA for the city contract by $300,000 (now I'm hearing $50,000), took over in January and managed in 5 months to fudge the save rate, lose their CEO, told free neuter/spay from UPENN to hit the road, and have a widespread infection going on that is keeping private rescues away. And now after underbidding PACCA by $300,000 they are now asking for an additional 1million dollars. Lol, now PACCA has them underbid, and with a lot fewer problems and a similar save rate.

From an outsider's perspective, it seems that PACCA managed to do more with less money. I get the sense that behind all the politics what basically happened is the PSPCA thought they were ready to take back the contract, underbid PACCA for it, realized it wasn't as easy as it looked to handle an intake increase from 8,500 to 31,000 and so panicked by fudging numbers and fighting internally. The evidence that the PSPCA doesn't know what to do is they have hired most of PACCA's former staff, and most importantly chose a former PACCA COO to be their new CEO. Something tells me they opened pandora's box and now wish they could go back to when PACCA had the contract. Perhaps they should have increased their intake numbers at a slow pace and worked their way up to 31,000. Then they wouldn't have to look toward former PACCA employees for expertise. Yikes what a mess.”

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12. Garrett said... on May 31, 2009 at 11:56AM

““First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Gandhi”

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13. rick said... on May 31, 2009 at 03:22PM

“Anyone can fudge the figures or cook the books.The moment of truth comes when you count the dead animals.If you thought PSPCA is bad look at PETA with atrash bin full of dead animals that no one even tried to explain.”

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14. Liz said... on Jun 1, 2009 at 04:04PM

“People are talking about the adjusted save rate being comparable to PACCA's save rate. But if most of the cats being released to fosters, rescues, and other shelters are dying shortly thereafter -- wouldn't the save rate actually be much, much lower?
I wish there were a way to see the actual numbers, including the animals who die right after leaving ACCT for other organizations and fosters.
I'm guessing their save rate is actually horrifically low when you take those animals into account.”

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15. Liz said... on Jun 1, 2009 at 04:59PM

“Just adding on to my last comment.
I wish the PSPCA people would stop complaining about people "bashing" them. People SHOULD complain when there is a problem this huge, and it's only because of people complaining that anything might be improved. It's not personal; people just want to make things better. And I get the sense most of the posters are already helping by volunteering, fostering, etc.

Ultimately, the heart of the problem in Philadelphia is underfunding. If this city wants that looming 31,000 animals a year to ever go down, they need to have a budget closer to 30 million than 3 million. It's terrible that the city values animals so little -- 3 million is like a half of a penny in government terms.

We need an aggressive city-wide government funded TNR program (trap, neuter, and release for feral cats). We need mobile spay/neuter clinics to get into low income neighborhoods and get people's cats taken care of. We need free, government subsidized clinics to provide neutering and basic care for all Philadelphia pets, 12 hours a day. The problem of over-population is both a financial problem and a cultural problem, so we also need an aggressive public awareness program -- again, funded by the government -- to combat backyard breeding and animal abuse.

Until Philadelphia actually gives its animals enough money to live on, things aren't ever going to be perfect. But the actions of the PSPCA in the last year have made things a lot worse. It's not "bashing" when it's the truth, and said with the best of intentions.”

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16. Anonymous said... on Jun 3, 2009 at 06:30AM

“Re: the supposedly "polarized" animal welfare community... More spin does not equal more members. Yes, the PACCA and PSPCA partisans choke these message boards with their arguments and create blogs containing fantastic (often false) accusations. Ever stop to think it could be just a couple of individuals on each side that do all the postings??

If you took a poll of the folks out there every day walking dogs, fostering sick dogs and baby kittens, promoting adoption events, and just working like mad to get animals out of the shelter alive, the majority would tell you they don't care who runs animal control. We just want it done right!

(And sorry, Garrett is not a "third party". While I applaud his efforts to focus the PSPCA and the City gov't on the goal of no-kill, his attacks on the PSPCA reek of personal vendetta.)

Concerned animal lovers: the #1 way you can help is to GET INVOLVED!! Foster a dog or a litter of kittens. Walk dogs or socialize cats. Help the overworked staff by lending a hand in the office. There's a friendly, supportive group of volunteers ready to show you the ropes and make volunteering a fun experience. Regardless of who's in charge, it's the volunteers that GET THINGS DONE!”

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17. Lynne said... on Jun 3, 2009 at 09:40AM

“I agree with the previous poster. Garrett will never be effective at anything until he learns to communicate like a grown-up. In the mean time I must admit I do find him very entertaining. Garrett you are truly a legend in your own mind!”

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18. Anonymous said... on Jun 15, 2009 at 10:07PM

“I know Sue very very well, I have known her since she started at AWA. She has improved AWA's adoption numbers greatly, and PACCA was not a good place to be. Please don't talk about Sue and PACCA unless you know the full story, but I just know she will be a great influence on the PSPCA and she will impress you all”

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19. Beth Treisner said... on Jun 20, 2009 at 09:49PM

“"...says Yaron. She says rescues who claim the animals are unusually sick are “unreliable.”
Like Judy Gross, my mother has a rescue agency - Treetops Rescue - that has worked with the PSPCA and PACCA before, and now - especially after the recent quarantine - simply cannot afford to be taking animals for them because of the alarmingly high rate of VERY sick animals. Most rescues are non-profit and are foster based and neither fact is very conducive to caring for a very sick and sometimes contagious animal (as most of our foster parents have one or more animals themselves). I firmly believe that the vast majority of these rescues are NOT interested in the politics of the PSPCA or intensely against them and "for" PACCA - they simply care about the welfare of these animals and because of the problems with the PSPCA as of late, it simply makes more sense to spend their time, money and resources on other rescue animals.”


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