Regarding Tara Murtha’s recent cover story about Pennsylvania’s animal control:
Despite Tara Murtha’s assertions to the contrary, Philadelphia’s animals are in good hands at the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA), the city’s contracted agency to provide animal control services.
Contrary to allegations that the facility is “crumbling,” immediately upon taking over the shelter on Jan. 1, 2009, the PSPCA initiated a massive cleanup of the building that included upgrading of the air-handling system, replacement of ceiling tiles, roof repairs and cleaning and fresh painting of surfaces throughout the building. Animals at the PSPCA facility are well cared for; relations with foster care agencies are strong, with ongoing efforts to increase the number of healthy adopted animals.
While there continue to be too many animals who become sick after leaving the shelter, this is not a new problem–the animals adopted while under the care of the former agency were sick in larger numbers. Foster care volunteers who have taken in rescued animals from the PSPCA tell us that they are very impressed with the operations and professionalism of the veterinarians and other shelter staff.
The Department of Public Health takes very seriously its job to monitor, evaluate and report on PSPCA. At least twice weekly, staff makes unannounced visits to the shelter to review the conditions of the animals, along with their medical and vaccination history. We hold monthly meetings with PSPCA administrative staff that include review of service levels and outcomes, phone answering reports and the animal control officer field logs. We immediately investigate any complaints we receive.
Unlike the previous operator, PSPCA gives the city’s contract monitor unrestricted administrative rights to review the shelter database, which helps ensure that at any time we have a snapshot of the shelter’s operations.
The city and the PSCPA are eager to ensure a transparent operation to ensure that the public can have confidence in the care and compassion toward Philadelphia’s stray animals. Service level reports are posted on the PSPCA’s website and now include a more detailed report on animals transferred to the PSPCA main site.
We will work to continually improve both the quality and transparency of the services. But animal care and control in Philadelphia will continue to be very difficult until advocates for animals can build trust in each other’s shared mission.
Regarding Steven Wells’ recent column about police brutality:
Are you kidding me? With the current “cycle of violence” we find in Philadelphia, you’re really going to editorialize in favor of our citizens being allowed to flagrantly disregard the law?
Please let me explain something to you. It is insanely easy to keep from getting Tazed by the police. Here’s the step-by-step:
1. The police ask you nicely to obey the law.
2. You immediately comply.
As far as I could tell from the video, the police followed step No. 1; where I see things having fallen apart was in step No. 2. It’s therefore totally disingenuous to blame this entire situation on the police. Furthermore, I think this kind of reporting does harm to the effort to bring violent crime under control citywide.
Don’t you think people’s attitudes toward the police and toward their use of violence in their neighborhoods are shaped as much as or more by your printed misrepresentation of this situation, as from the situation itself?
I suspect that you have never had to defend yourself against a mob of people, but I have, and I understand the dynamic. There were a mere three police officers visible among a throng of at least hundreds of bystanders, many of whom actually cheered as this naked man repeatedly refused to comply with the commands of the police to obey the law.
Maybe it was only public nakedness but—as much as you’d like to ignore the fact—it’s against the law. The ability of the police to provide protection from crime among such obviously disproportionate numbers gets severely undermined once the crowd starts leaning in favor of a disregard of the law, and it quickly becomes a dangerous situation for them. If the man were to get away with disregarding the police in this, you can imagine other more nefarious individuals feeling they might be able to get away with something worse, maybe even while the police dicked around with this idiot who couldn’t keep his clothes on.
The police aren’t your friends; their job is to enforce the law. If you disagree with the law, change your voter registration, but next time, when you see the police using force to subdue an arrogant prick who won’t comply when asked nicely, just thank God there are still people willing to put on the uniform and walk out into the streets to try and keep them safe for our mothers and children.
An activist wants to know what is wrong with Philadelphia animal control.
Two weeks away from a City Hall investigational hearing called by Philadelphia City Councilman Jack Kelly to drill into the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA)’s mismanagement of Philly’s animal control contract, the PSCPA is coming clean on euthanasia and save rate statistics.
Baptism by fire, shit storm, train wreck: These are the nice ways to describe the situation that Sue Cosby -- the new CEO of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals -- is hurling herself into. Earlier this week, Cosby talked with PW about her new role, her vision for the city’s animal control, and what a long, strange trip it’s been.
Philadelphia’s animal advocates have been meeting once a month since last fall, obstensibly to try to fix an animal control plan that’s been unraveling at the seams. Despite the crisis, the direction is still unclear.