Shelter Reform Action Committee (SRAC) ShelterReform.org: Everything you ever wanted to know about the AC&C, but were afraid to ask.
SUGGESTED LETTERS OR E-MAILS TO SEND TO NYC and NYS ELECTED AND APPOINTED OFFICIALS
TO THE NYC COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH
TO: Thomas Farley, M.D. Commissioner, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene 125 Worth Street, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10013 Tel: (212) 788-5261, Fax: (212) 964-0472 TFarley@health.nyc.gov
RE: Failure to Create Full Service Shelters in the Bronx and Queens
Dear Dr. Farley:
I am disappointed and angry. You approved the Department of Health’s (DOH’s) appeal from the September 2009 court order finding that the DOH had violated the 2002 amendment to the Animal Shelters & Sterilization Law by failing to create full service shelters in the Bronx and in Queens.
The DOH has had 10 years to create those shelters.
Do the right thing: withdraw the DOH’s appeal, and create full service shelters in the Bronx and Queens now. No more excuses. No more delays.
[Your name, address, and group affiliation, if any]
SUGGESTED MESSAGES TO THE MEMBERS OF THE AC&C BOARD OF DIRECTORS
There are 7 directors on the AC&C Board. Three of them represent these City Departments: Health, Parks, and Police. They are called “ex officio” directors. In effect, the Mayor appoints them.
The 3 "ex-officio" board members from the City are:
THOMAS FARLEY, M.D Commissioner, Department of Health e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Adrian Benepe Commissioner, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation The Arsenal, Central Park, 830 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10021 Tel: 800 201-Park; Dial 311 for all Parks & Recreation Information Benepe occasionally attended board meetings, but for the past several years, has sent a designee. Demonstrates little or no interest in improving the plight of shelter animals. To e-mail Comissioner Benepe, go to http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/maildpr.html [You’re limited to 150 words or less, so you may have to divide your message into 2 or 3 messages to him. Or you can send him a letter.]
Lt. THOMAS J. SWANSON Representative for NYPD Community Affairs. The AC&C offers no information regarding Lt. Swanson, nor a direct contact for him. However, we found this e- mail address for him: email@example.com
There are 4 "independent directors," who are all selected by the Mayor’s Office.
JAY KUHLMAN, DVM Gramercy Animal Hospital 37 East 19th Street New York, NY 10003 Tel. 212-477-4080; fax (212) 254-7497 firstname.lastname@example.org A veterinarian. Genuinely cares about the plight of shelter animals but has never publicly protested the DOH’s stewardship of the ACC or the actions and inaction of his fellow board members.
John M.B. O'Connor 212-363-0868 email@example.com Former partner at JP Morgan Partners and now CEO of J.H. Whitney Investment Management in Manhattan. Was ACC's treasurer for four years. A blood sport hunter and ACC's most hostile board member to animal welfare issues. His concern is not to embarrass “his friend,” Mayor Bloomberg.
BRUCE DONIGER Appointed in Oct 2004. President and CEO of The J.E. & Z.B Butler Foundation, a non-profit that benefits at-risk youth and individuals with special needs. AC&C's Treasurer. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
PATRICK NOLAN Appointed in March 2007 to fill a nine-month vacancy and now apparently a permanent member of the Board. A VP of Marketing at Penguin Group publishing in Manhattan. He remains an unknown entity. His office e-mail: Patrick.Nolan@us.penguingroup.com
TO: [Name of AC&C Board Member]
RE: Your Duty to the City’s Homeless Animals
The Mayor or the Department of Health (DOH) appointed you to serve as a Director on the AC&C Board. As a Director, you have a fiduciary duty to serve the AC&C and its animals. Yet, you have demonstrated that you’re on the Board to ensure that nothing embarrasses either the DOH or Mayor Bloomberg.
For example, you have never objected to the Department of Health’s failure – for ten years – to create full service shelters in the Bronx and in Queens. Nor have you ever objected when the DOH continues to underfund the AC&C.
You cannot serve two masters. By protecting the Mayor and rubber-stamping the DOH, you have breached your fiduciary duty to the AC&C and its animals.
Either fulfill your obligation to the AC&C and its animals, or resign and let true advocates for homeless animals take your place on the Board.
[Your name, address, and group affiliation, if any]
SUGGESTED LETTERS TO YOUR LOCAL ELECTED OR APPOINTED REPRESENTATIVES
To see elected officials who represent you, go to the League of Women’s Voter’s website: http://www. lwvnyc.org/TRY.html
TO: [Name and Office of your Elected Representative]
Re: New York City’s failure to provide full service animal shelters
Dear [NAME OF ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE]
“Shelter” is defined as something that covers or affords protection. But can anyone call the buildings run by the New York City’s Animal Care and Control (AC&C) “shelters”? These former factories are overcrowded, poorly designed, and disgracefully understaffed. The Department of Health (DOH), which effectively controls the AC&C, has a long history of cynically underfunding the City’s animal shelter services. Our two largest boroughs – the Bronx and Queens – don’t even have their own full-service animal shelters. (If they were cities, each would be in the top 10 largest cities in the U.S.)
As a consequence, the AC&C is forced to euthanize thousands of adoptable animals every year because there is simply no room or enough staff to care for the over 43,000 homeless animals who pour into these buildings every year.
As a taxpayer and voter, I ask you to tell the City Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, to withdraw the DOH's appeal from a September 2009 court decision finding that the DOH had violated the City Animal Shelters & Sterilization Law requiring full service animal shelters in the Bronx and Queens by 2006.
I ask you to demand that the New York City Council convene a special oversight committee to investigate the DOH’s 10-year refusal to create those shelters.
While animals do not vote, I do!
[your name, address, and group or affiliation, if any]
TO MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
To: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg City Hall New York, NY 10007 Tel: 212 788 3000, Mayor’s Action Line 212 788 9600 email@example.com
Subject: Animal Shelters for the Bronx and Queens
Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
In 2002 you received an extension until 2006 for the DeparTment of Health (DOH) to create full service animal shelters in the Bronx and in Queens (Animal Shelters & Sterilization (“Animal Shelters Law”). It’s now 2010, and still there are no shelters. As a consequence, every year 43,000 homeless animals are jammed into already overcrowded buildings. Thousands of adoptable animals continue to be euthanized every year because of the DOH’s defiance of the law.
Your office appoints people to the Board of Animal Care & Control (AC&C) who owe their allegiance to you and the DOH, but not to the AC&C and its animals. For years they have sat by and rubber-stamped the DOH’s refusal to comply with the law to create those shelters. Please do the right thing, Mayor Bloomberg:
Order the DOH to withdraw its appeal from the September 2009 court decision that found the DOH had violated the Animal Shelters Law and requiring that those shelters be created without delay.
Appoint true animal advocates to the AC&C Board, not people chosen for their undivided loyalty to you and/or the DOH.
We’re the greatest City in the world, But you wouldn’t know that from the way we treat our most vulnerable city residents: homeless companion animals.
You could turn this all around.
(Your name, address and group name or affiliation if applicable)
SUGGESTED LETTERS TO REPRESENTATIVES ON THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL
To find out who represents you on the City Council, go to http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members. shtml
Also, don’t forget to write these 3 key members of the Council:
Christine Quinn Speaker New York City Council City Hall, New York, NY 10007 http://council.nyc.gov/d3/html/members/home.shtml (In 2002, Speaker Quinn headed the Health Committee which agreed to Mayor Bloomberg's request for an extension until 2006 to build the Bronx and Queens shelters; since then, she’s given Bloomberg and the DOH a free pass to ignore the law. She has proved herself to be no friend of companion animals or their owners. She scored a miserable 13% on the New York League of Humane Voters' "Humane Scorecard" for 2009.)
Joel Rivera, (Democrat, Bronx) Chair, New York City Council Health Committee 250 Broadway, NY, NY 10007 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Even though Councilmember Rivera represents the Bronx – which does not have a full service animal shelter – he apparently doesn’t care. He has a failing grade on the New York League of Humane Voters “Humane Scorecard.” Unfortunately, he heads the committee that is responsible for coordinating with the Department of Health.)
Letitia James (Democrat, Brooklyn) Chair, New York City Council Contracts Committee 250 Broadway, 10007 Phone: 212-788-7081 Fax Phone No.: 212-788-7712 email@example.com (Councilmember James has replaced Robert Jackson as head of the Contracts Committee, which is a good thing for animals. In 2009, she scored 88% on the New York Leave of Human Voters' "Humane Scorecard." When Kathryn Freed headed the Contracts Committee, she spearheaded an investigation of the AC&C's compliance with the DOH contract for animal care and control services. It was a damning indictment of the dysfunction imposed by the DOH upon the AC&C.)
To: [Name of Council Member]
Subject: Full Service Animal Shelters in the Bronx and in Queens.
Dear Council Member:
In 2000 the City Council passed a law requiring the Department of Health (DOH) to create full service animal shelters in the Bronx and in Queens by 2002. In 2002, the Council granted Mayor Bloomberg’s request for an extension until 2006 to have those shelters up and running. See Animal Shelters and Sterilization Act, Local Law 26 of 2000, §§17-801-7-808 (“Animal Shelters Law”).
It’s now 2010, and still there are no shelters in the Bronx and in Queens. Every year over 43,000 homeless animals are jammed into already overcrowded shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. As a consequence, Animal Care and Control (AC&C) is forced to euthanize thousands of adoptable animals every year because there simply is no room to house and properly care for these animals.
As a voter and taxpayer, I request that the Council immediately convene an oversight hearing to investigate the DOH’s delay and defiance of obeying the Animal Shelters Law and what has happened to the monies you reserved for those shelters. In September 2009, Supreme Court Judge Marilyn Shafer observed: [The city has]... blatantly failed to comply with the mandatory requirements of the Act, which unambiguously requires shelters in each borough, not in 3 out of 5, open 24 hours per day, not 12 or "as needed."
Judge Shafer sees the problem. Why don’t you? While animals don’t vote, I do.
Sincerely, [Your name, address, and group affiliation,