Facing massive new budget cuts imposed by the Department of Health (DOH), the AC&C is straining to
provide bare bones services.  Matters have deteriorated so dramatically that the AC&C has been forced to
plea for private donations of canned food – something that should be a basic staple of any animal shelter
system.  Given its limited budget, the AC&C has hard choices to make: which medical services to eliminate
and which staff positions to leave vacant.

What does the DOH do as the AC&C struggles and animals suffer?  Nothing, absolutely nothing.  You won’t
see the DOH’s name mentioned on the AC&C’s website or in any AC&C public statement.  It’s as though the
DOH has no connection to the AC&C.

Yet, the DOH has everything to do with the crisis, because it controls the AC&C.

While the AC&C desperately needs public donations, Shelter Reform urges you to use your dollars to
demand change.  

Don’t let the DOH off the hook.  Insist there be a quid pro quo for your financial help:

DEMAND a reformation of the AC&C Board of Directors. Remove any director who serves as a
rubber stamp for the DOH and/or the Mayor, and insist on the appointment of professional animal
advocates and philanthropists.

DEMAND that the City Council and the Comptroller’s Office investigate the current crisis at the AC&C
caused by the DOH’s budget cuts and new contract demands.

DEMAND appropriate funding for the AC&C, which now receives less than 84 cents per capita, when
the recommended amount ranges from $4 - $8!

DEMAND that the City Council and the Comptroller’s Office investigate the DOH’s 15 year history of
disserving the AC&C.   

SPREAD THE WORD:  There can never be reform at the AC&C until the public knows the truth about the
DOH’s stranglehold over the AC&C.

Write the Mayor, the Department of Health, every AC&C Director, City Council Members, and Bill De Blasio
(the City’s new Public Advocate)
Click here  for a list of people to contact.   
Click here to see SRAC's letters to officials

Here’s a suggested letter:









































A HISTORY OF THE DOH’S UNDER FUNDING OF THE AC&C

It’s the year 2010.  The City has been in financial doldrums since late 2008.  The DOH and the Mayor prefer
that people familiar with the AC&C assume that (a) there is no crisis; and (b) the AC&C’s fiscal belt
tightening efforts are shared by all organizations receiving city funding.

That’s false.  The AC&C is in a crisis, and one that far surpasses many other organizations receiving City
funding.  Why?  Because the AC&C has always been underfunded. The crisis at the AC&C has been 15
years in the making. With the massive new cuts, the AC&C can no longer provide even minimal shelter
services.

You can lay the blame squarely on both the Mayor and the Department of Health.  The Mayor appoints the
DOH to control the AC&C, and the DOH does a disgraceful job.


WHY DOES THE DOH UNDER FUND THE AC&C?

The answer is simple: DOH is the wrong department to oversee animal services.  The DOH’s mandate and
budget are to ensure
people’s health.  Animals’ health is an incidental concern, relevant only if an animal
might pose a risk to human health (e.g., rabies, dog bites).  The DOH will always shortchange the AC&C
because for every dollar the DOH spends on animals, it must subtract that same amount from health services
for its target constituents: people. The DOH knows that people vote, and animals don’t.  So, the choice is
simple for the DOH.


AC&C’S FUNDING THROUGH THE YEARS

Even when the ASPCA performed animal care and control services for the City, the DOH regularly
underfunded the ASPCA.  Fed up with being underpaid, in 1995 the ASPCA walked away from its DOH
contract.
Read more about why the ASPCA walked away.

To make sure the City would never be left in the lurch again, in 1995 Mayor Giuliani’s office created “New
York Animal Care and Control” (AC&C).  Although technically an independent 501(c)3 corporation, the
AC&C is a de facto extension of the DOH.  The AC&C can never walk away from its contract with the DOH.
Rather, the AC&C relies on the DOH for funding, buildings, staffing, its by-laws, its Executive Director, and
its Board of Directors.

THE DOH NEVER DETERMINES WHAT
THE AC&C ACTUALLY NEEDS TO OPERATE.
RATHER, THE DOH SETS AN ARBITRARY
AMOUNT AND ORDERS THE AC&C TO MAKE DO.

AC&C’s annual budget allocation is a line-item on the Department of Health’s budget and the contract
renewal is not subject to City Council approval. “The chronic under funding is allowed to happen because the
Department of Health sits on both sides of the bargaining table at contract time with no oversight or
accountability,” complains Gary Kaskel, former co-head of SRAC. “There’s no money for proper vet care or
medications or paying living wages for staff. It’s the animals who ultimately suffer.”  
(Read the entire article)
DOH refuses to set a budget for so-called “cost recovery” or “services performed” contracts.  That would
require calculating how much those services would actually cost.  And then the DOH could no longer hide the
real cost of animal care and control services.  Rather, the DOH hands the AC&C a lump sum budget and
tells them to make do.


WHAT SHOULD BE PROPER FUNDING FOR THE AC&C?

As discussed below, the AC&C’s budget will be 84 cents per capita, when experts urge that the range
should be $4.00 to $8.00 per capita.  Even 84 cents per capita will seem generous when projected future
budget cuts go into effect.
 Read how the City is pleading for food for the AC&C.

The ASPCA has complained that “New York City has the lowest-funded animal control program in the
United States
.”    In 2006, a former AC&C Executive Director explained:

"NYC has three animal shelters that the City had to condemn and take away from the ASPCA to give to a
newly formed under budgeted and understaffed animal control program. NYC AC&C staff wages are 40%
below the national average and the City does little to nothing to address this issue each year."
Read more


What does the DOH spend on the AC&C?  Very, Very little.

Until last year, the Health Department had allocated about $8.6 million annually to AC&C, a department
spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

According to a budget released by the City, with input by the DOH
(
http://www.nyc.gov/html/omb/downloads/pdf/tech1_10.pdf) :

"The DOHMH will reduce the ACC contract by 4% in FY10 and 6% in the out years."   However, the DOH
is talking about a steady reduction of
$457,000 every year, which translates into percentages greater than
6%: viz, beginning with a 2010 budget of $ 7,608,000 (i.e., $7,925,000 - $317,000):
for 2011 is 7,608,000 - 457,000 =   $ 7,151,000 = 6% cut
for 2012 is 7,151,000 - 457,000 =   $ 6, 694,000= 6.4% cut
for 2013 is 6, 694,000  - 457,000 = $ 6,237,000= 6.8% cut  
for 2014 is 6,237,000  - 457,000 =  $ 5,780,000= 7.3% cut

The AC&C cannot operate on this budget.  Period.

This means that the ACC is looking at $ 0.84 (that’s 84 cents) per capita funding from the DOH … with future
reductions looming, as the AC&C Directors ominously warned at the October 9, 2009 Board Meeting.  (
The
DOH has the right to reduce budget items mid-contract.
)
What does the DOH need to operate properly?

According to the experts, the AC&C should be funded at the tune of from $4 - $7 or $8 per capita. Read the
following articles for further information:

The Cost of Saving Lives; No Kill Advocacy

Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA

Massachusetts Local News

Humane society


Yet, the AC&C will have to operate on just 84 cents per capita.  You can measure the difference between 84
cents and $8.00 in the suffering and deaths of AC&C animals.













































                                                       
SRAC Home Page
RE:  Crisis at Animal Care & Control

Dear [Name of Official]:

I am a [YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO] the City’s Animal Care & Control.  The AC&C is, by its
own admission, in crisis.  Why?  Because the AC&C is facing massive budget cuts, placing
enormous strain on an already financially hurting organization.  

Yet, nowhere in the AC&C's public statements and postings is it stated that the Department
of Health (DOH) is responsible for this crisis.  The DOH controls the AC&C and sets it budget.

In response to AC&C pleas, I am stepping in with donations.  However:

  • I demand that the City Council and the Comptroller investigate conditions at the Shelter
    and the DOH’s 15-year record of ignoring the needs of the AC&C and its animals.

  • I demand new Directors on the AC&C Board, true animal advocates and
    philanthropists, with no one serving as a rubberstamp for the Mayor and the DOH.

  • I demand that the DOH allow the AC&C to be open and honest about the full scope of
    this crisis and conditions at its shelters.

  • And most of all, I demand that City provide proper funding for the AC&C and its
    animals.  The recommended funding for an animal shelter is $4 - $8 per capita.  The
    AC&C is now facing 84 cents per capita, with more cuts threatened.

Animals suffer and die because of the DOH’s indifference.

While animals don’t vote, I do!

Sincerely [your name, address, and group association, if any]
SPREAD THE WORD
ANIMAL CARE & CONTROL IS IN CRISIS,
FORCED TO SEEK PRIVATE DONATIONS SIMPLY TO
MAINTAIN BASIC STAFFING AND SERVICES.

SEIZE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO DEMAND MAJOR REFORMS.  

March 6, 2010
Shelter Reform Action Committee (SRAC)
ShelterReform.org: Everything you ever wanted to know about the AC&C, but were afraid to ask.