New York Post, Friday, December 31, 1993
ASPCA PICKS BONE WITH ITSELF
Official calls new shelter a cat-astrophe
By DAVID SEIFMAN
and SANDY GONZALEZ
In one of the most blzarre cases in its history, the ASPCA has been clted for animal abuse -- by its own chief enforcement officer!
Herman Cohen issued a summons Oct. 24 charging the ASPCA with cruelty to animals because its new shelter at 326 E. 110th St. was a "disaster area" that posed a danger to the 256 dogs and 220 cats in its care.
The ASPCA -- accustomed to enforcing such complaints, not answering them -- turned the matter over to the Manhattan district attorney.
A hearing is scheduled Jan. 25.
"It's a little welrd," one source said. "The ASPCA is both the plaintiff and the defendant."
Assistant District Attorney Paul Shechtman confirmed that the ASPCA asked prosecutors to step in because it couldn't press the case against itself.
John Foran, the ASPCA's chief administrative officer, conceded the new facillty which opened, at a cost of $5 million, in Aprll 1992 had numerous "problems."
They include: an inadequate heating system; an inadequate ventllation system, a leak in the ceiling, a cracking floor and cages where the automatic flushing system doesn't work.
"A lot of the systems installed here were new and innovative -- and quite frankly, never worked." said Foran, who joined the ASPCA four months ago.
"The idea was it was going to be a premier facility. It's far from that."
Foran said repair costs are estlmated at $400,000.
But he insisted the agency tried to make repairs before Cohen ever got involved. Cohen, who has since been suspended for unspecified charges, could not be reached for comment.
Foran said he called in the top shelter architect in the country, Tom Johnson of California, to make sweeping design changes that will add extra heating, all new cages and better ventilation.
In the meantlme, Foran said the animals are being cared for by extra personnel who are cleaning out the cages by hand.