The following is the complete text of the press release issued by City Council Member Jerome X. O'Donovan on September 4, 1997
Council Member Jerome X. O'Donovan
District Office: 36 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301, (718) 727-9730, Fax: (718) 816-8407
September 4, 1997
O'Donovan Endorses Ballot Referendum On
Creation Of Department Of Animal Affairs
Stating that New York City's callous and inhumane treatment of animals must end, Councilman Jerome X. O'Donovan has endorsed the ballot referendum that would create a City Department of Animal Affairs.
Responding to years of what animal advocates say has been a gross indifference on the part of the city government to the welfare of animals that end up in city shelters and then killed -- more than 40,000 a year -- a coalition of humane groups and individuals are asking the voters to amend the City Charter to create a Department of Animal Affairs. The agency would perform animal control functions and run the city animal shelters. In addition the department will have a mandate to find humane solutions to the pet overpopulation problem, principally through spay and neuter, humane education and expanded adoption programs. Seventy Five Thousand (75,000) New Yorkers signed petitions to put this issue to the voters in November.
Pointing to a recently released highly critical report by the City Council Investigation Unit of the work of the Center for Animal Care and Control (CACC), O'Donovan said "CACC has proven to be no more effective than its predecessor, the ASPCA. Our investigation found that CACC shelters were poorly constructed, were not in areas conducive to the promotion of adoptions and to make matters worse the level of funding was cut and inexperienced, politically connected senior staffwere hired to manage the facilities. In short, the Council's report concluded that while CACC's name implies it provides care to animals, it does little more than ensure that the majority of the animals it receives are euthanized shortly after the mandatory 48 hour holding period".
In making the case for the city to directly assume responsibilities for animal care and control O'Donovan said that "costs would essentially be the same as now expended through city contracts and in fact a more vigorous enforcement of licensing requirements could more than offset additional costs if they were incurred; For the protection of both the community and the animals, New York City voters should support the ballot referendum to create the Department of Animal Affairs".