Help ACCT Philly!!

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You may already be aware of the rapidly spreading infectious outbreak currently plaguing our city’s only open intake shelter, ACCT Philly. The concern of the volunteers and rescue groups is growing as numerous animals have died as a result: Rusty, Chewy, Biggie, Priscilla and Sarah, to name a few.

Right now, the list of innocent animals that are sick is growing by the hour and unfortunately, without having the medical resources necessary and a limited veterinary staff, the City runs the risk of the entire group of animals dying under their watch. Lane, Coco, Matilda, Hilda, Priscilla, Heinz, Sabrina, Lerner, Officer Kong, Bucky, Trini, Officer Simelton, Mikey, Forte, Skittles, Chance, Scruff McGruff, Lesner, Luis, Rover… these are all names of sick and suffering animals. A few have left with rescues, only to now be housed in oxygen tanks at Penn Vet, fighting for their lives.

The most concerning fact is that this epidemic is starting out as the common kennel cough, which in most cases is a very treatable illness. However, this awful strain morphs into an Upper Respiratory Infection and then moves to pneumonia that in some cases is proving to be drug resistant, and dogs are losing their battle. Due to inefficient funding and a lack of space, ACCT’s facility is suffering in many major areas, which is allowing this disease to be spreading constantly, and preventing animals from recovering at all.

ACCT is the only open intake shelter in Philadelphia, and has a severely devoted staff and team of volunteers who give their lives to caring for the city’s animals. However, the resources that we are working with are severely limited. ACCT’s warehouse holds 121 kennels, all housed under one roof, but there is no separate medical quarantine for the sick animals. The dishwasher, (which now, thanks to a generous donor is finally being replaced) has been broken so there was no capability of sterilizing the bowls that these animals drink and eat out of, or the ability to clean the slip leads in between in dog walks. The hot water was recently fixed, but there had been no hot water for weeks to even effectively wash anything out in the sink. Bad plumbing and drains leave raw sewage on the floors that the dogs and humans have to walk through all day, spreading disease both inside and outside. The warehouse is rampant with mice and the diseases they carry.

This is now becoming a public health concern, not just for the animals but for us humans taking care of them as well, as volunteers and staff are constantly subject to these conditions. ACCT has been doing everything in its power to combat this dire situation, including coming up with various solutions like having individual slip leads for each dog to help reduce the transmission of diseases, hosting fee-waived adoption events to promote even more adoptions, and issuing press releases to the media about what’s going on, but there is only so much that our staff and volunteers can do with our current situation and resources, without outside help. This is why we are reaching out to you today.

A recent article was published by KYW revealed that Philadelphia City Council members have been stockpiling their given capital budgets, some members even having multimillion dollar reserves. Given that ACCT is the city’s shelter, and funded by the city, it is only right that some of this unused capital gets put towards improving the shelter’s facilities so that lives are saved, not lost. Members of the public are confused and angry, and when so many innocent lives are at stake, we cannot sit back and be quiet. In 2018, ACCT took in 18,000 animals with an operating budget of 4.3 million dollars. In the same year, San Diego county had an intake of 19,000 animals, with a budget of 42 million dollars — 10 times that of ACCT. We need help! There is only so much that the staff and volunteers at ACCT can do ourselves. There isn’t a better team of people fighting this fight. Our Executive Director, Susan Russell, has been the best leader we could ask for, tirelessly advocating for our animals day in and day out, but this epidemic has truly taken things to another level. Rescues aren’t even able to pull as many animals right now due to the extraordinary medical bills that they would need to take on. We are fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves, but we are running out of resources and time. Please take some sort of action so that we can continue our mission to save our city's homeless animals. They deserve the world, and we intend to give it to them.