NYCACC News: A Phone System, Petco Foundation Donation, Resignation of Medical Director

Some random news from Animal Care Centers of New York City (NYCACC)…

After years without one, the shelter system finally has a publicly accessible phone number again: 212-788-4000. Although the phone tree is rather byzantine at the moment and many options lead to recorded information, it is in fact possible to use the system to speak to a human being, which is a positive development.

downloadThe shelter was the recent recipient of a $500,000 donation from the Petco Foundation, it is my understanding that the funding is earmarked for animal enrichment, mostly in the form of hiring staff. This is awesome in pretty much every way; just a few years ago the idea that anyone would give the shelter $500k was unfathomable. It is wonderful that the shelter is beginning to be able to attract large donations; this is the kind of fundraising power that hopefully will eventually give them greater independence from City of New York funding. A huge thanks to the Petco Foundation for this gift.

Finally, internal sources confirm that Medical Director Dr. Lisa Hara Levin has tendered her resignation from the shelter. After a rocky start I was bullish on Dr. Levin and her initial plans were very impressive, but it became clear to me before long that she had been sidelined for unknown reasons. We haven’t had a presentation from her at the board meetings in quite some time, which is odd when disease is such a problem in the shelters. Still, Dr. Levin deserves an enormous amount of credit: she took on a thankless job at a time when very few would even consider it and undeniably moved the ball forward. New York owes her a debt of gratitude.

This is actually a fairly positive development – with such huge recent improvement in lifesaving, reputation and funding NYCACC is in a better place than ever before to attract a top-tier candidate who can tackle some of the fundamental issues the shelter faces: not just the internal spread of communicable disease but the basic standard of care that, while improved, still seems to be lacking. This is difficult to quantify in the absence of hard data/statistics, but there are certainly no shortage of anecdotes emerging from the shelter of misdiagnosis and mistreatment. The arrival of some fresh blood may bring new energy to tackle these problems and I believe this opening creates an excellent opportunity.

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