Stu Bykofsky: PSPCA top-dog role to shift next year to a city-supervised nonprofit

Posted: May 28, 2011

UNDOING WHAT IT got done in January 2009 under previous leadership, the Pennsylvania SPCA at the end of this year will no longer be the city dog-catcher, or run the city's animal shelter, which had been overseen by the Health Department, which is turning over supervision to the Managing Director's Office.

PSPCA will by replaced by an independent, city-related agency.

When the plan was revealed at a recent meeting of the city's Animal Advisory Committee, I wondered (aloud) if it could be titled, "Back to the PACCA," meaning the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Association, which had the city animal-control contract from 2002 to 2008 before PSPCA snatched it.

At the time, I warned PSPCA to be careful what it wished for.

Now, PSPCA's chief executive, Sue Cosby, who inherited the contract when she was hired, says, "The funding [$3.6 million] isn't enough to do the job we want to do, but the most important thing is that [the contract] doesn't necessarily match the life-saving SPCA wants to do," plus preventing cruelty.

PSPCA will continue to be "the largest life-saving rescue partner for the city animal-control shelter," she told me yesterday.

Animal Advisory Committee Chair Brian Abernathy said that beginning Jan. 1 the new provider will be a city-supervised nonprofit that will have a nine-person board and an experienced professional executive director who is being sought now.

Cosby said most of the staff running PSPCA's Animal Care and Control Team would probably remain, so it wouldn't be like reinventing the wheel.

PSPCA'S latest-available March figures for the live-release for animals were about the same as last March: 81 percent of cats exited the shelter live, compared with 83 percent a year ago. For dogs, 64 percent exited live, contrasted with 58 percent in March 2010.

Email stubyko@phillynews.com or call 215-854-5977. See Stu on Facebook. For recent columns: www.philly.com/Byko.

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