Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Boks Returning to AC&C? (New York City)

(Picture left: One of thousands of dogs ending up on shelter Euth list every year.)

The contract for the current Director of the Animal Care and Control shelters has not been renewed.

That means that the city and shelter system is once again, seeking a new Director to take over the helm.

Over the years, there has been a slew of shelter Directors, most of whom were well over their heads in trying to run an under-funded, inadequate shelter system that deals with tens of thousands of animals a year on a shoe-string budget from the city.

As noted previously, New York City lacks full services shelters in both the boroughs of Queen and the Bronx. The so-called "shelter" in Manhattan was never built as an animal shelter in the first place and over the years has undergone almost constant "renovations" in order to make it into something that it was never designed to be: a make-shift animal shelter.

All of the "renovations" result in various parts of the "shelter" being closed for long periods of time, thereby necessitating the euthanization of thousands of cats and dogs for "lack of cage space." Those animals not killed for lack of space are killed for the illnesses (mostly Upper Respiratory Infections) they acquire by being housed in an overly-crowded and disease-ridden environment.

Simply changing shelter directors will not, of course solve these problems.

But, recently, there has been some rumor that former Director, Ed Boks is interested in possibly returning to New York and once again, taking over the helm at AC&C.

I hope that the rumor is true.

And I also hope that the AC&C and the city hire Boks back.

Of all the Directors the AC&C has had, Boks was the most experienced, qualified, caring and accomplished.

What's more, he was the most honest.

While seemingly a "perennial optimist," Boks was never so naive to not realize the huge obstacles that stood in the way of New York City becoming "no kill" anytime soon.

When interviewed by reporters, Boks spoke of the "ideals" of no kill, but also to the many barriers and challenges that New York City faced in achievement of that goal. "No kill" was simply not going to happen by wishful thinking or slick PR campaigns. It required the commitment, financial resources and efforts of thousands of people in the city from city officials, to pet owners, to volunteers, to landlords to those in law enforcement.

Boks was very concerned about things like morale among shelter workers, as well as how animals were named, described and promoted.

He was very open to suggestions and responsive to criticisms.

I am not sure of the precise reasons Boks's contract was not renewed with the city and he subsequently left New York to work at Los Angeles Animal Control over the past few years.

Rumors were then that Boks wanted more funding for various projects that the city was unwilling to fork over.

Certainly, any director taking over the helm now should lobby hard for a decent and REAL animal shelter to be built in Manhattan (even if the city doesn't create the necessary shelters in Queens or the Bronx).

Currently, the second floor of the Manhattan shelter is still "closed for renovations" after more than a year, while plans are in place to close and work on the first floor, (if in fact the second floor ever gets done.) This would obviously result in more wasted time, more wasted money and many more thousands of animals dying for "lack of space" and/or "illness."

This is unacceptable.

It is way past time to finally pull the plug on this warehouse in "life support" and finally, build a real animal shelter worthy of the 8 million people and 5 million pets in New York City.

For all the money that has been wasted in trying to "put lipstick on this pig" the city most likely could have built three new (and real) animal shelters to properly service the animals in ALL the boroughs.

What a case of "throwing good money after bad" or "penny wise and pound foolish."

What, in short, a boondoggle! -- PCA


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