PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Protesters converged outside of City Hall Wednesday to demand more funding for the ACCT Philly animal shelter. Supporters say the shelter’s conditions are poor and the animals are suffering.
ACCT is contracted by the City of Philadelphia and is required to accept any animal — whether they are a stray or surrendered by their owners.
“Not enough funding in the shelter creates overcrowding, creates medical conditions, it creates PTSD for the dogs, it creates PTSD for the staff,” protester Casey Buckley said.
“The kennels are deteriorating. The cages are duct taped shut in some cases. There’s feces on the ground, there’s rotting. There’s mold.”
“They don’t have any money. The conditions are terrible,” ACCT Philly volunteer Ian Griffiths said. “It needs a new building. It’s rat-infested.”
That is how volunteers described the home of the city’s only open intake animal shelter.
CBS3 was allowed to tour ACCT of Philadelphia, but the facility did not look anything like the pictures volunteers shared. Images showed dogs sitting in their own feces and the cages were falling apart, only being kept together with duct tape.
Volunteers say it’s a funding issue, which board members haven’t made any better.
“San Diego, their board raises $20 million a year, DC raises $8 million a year and even in a tiny little town like Baltimore, their board raises $2.3 million a year and six members of the ACCT board contributes zero financially since 2012,” Griffiths said.
A city spokesperson says since Mayor Jim Kenney took office, $500,000 was allotted to improve kennels and the adoption center. Money was set aside for a new roof too.
The city doesn’t agree the problems are a funding or facility issue.
“The funding levels of that act have been consistent over the last year. We actually added about $100,000 this last year. The conditions of ACCT this year compared to the ACCT last year are horrendous. So the funding levels haven’t changed, something has and it has to be corrected,” Philadelphia Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.
“I think it’s an issue that frankly we’ve had complaints from the union about some complaints around management. We’ve had complaints from former staff who left.”
Where the issues lie, volunteers are hoping they can be resolved quickly for the sake of the animals.
ACCT Philly supporters say they want majority of the board members to resign to make room for new members who will raise the necessary funds. City officials say there is a 25% vacancy in jobs at ACCT.
The shelter building on Hunting Park Avenue sees nearly 20,000 animals annually.