As of July 2012

New York City Local Law 59 (effective September 2011) abolished the Department of Health’s obligation
to build animal shelters in the Bronx and Queens.

In April 2012 the
DOH renewed Julie Bank’s contract for another two year as AC&C Executive Director.
Bank is the DOH’s ideal Executive Director. She never complains or challenges the DOH.  She’s
repeatedly demonstrated her willingness to misrepresent and cover up conditions at the AC&C.  

So, what do AC&C animals and animal advocates have to look forward to under 2 more years of the Bank
& Co. administration?  

As always, the negatives outweigh the positives.


The DOH Remains firmly in Control of the AC&C

The DOH Commissioner is also the AC&C Chairman. The DOH dictates the terms of its contract with the
AC&C The DOH sets the rules, packs the AC&C Board, determines the AC&C budget, and hires the
AC&C’s top executives.

No Animal Shelters for the Bronx and Queens

Under Local Law 59, AC&C shelters will continue to be overcrowded because the Bronx and Queens will
never have their own shelters.  

Local and State Government Officials Refuse to Investigate AC&C Shelters

In 2011 the NYC Comptroller’s Office gave the AC&C a pass in an operations audit even after noting that
the DOH and the AC&C stonewalled and lied to Comptroller auditors.  

The State Veterinary Association refuses to investigate complaints of veterinary malpractice. The
Association of Veterinary Technicians has turned a blind eye as the AC&C allows veterinary “assistants”
to pretend to be licensed veterinary technicians.

The ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement division has never opened an investigation of neglect and cruelty
at the AC&C.

As long as these groups believe that there’s no political advantage to exposing the AC&C, shelter animals
will suffer.

ASPCA Orchestrates CAARA’s Defeat

In May 2012 the ASPCA orchestrated the defeat of the CAARA (Companion Animal Access and Rescue
Act) bill.  So New York State continues without a law requiring shelters to provide humane care to their

There are false and real positives. These are the legitimate positives:

  • With ASPCA funding and oversight, the AC&C will launch a pilot Lost and Found project.  (Bank
    closed down the AC&C’s L&F System in October 2010 to save money).

  • The AC&C has recently attempted to use Social Media.

  • Unable to stop unauthorized distribution of their nightly kill lists, the AC&C decided to make those
    lists available to the public.  There are separate links on the AC&C website for the public and
    rescue groups to see those lists.  However, on the public lists, the AC&C does not show all the
    animals going down the next day.

  • With funding from third-parties, the AC&C has hired part time dogwalkers for Brooklyn and
    Manhattan.  (In October 2009 AC&C Management dismantled its dogwalking staff as a means to
    save money.)

The “false” positives:

  • The DOH promises extra money to the AC&C over 3 years. To sweeten passage of the Local Law
    59, the DOH promised (but didn’t guarantee) to give the AC&C some desperately needed money.    
    Those monies don’t start to make up for years of underfunding and budget cuts by the DOH.  
    Moreover, any extra monies are going into the hands of AC&C’s current management team, and
    therein lies the problem.

  • AC&C to Hire 100 New Employees. Over the last year the AC&C has hired 33 new employees..  
    Unfortunately, those additional employees have not translated into improved conditions for AC&C
    animals. This year the AC&C will hire another 66 new employees. That would be good news except
    that these new hires will haunt the AC&C for years.  As evidenced by their past hires, the top ACC
    executive team have demonstrated their inability to manage the people they already.  Simply
    adding more bodies will not improve shelters conditions as long as top management doesn’t know
    how to manage. Controlling employees, volunteers and rescuers  through intimidation and lies is
    not an effective management model.

  • Expanded Hours Promised for Receiving Centers. Instead of animal shelters, the Bronx and
    Queens will have to make do with “receiving” centers (animal dumpsters). The DOH promises that
    the AC&C will begin to keep these dumpsters open for 5 days a week starting in 2012, and by
    2014, for 7 days a week.The result is that more Bronx and Queens animals will be dumped at these
    centers and shipped over daily to already overcrowded shelters.  Receiving centers are no
    substitute for actual shelters.   

  • DOH Adds 2 Additional “Independent” Directors to the AC&C Board. In an effort to appease critics
    of Local Law 59, the DOH promised to expand the AC&C Board from 7 to 9 members by adding two
    independent directors.  It took them 9 months to find the perfect “independent” directors. While
    Health Commissioner (and AC&C Chairman) Dr. Thomas Farley may be an uncaring bureaucrat,
    he’s not stupid.  Any new AC&C Directors must be willing to swear loyalty to him and the Mayor’s
    Office.  He will not tolerate truly “independent” directors who might outnumber the government
    directors and oust him from control over the AC&C.


A fish rots from the head down.  The AC&C’s head (its Board of Directors) is rotten.  So, the goal must be
to remove the DOH’s control over the AC&C and its Board and replace the Board with a group of
committed, able, and talented directors.  

The Mayor’s Office has unfettered power to select who will run the AC&C.  Mayor Bloomberg is just the
latest in a line of Mayors to choose the DOH.   We must convince the Mayor (and the DOH) that it’s in
their political and financial interests to allow the AC&C to be a truly independent charity, run by competent
and committed top executives.
Click HERE to see just
a  handful of the
thousands of animals
the AC&C euthanizes
every year because of
lack of spaceor the
animals caught colds
at the shelter.
Shelter Reform Action Committee (SRAC)
ShelterReform.org: Everything you ever wanted to know about the AC&C, but were afraid to ask.
Visit our Gallery
of Bethany Obrecht  
Featured Articles
THE Reports from
ACC Volunteers and

Can NYC Become a
No-Kill City? Yes, but
ONLY if .....

Why Remove The
Mayor/DOH From
Control Over The
AC&C? Get all the
information here

On Shelter Reform’s
we’re often asked two
questions: How to fix
the ACC, and what a
person can do to
Here are our

Problems that still
Without proper
funding and
buildings, the AC&C
is unable to provide
Evaluations and
Disease Control.

Previous SRAC

The Forbidden Word:
"Space."  Why
Homeless Animals
Are Literally Dying for
Join Our Mailing List
For Email Marketing you can trust
In our continuing series NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND, AC&C Volunteers report on overcrowding and medical
neglect at the Manhattan Shelter.
Read More

Read what happened in July that directly affects AC&C animals.

One of the features of Local Law 59 was the requirement that the the City Department of Health issue regulations governing TNR
groups. The DOH was to consult with key TNR groups and then to publish regulations no later than March 2012. Months passed
with nary a peep from the DOH nor any regulations.  TNR groups were left in limbo while they struggled after the loss of Maddie's
TNR grant monies.  

We've just learned that Local Law 59 will be amended to rescind the DOH's obligation to issue TNR regulations. Possibly as early
as September the City Council Health Committee will hold a hearing about amending Local Law 59 and to discuss what guidance,
oversight, or help TNR groups can expect in the future.

The good news: the DOH is no longer responsible for yet another animal-care issue in which it has no interest or expertise.

The bad news: The DOH has never before given up power over an animal care issue.  Why now?  What's in store for TNR
groups, the colonies they care for, and feral cats generally?

Maybe we'll have some answers at the upcoming Health Committee hearing.
Rob Maher, one of the creators of Adopt NY,  explains how rescuers struggle to do what the AC&C should: caring for and finding
permanent homes for shelter animals.  Adopt NY helps these  groups promote and place their animals by providing the marketing
and promotional tools that are needed.

As long as the AC&C refuses to live up to its name as a "shelter," then Adopt NY will be there to help the groups who struggle to
save AC&C animals DESPITE the AC&C.   
Read More
City Council Health Committee sets Aug. 17th for hearing on amending Local Law 59.  The amendment would relieve
the DOH of its obligation to set regulations for TNR groups
. Read more.
But even while the ASPCA has been addressing animal cruelty throughout the U.S., right here in the ASPCA's
backyard, AC&C animals continue to suffer cruelty and neglect.
Read more
The City’s Department of Health came out with some bombshell news today: on October 19, 2012 Julie Bank will step
down as the AC&C Executive Director. See the DOH
press release.
For the 11th time in 17 years the City's Department of Health will be searching for a new Executive Director for Animal
Care and Control.

Two days ago the DOH announced that Julie Bank is leaving her position as Executive Director for "family reasons."

here to read the circumstances surrounding her departure and what it will mean for AC&C animals.   
See the latest installment in our NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND.
Days before announcing her resignation, AC&C Executive Director Julie Bank personally hosted a tour of a magically
transformed (for just one day, that is) Manhattan Shelter.
Read More

Also, read a news reporter's take on what's going on at the AC&C in the wake of Bank's upcoming departure.  The
article is entitled  "Top Staff Depart Animal Care System Amid Criticism."
Labels can mean life or death to AC&C animals. But a recent study raises concerns about any shelter's reliance on a
particular label as an excuse to kill dogs.
Also read why the appeal in the Stray From the Heart lawsuit is so important for AC&C animals.
Read More
Hurricane Sandy on AC&C Animals: Read about the storm's impact on shelter animals and rescuers' ability to help.
Read More
AC&C latest coverup: Gross Malpractice in the operating room. Read More
Manhattan Borough President announces run for NYC Comptroller, and why this can be good news for AC&C
animals (and bad news for the Department of Health that runs the AC&C).
Even before Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, the AC&C had already started putting the brakes on bringing in
animals.  Read how the AC&C fails our City’s stray dogs and cats.     Click
Even though NY's Court of Appeals avoided the issue of standing, the ruling in the Stray From The Heart appeal
indicates that the once impassable "standing" defense is being chipped away.
Read more
On January 6, 2013 Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer published a scathing report entitled “Led Astray:
Reforming NYC’s Animal Care & Control.”

Shelter Reform is honored to have worked closely with the Manhattan Borough President’s office in preparing that
report which explains in detail why the Department of Health’s absolute control over the AC&C has brought 17
years of unbroken suffering on our City’s homeless animals.

The report also lays out a clear roadmap to restructure the AC&C.  And that roadmap ensures we can have a
shelter system that all New Yorkers can be proud of and support.

here to read about the January 6, 2013 press conference Mr. Stringer held and the politicians and rescuers
who stood by his side at that event,

And equally important, click
here to sign MBP Stringer's petition to free the AC&C from DOH control. By signing
that petition, you join thousands of others in letting our elected representatives know that the time has come to free
the AC&C from the DOH’s control.
                                                     AC&C’s January 2013 Annual Board Meeting:  
Read how there weren’t any surprises at the recent AC&C Board Meeting. ... except for one.  Also, despitethe DOH’s
repeated promises to increase its funding for the AC&C, the Proposed Financial Plan suggests
reducing the AC&C’s budget
because of “efficiences” and “underspending.”