Protesters beg for city to improve conditions, funding for 'crumbling' animal shelter

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Over the last few months, the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia has faced a deadly outbreak, the resignation of its executive director and a number of other issues, and people involved with the organization are taking to the streets, calling for officials to help.

A few dozen demonstrators gathered in front of City Hall Wednesday to protest the conditions and lack of staff and funding at ACCT.

"The building itself is literally crumbling to the ground. We do not have clean water for animals. There is no drainage, so we have feces and urine covering the floors that animals and people have to walk through," explained Maria Termini, a volunteer at ACCT.

Termini says conditions are so bad they were forced to partially shutdown earlier this year when eight animals died of an infection that was able to spread because of inadequate housing.

"We had animals living in tents, in crates, out in the parking lot."

However, the volunteers' cries for help to city officials have fallen on deaf ears.

"They have chosen to turn a blind eye. The times that they have acknowledged, has been a lot of lip service, a lot of placating, but zero action," she added.

City Managing Director Brian Abernathy says he believes the shelter's woes are being caused by operational issues, not money.

"The funding levels at ACCT have been consistent over the last year. We actually added about $100,000 this last year, and the conditions at ACCT this year, compared to the conditions at ACCT last year, are horrendous."

The city says they are working to fill positions essential to making sure ACCT runs better.