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Dear Rescue Partners,
As many of you may of heard, within the last week the future of PACCA and
PAWS has become somewhat unclear. I know that all of you in the rescue
community are already incredibly busy with your lifesaving work, but I
hope you will take a moment to learn about what is happening with PACCA
and PAWS, and hopefully stand with us in the days, weeks, and months to
come to advocate for the lives of our region's animals.

On Wednesday, September 17, the Philadelphia Department of Health released
a Request for Proposal (RFP) for an animal control services provider for a
new contract that would take effect on January 1, 2009, despite the fact
that PACCA's contract currently runs through June 30, 2009. The new RFP
explicitly defines the responsibilities of animal control as "collecting
and disposing of up to 30,000 unwanted pets per year." There is no
language in the RFP that refers to lifesaving, and there are no contract
deliverables related to lifesaving such as foster, adoption and rescue.
Regardless of whether or not PACCA is the vendor who holds the contract,
this "catch and kill" approach is unacceptable and an intolerable step
backward. The President of the Board of Directors of PACCA and PAWS has
asked to meet with Mayor Michael Nutter to discuss our grave concerns
about the future of Philadelphia's animals. We are hopeful that the City
will reconsider its position and ensure that any contract for animal
control services includes a lifesaving requirement and progressive save
rates, with a starting place of 60% (the current level). We believe this
is something the citizenry should and will demand. You can learn a bit
more about the situation in Stu Bykofsky's Daily News Article here:
http://www.philly.com/dailynews/columnis...t_animals_.html
And at our website here: http://www.phillypaws.org/savelivesnow

In the meantime, we are asking everyone to make their voices heard on
behalf of the animals. Our volunteers, staff members, friends and family
are mobilizing and I hope that as rescue partners you too will offer your
opinion on the return to "catch and kill" to the Philadelphia Health
Department, the Philadelphia City Council, the Mayor, and local media
outlets. Please visit http://www.phillypaws.org/savelivesnow for a complete
statement on the situation and for specific steps you can take to let City
leaders know that we will not tolerate anything less than progressive
lifesaving standards for our homeless animals. Let them know that there is
a vast community of caring people who are speaking for the animals who
cannot speak for themselves.

Critical to the success of this effort is spreading the word to your
rescue networks, adopters, friends, family, and colleagues and encouraging
them to join the chorus. As rescue partners you are an invaluable resource
for us in reaching animal lovers and pet owners around the region- they
need to know about what is happening in Philadelphia! Also, if you have
media contacts you think would be helpful to our cause, please let me know
so that we can expose the return to "catch and kill" in as many media
venues as possible. People who care about animals must let the City know
that we will not go back to a time when tens of thousands of animals were
immediately killed in the animal control shelter with no effort to save
them. We at PACCA inherited an 11% save rate and have grown it to 60% in
just three years, and we as a city must continue that progress until every
healthy and treatable pet in Philadelphia is guaranteed a home.

We will have postcards soon to be distributed widely, as well as an online
petition that can be circulated both online and in print (for those of you
who wish to go door to door).

I am writing to you not just as a PACCA employee, but also as a person
deeply committed to the idea that animals lives are worth fighting for and
worth saving. Regardless of your experiences in working with me or my
predecessors here at PACCA I hope you too will see this as an issue much
larger than simply the future of PACCA- literally thousands of animals'
lives hang in the balance. Thank you so much for your time, and please
feel free to contact me directly with any questions.

Natalie

Natalie Smith
Community Programs Coordinator
PAWS/PACCA
111 W. Hunting Park Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19140
http://www.phillypaws.org
267-385-3800 x114
cell: 215-852-3999
 
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