Of the 50 largest cities in the United States, the City of Philadelphia – which operates Philadelphia’s animal control shelter located at 111 W Hunting Park Ave – ranks at or very near the bottom in terms of the money budgeted “per animal” received into its municipal shelter. At the same time, Philadelphia residents surrender more animals per person to their city shelter than practically anywhere else in the United States. The result is an underfunded and overcrowded open-intake shelter system. These, along with the many other conditions that have historically plagued our city’s efforts to care for its homeless animals – including the fact that most Philadelphians don’t even know that they have a city shelter – have resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of loving animals and have also left nearly every agency contracted to run the shelter reeling, overwhelmed, and unable to overcome the challenges to turning around the daily holocaust that Philadelphia’s animal shelter system has become.
The numbers are staggering. In 2011 alone, our city shelter received a total of 32,119 stray and homeless animals (an 8% increase from 2010), comprising 9,877 dogs, and 20,256 cats. Of the dogs, 3,710 (approx. 38%) were killed by euthanasia. Of the cats, 8,110 (40%) were also euthanized. In our city of nearly 1.5 million residents, the shelter itself only has room for 124 kennels to house the nearly 25 stray and homeless dogs that it receives every single day, and 181 cages for the nearly 60 new cats and kittens it receives each day. That’s one full-sized dog kennel (able to hold one dog) for every 11,685 residents, and one single cat cage for every 8,005 residents*. Add these numbers to a virtual absence of public awareness of the shelter’s very existence, and the prescription is clear.
Enter Philadoptables, founded in January 2010 as the first independent organization whose sole purpose it is to help save the lives and support the welfare of the city’s shelter animals, right where they are, through promoting adoptions, through our support of shelter volunteering, fostering and other lifesaving programs and services, through fundraising for services not provided for by the city budget, through public oversight, and through educating people throughout the city and region about our vital cultural institution and its precious residents! Now, finally there is a way for compassionate individuals and organizations to provide help directly to the animals at the shelter and to play a direct role in its success.
As residents of the greater Philadelphia area, concerned about the communities we live in, we are not affiliated with any other organization or entity. Our only affiliation is to the thousands of cats, dogs, and other animals who find themselves brought to the shelter and dependent upon a network of caring and energetic individuals not only for their health and comfort, but for their very lives. It is our goal to ensure that this network of support functions as the animals need it to and does not let them down when their lives depend upon it. And, because these precious animals have no voice of their own – apart from meow and woof – it is our mission to be that voice on their behalf.
* Statistics courtesy of Pennsylvania SPCA Report on Animal Control for the City of Philadelphia, 2012.