Thursday, May 26, 2016

Over 140 Years of Service Comes To End In New Castle County

As a result of CAPA, another shelter is closing in Delaware.  

While Delaware SPCA, who has served the New Castle County community for over 140 years will shut down their Stanton shelter in the coming month, they will fortunately continue to operate a shelter in Sussex County Delaware.  So it's a another sad day for the animals of Delaware as a result of the back room politics that was played out by a few clueless folks that many leaders in the state & county levels were too cowardly to deal with.  

"Dear Fellow Animal Lovers,
The Delaware SPCA has decided to proactively address some of the financial stress that all animal shelters, particularly in the state of Delaware, face. We are currently listing our Stanton property for sale and expect to use the proceeds to create the most financially stable animal welfare organization in the state based solely out of Georgetown. Our Georgetown shelter is the only shelter in Sussex County. Currently, we have diminished services because we must split our funding between our two shelters. The good people and animals in Sussex County are under-served and would greatly benefit from the additional resources that would be created as the result of the sale of New Castle land. Our second shelter, based out of Newark, is one of four shelters within a 5 square mile radius. By reallocating resources from an area that is over-served to an area that is under-served, we will not only be helping more animals and their owners but we will be creating the most stable animal welfare organization in the state of Delaware. Consequently, June 17 will be the last day our Stanton shelter is open. We will begin transitioning animals, staff and equipment to either our shelter in Georgetown or neighboring shelters. Please support us in our mission to remain the most impactful no kill animal shelter in the state, adopting and spay/neutering more animals than any other organization.
The Board of Directors
The Delaware SPCA

This wasn't a surprise to some of us after watching the previous leader at Delaware SPCA Anne Cavanaugh align Delaware SPCA with the foolish "No-Kill" antics of Jane Pierantozzi at Faithful Friends in 2008, since that resulted in Delaware SPCA sustaining major deficits under Ms. Cavanaugh's watch.

My prediction in 2012 is coming to fruition, and I only take solace in the fact that Delaware SPCA's executive director and board at least had the foresight to prevent another bankruptcy debacle like the Safe Haven one a couple years ago.
"That has also been my concern with CAPA here in Delaware.  Kent County SPCA recently noted in a newspaper article that they lost $450,000 due to the added requirements of CAPA.  Looking at previous financials, the shelter ran fairly efficiently, excesses and deficits were held fairly low.  Now as a result of the Delaware No-Kill initiative, the future of our shelters hang in the balance.  Delaware SPCA began their no-kill journey in 2008, and they have also had substantial losses as well ever since then.  No-Kill advocates threaten the viability of our shelters to remain going concerns, and if these shelters succumb as a result of continual losses, it's the animals that will suffer.  Animal care is not free and I do think there are shelters that aren't paid adequately for their service, but as a public service it also needs to be fiscally responsible and show it can be sustained over the long term."  - Millions of Dollars & Common Sense - 4/1/2012
Ms. Cavanaugh left the helm in September of 2012, but not before a great deal of damage to Delaware SPCA's balance sheet had been done as can be seen by the numbers below.  Not only did the shelter face huge deficits during the Cavanaugh period, but the shelter also began to take in less an less animals to try and lower the larger costs related to "No-Kill", and to make sure they could control the intake to stay within the "No-Kill" 90% release quoto.

Eventually new leadership was put in place at Delaware SPCA and when the current director at Delaware SPCA came in 2014, the shelter was finally beginning to help more animals and the deficit was trimmed substantially post Cavanaugh.  In fact, the Delaware SPCA even did a a remodel to the Stanton shelter to get more foot traffic in the door and help even more animals.

Delaware SPCA
Annual Deficits since their No-Kill Effort Began 2008
2008 (814,100)
2009 (573,154)
2010 (361,163)
2011 (120,123)
2012    (4,782) *
2013 (-29,798)
*(this loss was lowered by the investment returns of $200-300,000 more than previous years, so the shelter was fortunate there was a booming stock market)

2006  -  8,213
2007  -  5,664
2008  -  3,820
2009  -  4,091
2010  -  3,495
2011  -  3,425
2012  -  2,989
2013  -  2,697
2014  -  2,553
2015  -  1,938

2006  -  2,727
2007  -  2,251
2008  -  2,184
2009  -  2,415
2010  -  2,109
2011  -  1,862
2012  -  1,641
2013  -  1,664
2014  -  2,211
2015  -  1,877

Unfortunately the one factor that the new leadership and board at Delaware SPCA could not foresee was the backroom politics that resulted in Senator Blevins tossing a new state run animal control system into the budget epilogue last year for dog control in our state, so it could become a state run monopoly paid to perform dog control by the counties and bringing in an additional out-of-state shelter into a crowded marketplace in New Castle County.  This was a county that already had 3 shelters vying for the same donor dollars, and adding a fourth was going to squeeze already limited resources all the more.

Due to the poor decisions last year by Senator Blevins and her friends at Faithful Friends, I have to believe that this played a huge role in Delaware SPCA's decision to sell the Stanton shelter and focus on Sussex County where they are the only shelter, especially since the new Delaware SPCA director did not risk her shelter by taking part in actions that appear to be collusion like her predecessor.

And then on top of an even more crowded marketplace, salt was also added to the wound in recent months when Adam Lamb of the new state contractor Brandywine Valley SPCA attacked Delaware SPCA and First State Animal Center for taking in less animals.  It was as if he wasn't bright enough to figure out that those organizations would need take in less animals to cut expenses, and would need to look for other means to fund their operations now that neither of them had any government contracts.  If Mr. Lamb needed millions to perform services under the state contracts, how did he think that the other 2 organizations were going to do his job for him for free?  And how could he possible think that diverting blame to those shelters was not inflammatory?
"As a result, Brandywine Valley has had to place some of Delaware's stray animals with rescue partners in Pennsylvania and other states, Lamb said.
"We can't maintain this long term," he added. "We're not always going to be able to count on other states to save the day."  - - Delaware's two largest animal shelters refuse strays

I can't say whether Delaware SPCA saw the similarity in Mr. Lamb's actions to the hate filled years of Faithful Friends attacking First State Animal Center, but it would not surprise me if this boneheaded move by BVSPCA was just the final nail in the coffin for Delaware SPCA Stanton to make the decision to leave the toxic New Castle County environment.  This is the same county where we've already seen a county auditor can get away with using his position to harass First State Animal Center. There are always ramifications for corruption and trying to divert responsibility, and seeing the first true animal welfare institution in our state leave New Castle County is yet another blemish on the "No-Kill" movement.

It should definitely be an interesting election later this year.  More and more people now know the corruption that led us down this path, and destroying the limited resources we already had for animals is going to be a topic of discussion this election year.  Remember that everyone on the From line in the picture below had a part on the harmful path we've gone down the last 6 years, and we an only hope that Senator Blevins days are numbered before we face even more shelter closures or bankruptcies.

Our thoughts go out to another batch of hard working shelter workers at Delaware SPCA who will be losing their jobs shortly because of Delaware's corrupt backroom politics.  Once again it appears that certain politicians care more about the stray cats than they do about the families that will be harmed financially by their actions.