After rough few years, ACCT Philly upgrades protocols, secures new leader

John McDevitt
October 02, 2019 - 4:20 pm
ACCT Philly

John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia's Animal Care and Control Team, or ACCT Philly, has new operational protocols in place thanks to national shelter medicine experts, who are training staff how to improve the care of their animals.

The shelter expanded the dog enclosures, and officials removed the center divider, allowing each dog to have a bedroom and bathroom space. When it's time for cleaning, the divider goes back down, allowing staff members to work in a much quicker pace.  

"The staff were able to see that with all the dogs in the housing, as they are meant to be used, that they could clean and be done in just a few hours," explained Dr. Sandra Newbury, head of shelter medicine at the University of Wisconsin.

Those leftover hours mean more time spent walking or playing with the animals.

Related: Protesters outside City Hall demand money for ACCT animal shelter

Newbury and her team are in Philadelphia to train ACCT Philly staffers. The shelter has gone through many challenges over the past year, including several turnovers in leadership and a deadly viral outbreak among its dogs. The expert medicine team hopes to help improve the way ACCT provides care for the animals and how it operates.

"The staff here care," Newbury noted. "The staff here are knowledgeable and they are going to move with all of these new procedures, but the facility remains a challenge."

ACCT plans to make additional renovations to building, replace outdated kennels, and update drainage systems. Newbury hopes her team's recommendations improve efficiency, reduce the length of stay for animals, and offer the best care and compassion.

Meanwhile, the city's Vector Control team, housed on the site, will be relocated, adding 9,000 square feet to the animal shelter. ACCT has also started construction of a new welcome center.

In addition, ACCT named Aurora Velazquez as its new executive director, effective Nov. 4.