Butkovitz Releases Philadelphia Animal Care and Control (PACCA) Audit

Audit Date: October 16, 2008
Audit Categories
  • Performance
Controller: Alan Butkovitz

Executive Summary

For Immediate Release:
October 16, 2008

Contact: Harvey M. Rice


Butkovitz Releases Philadelphia Animal Care and Control (PACCA) Audit
Cites Poor Recordkeeping and Non-Compliance with Provisions of Its Contract with the City

Today, City Controller Alan Butkovitz released his audit of The Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Association (PACCA). The audit was conducted to determine if PACCA was complying with the provisions of their contract with the City of Philadelphia.

PACCA was created as a non-profit to handle animal control for the city of Philadelphia – with the expectations for animal welfare. For the past 6 years since 2002, PACCA has received over 16 million dollars from the city for the services it provides.

Butkovitz stated, “As a result of our compliance audit – we concluded two main findings:

First, PACCA staff admitted to the auditors that some animals had been put to death prior to the required ten day holding period for bite cases. PACCA records were not maintained sufficiently to allow us to confirm compliance with holding requirements for animals that had bitten someone and could possibly have had the rabies virus. PACCA also failed to keep separate files for bite cases.
Second, PACCA’s monthly reports to the Health Department, mandated under the contract, were not always accurate.”

Butkovitz continued, “For example — the monthly “Put-to Death” reports for 2007 that were provided to the Department were incorrect and euthanasia logs for July 2007 were missing”.

Euthanasia logs are used to monitor the use of Sodium Pentobarbital, which is a barbiturate; a controlled substance which may be habit forming and which comes under the Federal Controlled Substances Act under the DEA.

Other findings in the Report include:

1. No licensed wildlife trapper on staff.

2. The database and telephone systems were inadequate. Animal control officers did not meet the educational requirements specified in PACCA’s current job description nor is formal training provided for them and field service technicians.

3. There was no formal program or routine in place to monitor the operation and conditions of the horse drawn carriages as required in the contract. It was sporadic at best.

4. Fee collection and cash receipt procedures were weak and could not be tested without having to totally reconstruct PACCA’s records.

Butkovitz stated, “Another concern is the dismal 4% rate of dog license compliance. By increasing dog license registration the City will generate additional revenues that can go directly to the care and welfare of animals in Philadelphia. If PACCA increases licensing compliance to 25% an additional $650,000 would be generated.”

“We also uncovered specifics of the contract itself which we view as weaknesses, such as the contract does not contain any requirements for medical/veterinary care, nor did it provide funding for these services. However, PACCA, on its own partnered with the University of Pennsylvania’s School Of Veterinary Medicine to provide veterinary care for animals that came under its control. Also, PACCA is forced to operate in a facility, provided by the City, t hat has limited space and does not have the capability to physically separate animals diagnosed with infectious diseases. Butkovitz stated.

Butkovitz conclude, “While we as a city have an obligation to care for those among us who may need our help from time to time – we should not forget defenseless creatures that are often neglected, abandoned and abused. In paraphrasing Mohandas Gandhi: ‘the greatness of a people and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.'”