Cosby named to run new Philly Animal Care and Control Team

Animal control has been a hot potato in Philadelphia for the past decade, bouncing between city administration and the Pennsylvania SPCA.

And it's no surprise.

Consider what it takes to manage 30,000 stray dogs and cats each year - that includes handling calls, picking up the animals, providing veterinary care, adoption and euthanasia.

It's tough, often thankless work in a city stretched to brink with its budget, and fraught with emotion and politics.

This year starts yet another chapter in the Hunting Park chronicles with the city supporting a new entity known as the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia. 

Sue Cosby, who stepped down as president of the PSPCA in December, will be moving down the street to take the job as executive director of the newly-created ACCT.

The eight-member ACCT board was formed by the city last year after the PSPCA opted against bidding on the contract for 2012.

The PSPCA. located two blocks away from ACCT on E. Erie Ave, will continue to provide humane law enforcement services to the city (busting hoarders and dog fighting rings and  random acts of cruelty) and will serve as ACCT biggest rescue partner by taking in many of the dogs it picks up.

Confusing? I know.

The PSPCA did however extend its stray control duties until March 31 after the ACCT board felt it could not have the shelter running by that time.

ACCT board chairman Brian Abernathy praised Cosby for her expertise in the area of animal control. "Sue's knowledge of animal control and her familiarity with Philadelphia's urban environment made her an ideal candidate," he said. 

Cosby will be paid $100,000-a-year and oversee a 60-person staff with a budget of $3.8 millon, which includes city and private funds as well as adoption and surrender fees.

Abernathy was pleased to note that he has seen extraordinary unity among an often divisive animal welfare community.

Prior to joining the PSPCA Cosby was executive director of Animal Welfare Association of New Jersey.

Before that she served as chief operating officer at Pennsylvania Animal Care and Control Association (PACCA), the now-defunct organization that handled the city's animal control.

PACCA came under fire in 2008 after an audit revealed mishandled calls, poor record keeping and lack of staff training. Later that year the city awarded the animal control contract to the PSPCA.