Dear Mr. Nolan,
I am writing you today because I attended the Board Meeting of ACC yesterday June 21st, the first day of summer, in downtown Manhattan. I am writing to you because I saw something in you that I struggled to see in the other board members, Dr. Farley, or Julie Bank. I am writing you and only you because while other board members were texting, yawning, staring off into space at the floor, you were not Mr. Nolan. You were in that room. I saw focus, I saw compassion in your eyes as the public had their turn to speak. I saw you listen, leaning forward in your seat, paying attention. Even as at one point Julie herself rolled her eyes, you stayed focused on the speaker, from the loud passionate fervent ones to the quiet volunteer statement read. I am reaching out to you because I think you care…I think you heard each and every concerned animal rescuer in that room, and I think you know that the key to stopping the neglect, abuse, illness, and killing at Animal Care and Control in New York City is to start acknowledging the problems…and to work WITH the public with transparency and full disclosure. Mr. Nolan, I think you KNOW that this is not happening. I saw it in your eyes and in your focus. You can be that one person in power to speak up. You can help fuel change. You can help to be a voice for the voiceless because Julie is not doing it, and nobody on the board is doing it.
I realize that us animal rescuers often get a reputation for being loud, passionate, eccentric, perhaps even a little crazy. I think it’s because nobody else is speaking up for our innocent companion animals, and so we sometimes feel like we HAVE to be loud because nobody in power is listening. I think that many of these (mostly women) perhaps are a little crazy, how could they not be? These individuals have CHOSEN to dedicate their entire lives, every bone in their body, every hour, every last dollar, to the plight of our companion animals. You can not do that, you can not face the heartbreak that comes with that and hold on to all of your sanity. I don’t quite fall into this category yet. I volunteer when I can, donate when I can, foster when I can, but I’m quite fond of my sanity and would like to hang on to it at least for this final year of my 20’s. But I am humbled by these rescuers, and I feel selfish that I don’t do more. That being said, so much can be done with so little, and I hope that you can see that Mr. Nolan and want to be a part of it.
I know that you care, I feel it, and I know that you know that change has to happen. Maybe you are afraid? Afraid to be that one person to speak out, to ask the questions nobody else on the board asks? Are you afraid of losing your position? I guarantee that if you help be the first step in building a bridge to work together by lifting the veil of secrecy and admitting that our current system is failing you will have NATIONAL support. And if you are punished, the outcry would be 100-fold of anything we have seen yet.
I will leave you with two photos….first, we have the picture of poor emaciated neglected “Ella” that Julie spoke of during her presentation, and that she touted as a fine example of how the ACC helps neglected and abandoned animals. I place that picture next to that of “Ebony” the pitbul who spent her last few hours of life in a tiny cage filled with feces, no food, and no water. How is this better? How is this providing care? How is this compassionate? How is this even human?
Thank you for reading my letter, I greatly appreciate it, and I sincerely hope that it does not fall on deaf ears.