During common hour on Wednesday, March 31, 2008, Honors students learned about the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Alison Zaccone, Pace University and Honors College graduate of the class of 2004 and Manager of Media and Communications for the ASPCA, spoke to the Honors students about the role of the ASPCA and what it is like working for a not-for-profit organization.
The presentation began with some interesting facts. For instance, 63% of Americans own a pet, and there are 70 million stray cats in New York City alone. Alison explained the mobile clinic that aids in population control by spaying and neutering pets and strays for little or no cost.
Alison also spoke to the group about the ASPCA’s role in law enforcement. She told the group about Dr. Melissa Merck, a forensic veterinarian, who helps to solve crimes involving animals. With her newly-donated mobile crime unit, Dr. Merck acts as a one-woman Animal CSI Unit. Dr. Merck was one of the people involved in helping to indict Michael Vick in the recent dog-fighting scandal.
On a lighter note, Alison described how the ASPCA works hard to find abused and neglected animals new homes. She spoke about the ASPCA’s “Cadillac of animal shelters” in the upper east side in New York City that houses dogs and cats in need of loving homes. The shelter is equipped with state-of-the-art air filtering systems to rid the shelter of unpleasant smells. The living quarters for the animals there are spacious and the facility is bright and airy. It is also a “no kill” facility which means animals that are not adopted are not euthanized, a practice that is unfortunately common in many shelters. Alison also said, “ Twenty-five percent of dogs in shelters are purebred,” a surprising fact to many people.
Alison concluded the presentation by telling the group a bit about working for a not-for-profit. She explained that while in school, she had been taught the misconception that there was no money to be made in not-for-profits, but that this was not true. She also told us that prior to working for the ASPCA, she had worked for a small public relations firm in Manhattan. Alison said that while she was working in the for-profit agency, she always felt that she was pushing products, but that working for the ASPCA made her feel like she was working for a cause.
Â Â Honors students left the event with a new understanding of the ASPCA, some wearing orange ASPCA bracelets. More information about the ASPCA and the animal adoption process can be found on www.ASPCA.org.