OKLAHOMA CITY––Former New York City Animal Care & Control chief Julie Bank on January 16, 2015 assumed direction of the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter and Animal Welfare Division.
Succeeding acting director John Gary, who had replaced 14-year executive director Catherine English, Bank is expected to help Oklahoma City achieve further dramatic drops in shelter killing, already falling from 39.8 animals killed per 1,000 human residents in 1998 to 28.0 in 2007 and 16.3 in 2013––still nearly twice the U.S. national average of circa 9.5.
Handling as many as 700 animals at a time, on a budget of $4 million per year, the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Division in 2009 won an American SPCA “Mission: Orange” partnership that brought an investment of about $1 million in efforts to rehome shelter animals through adoptions, returns to previous homes, and transfer to nonprofit adoption agencies.
Started with the ASPCA
Bank was hired in part because of her familiarity with the ASPCA adoption programs. Beginning her animal welfare career with the ASPCA nearly 30 years ago, Bank left the ASPCA after 10 years as director of shelter operations and humane education outreach to become director of education and therapeutic programs for the Arizona Humane Society in Phoenix.
Bank later served as deputy director of Maricopa County Animal Care & Control, also in Phoenix. She debuted as an executive director in June 2006 with the North County Humane Society & SPCA in Oceanside, California.
Bank returned to New York City in March 2010 to head the NYC Animal Care & Control agency after the North County Humane Society & SPCA merged with the San Diego Humane Society in 2010. Her return to New York City was jointly announced not only by the NYC-ACC but also by the ASPCA and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, with whom Bank furthered productive adoption partnerships.
New York City progress
During Bank’s New York City childhood in the 1960s, the ASPCA shelters then handling animal control for the city killed upward of a quarter of a million dogs and cats per year. The New York City toll began to drop after the first ASPCA sterilization clinic opened in 1968.
By the time Bank arrived to head the NYC-ACC, her predecessors had lowered the toll to fewer than 18,000 animals per year¬¬––less than a fifth as many as 100 years earlier, when New York City included only about a quarter as many people and pets. Among major U.S. cities, only San Francisco killed fewer dogs and cats per 1,000 humans.
Reducing shelter killing further looked like a tall order, but Bank in a two-and-a-half-year tenure found ways to cut New York City shelter killing by more than half, to just 1.0 per 1,000 human residents, surpassing San Francisco, whose own numbers had continued to improve.
No Kill Conference participant
Bank had since inception attended the annual No Kill Conference series, begun in 1995, participating at least 12 years before No Kill Advocacy Center founder Nathan Winograd did, but not since the No Kill Advocacy Center became the conference host in 2007.
Rejecting Winograd’s “No Kill Equation” as simplistic, Bank despite her success in reducing New York shelter killing came under a ceaseless barrage of vitriolic criticism from Winograd and his followers.
In mid-2010 Bank won from the New York city government a two-year contract extension and a $10 million funding increase. Bank resigned, however, in October 2012, citing family reasons.
New Stockton shelter manager
Bank was the second hiring of note in the animal control field during January 2015. Twenty-year Stockton Police Department dispatcher Phillip Zimmerman, 40, on New Year’s Day became manager of Stockton Animal Shelter, in Stockton, California, “which in recent years has been beset by criticism and pending litigation by animal-rights advocates,” reported Roger Phillips of the Stockton Record. “Zimmerman replaces interim manager Tammie Murrell, who remains in a part-time role. The Animal Shelter is under the jurisdiction of the Police Department,” Phillips continued, “and Chief Eric Jones endorsed the selection that was made by a search committee that included the manager of the Front Street Shelter in Sacramento, Gina Knepp.”
Murrell succeeded Pat Claerbout, who previously headed the Sacramento County Animal Shelter, and now heads the Baldwin Park shelter for the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care & Control.
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