MSPCA and ASPCA controversies

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1994:

Charges that the Boston-based Mass-
achusetts SPCA runs Angell Memorial Hospital
as a profitable venture instead of as a charity
resurfaced for the third time in six years on
February 22 in The Boston Globe. “The hospital
requires pet owners to pay for services in full up
front, or at least a 50% deposit with any payment
plan, before any medical work is done on ani-
mals,” explained reporter David Armstrong.
Said Donna Bishop of the Boston-area
rescue group Alliance for Animals, “The MSPCA
bills itself as a resource for people in need, and
they solicit funds on the basis of being a charitable
organization, but when people arrive there and
need services, they are denied.”
Responded Angell Memorial chief of
staff Dr. Paul Gambardella, “There is a perception
that because we are a nonprofit, charitable hospi-
tal, there will be or should be free care or
reduced-cost care. It’s a business. I make no
apologies for that.”

The G l o b e pointed out that Angell
Memorial charges more than the going Boston
rates for X-rays and examinations, although it
charges as little as half the going rate for neutering,
and added that MSPCA president Gus Thornton’s
salary, now $154,000, has nearly doubled in five
years. The MSPCA also provides Thornton’s vehi-
cle, a Volvo. Several other MSPCA senior veteri-
narians draw six-figure salaries, more than twice
the national average for small animal practitioners.
At deadline, New York city and state
authorities seemed to be giving the American
SPCA time to regroup, after four senior officials
were fired in the wake of an overtime pay abuse
scandal, as ANIMAL PEOPLE reported in
March. The New York Charities Bureau “is cur-
rently reviewing the allegations made against” the
ASPCA, state attorney general Oliver Koppell
said February 23, “in order to determine whether a
more comprehensive investigation is warranted,”
while the New York City health department has
suspended the process of awarding the city animal
control contract to another bidder, pending what-
ever changes may occur. The cruelty charges
brought against the ASPCA by former head of law
enforcement Herman Cohen over defects at the
two-year-old ASPCA shelter remain pending.
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