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Ed Boks Takes Over At NYC Animal Care And Control

by Sherry Morse

Edward Boks, from Maricopa County, Arizona, is the new executive director of New York City Animal Care and Control (NYCAC&C), a non-profit agency which also handles animal control for New York City.

Mr. Boks was pastor of Grace Chapel of Phoenix from the early 80s to the mid 90s. Prior to coming to New York on a full-time basis, he worked part-time for NYCAC&C at the same time as he was serving as the executive director of the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, the largest pet adoption agency in the United States. Maricopa County is also the home of the first municipal no-kill shelter.

Mr. Boks is a pioneer in the philosophy of "no kill" shelters as a means of animal control. In Maricopa County that philosophy resulted in the lowest animal euthanasia rate and highest pet adoption rate in the county's history.

Although Mr. Boks had vowed that he would not leave Maricopa County Animal Care and Control until the shelter was entirely "no kill", he said that the New York position would provide more visibility for the idea.

Currently Maricopa County euthanizes less than 10,000 healthy, adoptable pets each year along with 17,000 ill or aggressive animals that cannot be adopted.

Boks hopes to replicate some of the Maricopa County programs in New York where the animal care and control problem faces many of the same challenges as did Maricopa County when he took over the directorship there five years ago.

As part of Boks' new tenure in New York, NYCAC&C changed its name (it was formerly the Center for Animal Care and Control) and formally announced its initiation of a new philosophy to create a no-kill community and its mission to promote and protect the health, safety and welfare of the pets and people of New York City.

Boks hopes that over the next five years New York City will become a "no-kill community."

That does not necessarily mean that no animals will be euthanized.

Boks says, "The good definition of no-kill is to get to the place where we use the same criteria when deciding whether or not to euthanize a shelter animal as we use when deciding whether or not to euthanize our own pet - when it is a loving decision and not a pragmatic business decision based on whether we have enough space."

Currently nearly 30,000 of the approximately 50,000 animals received by NYC AC&C are euthanized each year.

As one of NYC AC&C's efforts to avoid euthanizing pets, it will become the first shelter group nationwide to use the Pet-Ark which will link all regional shelters to help increase adoptions and the number of lost pets reunited with their owners.

Mr. Boks hopes to further reduce the number of animals euthanized by promoting a discount spay/neuter program to reduce the animal population, increasing adoption numbers by introducing a sliding scale of adoption fees, and decreasing the number of animals taken to shelters.

He also hopes to clean up, and perhaps move, the city's adoption centers which were found to be inadequate in a June 2002 report by the city comptroller's office, so they become more appealing to people looking for a pet.

Mr. Boks knows he faces a long road to achieve all of his goals, but reminds us that, "This is a community crisis and it's going to take a community to solve it."

2003 Animal News Center, Inc.

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