What do you call an organization that has been addressing the medical, behavioral, and emotional needs of homeless animals for 50 years? They call it an inspiring achievement.
In 1967, Lesley Sinclair quit her job as an interior designer in New York City, bought a five-acre chicken farm in New Jersey and turned it into a charitable sanctuary for homeless dogs and cats. Fifty years later, Animal Care Sanctuary (ACS), which has occupied more than 30 acres in Pennsylvania in East Smithfield since 1980 and more recently in Wellsboro, is still in the care business. Approximately 500 dogs and cats, all of which are monitored, microchipped, vaccinated, and neutered or neutered by the sanctuary’s veterinarian team, are usually in the home. There is an intensive adoption program in which 90 percent of the animals are taken in. For those who are not adopted, ACS offers a home forever.
ACS’s no-kill policy was virtually unknown in the protection world of the 1960s, and Sinclair’s pioneering adherence is only one of the reasons for the “inspirational” label. Another reason is the longstanding dedication to thinking out-of-the-box to face the challenges that routinely arise in this type of work. ACS is characterized by innovative approaches to promoting animal welfare.
An example of this is the Alternative Housing Program, where dogs most in need of behavioral support work with college-level pre-animal or animal science interns in on-site accommodation. In this carefully monitored environment, dogs go through individually tailored behavior change training programs. To date, the program has a 100 percent success rate. 24 of the 24 dogs are now in a new home.