Fishtown dance party proceeds help ACCT Philly

18,000 animals came through ACCT’s doors last year.

Philly-based Riot Nerd Productions held a dance party at Johnny Brenda’s Friday night in an effort to raise money for the Animal Care & Control Team (ACCT) of Philadelphia, an organization that, according to its website, is the region’s largest animal care and control service provider. In recent months, ACCT Philly’s animal shelter facility in the Feltonville neighborhood of North Philly has dealt with an outbreak of upper respiratory infections (URI), mainly pneumonia, at its kennels. 

“That took a toll on them financially,” said Megan Hawkey, owner of Riot Nerd. “So I thought it would be important to help them out.”

The Dance Party raised a total of $734 for ACCT, while an additional Facebook fundraiser raised $100, according to Hawkey.

According to ACCT’s executive director, Susan Russell, soon after the URI outbreak was announced, the shelter set up a tent city in its parking lot to house healthy dogs until the diseased shed, which happened after about 10 days. Russell said that eight dogs had to be euthanized because they couldn’t overcome their pneumonia, but added that “the vast majority survived.”

“Once the virus had run its course, it took about three weeks to finish that up,” Russell said. “We took the tents down and moved the healthy animals into the main population [inside the building].”

Hawkey, whose company puts on events around the area such as dance parties, craft bazaars and flea markets, said she was motivated to throw the benefit, in part, by her two rescue dogs, Ripley and Bowser, who are both pit mixes. 

“We were talking about doing something about animals for a while,” she said. “It’s something that’s really important to me. I have two rescue dogs so it’s something that’s important to me.”

According to Hawkey, Johnny Brenda’s donated the entire upstairs of the bar, which means that 100 percent of the proceeds went toward ACCT Philly.

On June 6, ACCT Philly resumed taking in dogs, but a debate still remains over the organization’s funding. The added costs of the outbreak didn’t help matters.

“In attempting to tackle this issue head-on, we have incurred a number of additional and unexpected expenses,” ACCT Philly said in a statement released in May. “Monetary donations to assist with the expenses associated with this outbreak, including testing, are greatly appreciated. To donate to ACCT Philly, please go to www.acctphilly.org. Many of the rescues we partner with have also invested significantly in the care of these animals and could use support as well.”

According to its website, ACCT Philly’s mission is to provide shelter, care and lifesaving efforts for homeless, abandoned and abused animals and protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Philadelphia, providing a benefit to all of the citizens of the city regardless of race or economic status. According to Russell, 18,000 animals came through ACCT’s doors last year.

“It’s a lot of animals that we do try to help every year,” said Russell. “Our goal is to try and secure a live outcome for those animals that aren’t at risk or suffering. These are the Philly-bred dogs and cats that belong to our city and they deserve a second chance just like everybody else.”