Animal Care and Control in New York City: nothing warm and fuzzy about it.
Animal Welfare in NYC
I am looking for someone, anyone, to make a big deal about what is actually going on in Animal Care and Control of New York City. I'm not an emotional "wacko", I am not a member of PETA, I am simply someone who is seeking voice and change on behalf of animals suffering due to poor management at Animal Care & Control of NYC.
What I used to think about animal shelters...
Most people will argue the ACCNYC is doing its best, and the responsibility for the lost lives, tortured and sick animals falls completely on the shoulders of irresponsible owners. After all, what can a shelter do when you have hundreds of dogs being turned in every month? At least that's what I used to think, until I got involved on a more personal level. And now my blood is boiling, and I don't even know where to begin to fight this battle, other than to push this story on to anyone who is willing to speak up on the behalf of animals, who cannot speak for themselves.
My name is RONDO. My Animal ID # is A0934803
Here is a copy of the medical records on just one just one of the dogs on today's "TO BE DESTROYED" list. Note that the dog came in healthy, with healthy rating "1-NORMAL", and its health deteriorated to "MAJOR CONDITIONS" within a few days.
06/07/2012 INITIAL PHYSICAL EXAM
Medical rating was 1 - NORMAL , behavior rating was NOTDETERMN
SCAN NEGATIVE BRIGHT, ALERT, RESPONSIVE, HYDRATED PHYSICAL EXAM Fearful, struggling , intolerance of handling attempted to jump off the studio Nosf
06/21/2012 RE-EXAM (LAST MAJOR EXAM)
Medical rating 3 C - MAJOR CONDITIONS , behavior rating EXPERIENCE
BRIGHT, ALERT, RESPONSIVE, HYDRATED nasal and ocular discharge, coughing A:kennel cough P: doxy 100mg 2.5 tab po sid 10 days
Problem #1. Animal Control and Care in NYC - a death carousel
ACCNYC is supposed to be safe haven with a mission to save as many animals as possible. Understandably, the resources are not limitless, and a percentage of animal population that comes into ACCNYC will be put down due to the limited space at the shelter and irresponsible pet owners. The website claims they do not put to sleep healthy animals. How sweet. What the website fails to mention is that it has been transformed into a death carousel: a large number of animals comes into their doors quite healthy, yet within days they are slain with Kennel Cough and pneumonia contracted on ACCNYC premises. I am saying this because for several days now I have been following the list of dogs and cats being put to sleep, and have read the notes included with each animal (the information is public , you simply need to scroll down to the bottom of the page and "login" to view it). The same tragic story is repeated over and over: the initial medical evaluation of a pet reads "healthy", yet within days they all of a sudden have "major conditions".
I can understand if it happens once. Maybe twice a year. But this story repeats over and over and over, and applies to both, cats and dogs. Every @#$# day! A dog comes in healthy -> Kennel Cough -> "Major Health Conditions" that require "doxy", a medicine used to treat pneumonia. Why are they getting deathly sick in a place that is meant to save them?
I don't know if you ever loved a dog.
I don't know if you ever had a cat. I do and I did. The thought of either one perishing within days from pneumonia that could have been prevented turns my stomach. The hypocrisy of the claim "we don't put to sleep healthy animals" and being the actual place where the animals get so sick that the only humane option left is death is mind-boggling. I'm not blaming the volunteers, I am simply asking what's being done by those who run the shelter to stop this sickening cycle?
Problem #2: When the difficult task of finding the home for a sick dog is accomplished...
... the animals are not released! You read it correctly. Dogs who have reputable RESCUE organizations willing to step up, and pull the dogs form ACC shelters, and approved foster care homes are found, are put to sleep anyway!
If your primary option is to care for and save animals, why is it so difficult to actually save one?
To understand the full extent of the problem, I invite you to visit this Facebook page set up by the people who work outside of ACCNYC to save the animals inside. The easiest way to interpret what the page is all about is to go to the photo album section: you will find dogs sorted into "TO BE DESTROYED ON <insert tomorrow's or today's date>", "SAFE" - which means dogs that have been rescued and pulled from the shelter, "URGENT <insert the name of the three NYC shelters>", "GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN" is self explanatory. The folders are updated daily, and are reset once they reach a certain number of images (50-200).
"TO BE DESTROYED" folder has anywhere from 10-30 images daily. Some of those animals have already been put down. When they are put down, their information is taken off of ACC website, while others still have hope. Volunteers, Facebook visitors are networking day and night until the very moment that animal's death has been confirmed, trying to find foster homes, pledging money for the animals with serious healthy issues, and looking for permanent homes for each dog on the list. Just look at the comments next to each photo. You will see the work being done.
Granted, some comments are just emotional outbursts of those who happen to glance at a picture someone else shared on FB, but other comments help people to understand how to navigate the adoption process and the true condition of each dog listed. The pickle is, the time given to some animals to find homes is unreasonably short, and seems to be equated to a death sentence. Sometimes, despite the fact that someone steps up to save the dog, the shelter puts the animal down anyway(!), sooner than promised, without any justification or explanation: for instance, a recent incident with a handsome Rottweiler, Rocco (#A0935204).
Rocco and Hero: just two names out of many.
Rocco came into the shelter healthy and well. He was put down two weeks later due to "major health conditions", like the rest. The most heartbreaking part of this story is that he had a rescue that called in and placed a "HOLD"on him, with a home lined up ready to take this boy. I am partial to this particular incident because I'm an owner of a Rottie Ella, and I can't even imagine her stuck in a kennel, coughing and suffocating from pneumonia in a place "committed to saving animals".
Rocco's story is not an exception. The URGENT also references a recent, even more outrageous story of Hero, who once again, came in healthy, got sick, and actually died in his cage at ACCNYC, despite a rescue organization wanting and waiting for a permission(!) to take him out of the shelter.
How can you help?
1. Spay and neuter your pets.
The change begins with you. NYC should ask why it has such an outrageous amount of dogs being surrendered and killed every day? This does NOT happen in every state, in every large city. Why is the percentage of surrendered unaltered animals is so high? What are the penalties for not spaying or neutering your pets in a city where thousands, yes, thousands of cats and dogs are put to sleep every year? Why isn't there a stricter legislation out there? Regardless of what local regulations state, spay and neuter your pets. Too many are dying.
2. If you can't adopt or foster - help those who can.
Vet care costs money, and rescuing a sick animal is not cheap. By donating to your local rescue organization you allow them to take in more animals out of kill shelters, such as AC&C of NYC, and therefore, save more lives.
3. Spread awareness.
URGENT dogs and cats are not given much time to live. If you have social network profile, use it to post pet profiles. Educate others, demand action.
Dogs needs human contact. Plain and simple. Shelters are not equipped to give each dog what it needs, so it is up to us to find the time to make the lives of pets in the shelters a little bit better and easier.
It's one thing when animals are abused and sickened by twisted people, it's a whole another story when there is a system in place that seems to have much more to do with killing pets than saving them. Unless we speak up, raise awareness, and call those managing AC&C to step up to their responsibilities nothing will change.
I hope I have your attention.