This summer, New York City Animal Care and Control tried to muzzle their volunteers so they couldn’t go to the media with documentation of neglect and abuse at the city’s shelters. In addition, they “suspended” many already approved rescue groups, refusing to allow them to save pets while ACC developed a new rescue policy. The entire volunteer program has been on-again, off-again with next month scheduled as a “break” according to ACC’s website. That might be for the best since some folks may have trouble at year’s end coming up with the $25 fee ACC charges people to volunteer.
Now, blaming “budget cuts”, ACC has announced they won’t be looking in the city’s 3 shelters for lost pets anymore when worried owners call:
Frantic owners used to call Animal Care and Control directly to have city workers search the three main facilities, but that’s no longer part of the workers’ job description.
As a result of these budget cuts the owners of lost pets must come to city shelters in person, including one in Manhattan, and the others in Brooklyn and Staten Island.
They will make an exception for disabled owners who are unable to search the shelters themselves. But for everyone else:
“There’s a very good chance if their pet is lost they wont be able to find them,” said Jane Hoffman, president of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.
Hoffman said, by law, an unclaimed animal can be adopted out or euthanized after as little as 48 hours, although it usually takes longer than that.
How is any of this ok?
Let’s be clear as to the effects of this decision. Your kitty slips past your feet, bolts through your front door and gets lost somewhere in New York City. You have to physically visit and search all three shelters every day because you don’t know if or when he might get brought to a shelter. You don’t know if the shelter would hold him for 48 hours or 72 hours or might kill him immediately because maybe he’s been deemed “unadoptable” or caught a kitty cold. Hopefully you have a very understanding boss who will allow you the time away to get to all three shelters and conduct your searches every day. But if your kid gets sick or you break your ankle or someone in your family wants you to attend their wedding in CT – well, any of those things could mean death-by-shelter for your lost cat.
Here’s my question: If you strip away your shelter’s volunteer program, the rescue groups you work with, and any realistic chance of reuniting lost pets with their owners – what’s left? ACC won’t look for your lost pet because they can’t afford the staff to do it. They won’t let volunteers who would be willing to look for your pet for free come in unless they pay a fee and jump through flaming hoops. They won’t work with rescues willing to save pets from being killed at the shelter. Is NYC Animal Care and Control going to rename itself NYC Pet Killing Facility? Because if the current trend continues, that will be the only “service” they’ll offer.
Thank you FreedomDaug and Rachel G. for sending in links on this subject.