Need Help Reporting a Possible Crime in NYC

I believe a crime may have occurred with regard to Gloria, a NYC cat whose badly broken leg you see on an x-ray above. While there is no way to know how her leg was broken, we do know some facts, courtesy of John Sibley’s blog, and it is within those facts that I believe a criminal investigation is warranted.

Gloria was abandoned at an ASPCA mobile clinic in Queens, presumably in late December 2011.  The ASPCA brought her to the pound.  This is a copy of her cage card at NYC Animal Care & Control:

Before I get any further into Gloria’s story, I want to pause and ask you to think about something: Why would anyone leave a cat at an ASPCA vet clinic?  While we don’t know the specific answer for why someone left Gloria there, I think it’s reasonable to assume that generally speaking, a person does not abandon a cat at an ASPCA vet clinic because the cat has a loving owner who is willing and able to continue caring for her.  In other words, any reasonable person would assume that a cat left at an ASPCA vet clinic needs something.  It may be something as simple as a home.  Or, considering this was an ASPCA mobile veterinary clinic, it may be the cat needs some type of veterinary care.

There is really no way of knowing what the situation is until a vet examines the abandoned cat.  My thinking is, upon discovery of an abandoned cat at an ASPCA veterinary clinic, there is an obligation to conduct a basic veterinary exam to determine at least that the cat does not need urgent medical care.  If the plan was to take her to the pound, the veterinary exam would be necessary to determine that the cat was in a stable condition and ok to be transported to the pound.  As such, I am operating on the assumption – although I don’t know this for a fact – that a vet at the ASPCA mobile clinic performed a basic exam on Gloria before she was sent to the pound.

Back to the known facts in Gloria’s case.

She arrived at NYCACC on 12-29-2011 and was examined (presumably by a veterinarian) on that day.  She had a second veterinary exam on 1-15-12, when she was placed on the kill list for having a cold.  This is a copy of the pound’s notes regarding Gloria:

Remarkably absent from the veterinary exam notes is any mention of the fact that this cat was suffering from a badly broken leg.  I’m not a pet psychic but I can guess Gloria was in no small amount of pain, perhaps accounting for the “tension” noted in her behavioral exam.

Thankfully, Gloria was rescued by Pets Alive.  They are not vets but after one day with Gloria, they realized something was wrong and brought her to their vet for an exam.  Their vet determined her leg was broken beyond repair and amputation was required.  She had the surgery the following day and is recovering well (donate to help with Gloria’s veterinary bills here).  The veterinary surgeon determined that Gloria’s leg had been broken for at least a month prior to amputation.

NYCACC allowed Gloria to sit in a cage for weeks with a broken leg – long enough for her to catch a cold and be placed on the kill list.  Neither veterinary exam noted her broken leg nor are there any notes about providing pain medications.

ASPCA had an obligation to have one of the vets at the mobile clinic conduct a basic exam on Gloria.  I don’t know what happened there but I think probably one of the following occurred:

  • The vet at the ASPCA clinic examined Gloria, found her leg was badly broken and the ASPCA decided it didn’t want to spend the money on helping Gloria so took her to the pound.
  • The vet at the ASPCA clinic examined Gloria and somehow completely missed that she had a badly broken leg.
  • The ASPCA performed no veterinary exam on Gloria and transported her to the pound, not knowing if her condition was stable enough to survive transport.

If ASPCA cruelty investigators raided a home, found a cat with a severely broken leg and determined the leg had been broken for at least a month, I believe the officers would arrest the owner for animal cruelty.  No excuses.

In Gloria’s case, the ASPCA is potentially implicated in the crime so obviously they can not conduct an investigation.  But that does not diminish the need for a cruelty investigation.  Who can we contact to request a criminal investigation?

As far as non-criminal wrongdoing, I think it would be appropriate to contact the veterinary board for New York state.  Hopefully the board can conduct an investigation into how a vet missed Gloria’s badly broken leg at the pound twice or if perhaps the veterinary exams are not being conducted by qualified staff.  I hope the board can also determine whether the actions of the ASPCA constituted neglect, abuse or both.  All of these outcomes appear to violate the state veterinary board’s rules and regulations so if any have occurred, the board will surely want to investigate.

38 thoughts on “Need Help Reporting a Possible Crime in NYC

  1. I have stopped donating money to the ASPCA. Several things have come to my attention (this being the latest) that make me less than pleased with their activities. This includes being selective in which animals they choose to help, even when confronted with an injured animal such as Gloria. They have turned their backs on several that I know of and there was no apparent reason.

    I hope somebody in NY will investigate this and, if it means charges will be brought against the ASPCA, so be it.

  2. Poor Baby! So glad she’s in good hands now!

    How much does everyone want to bet the ASPCA uses her “second chance” as a fundraising tool?!?

  3. a local E-clinic here accepts strays when in need (typically middle of the night, since that’s when they’re open). They always do a full exam on the animal, and when they drop it off for impound the next morning they have the most thorough vet records (they even do a FeLeuk test- all at their own expense). And when they have an animal with serious injuries they always call before bringing it in to make sure we can cope with the care/injuries.
    I can’t imagine a vet clinic would take in an animal and not do at least a cursory exam. but then- i can’t imagine the pound would not enter those vet records into it’s record when they received her (especially since it appears they take fairly thorough obersvation and exam notes)

  4. It is astounding. My guess is that the ASPCA treated the cat as abandoned and just shipped her over to NYC ACC without any checkup, or only enough of a check to see she wasn’t howling in pain and didn’t have her guts hanging out. ACC probably assumed she had been examined by ASPCA and only gave a (even more than usual) cursory exam. Have to wonder how many animals are disappeared via this ASPCA to ACC pipeline with no one knowing anything about them.

    1. I keep imagining the person who left Gloria – I don’t know if the person was her owner or someone who found her or what – but I’m guessing the person saw a bunch of vet staff milling about and looked at the ASPCA logo and thought “These people will take care of this cat”. It’s so sad.

      1. Shirley and Andrew, you took the words right out of my mouth.

        Such a sad story. At least she was finally helped. Sad when she has a better chance with a little rescue that only operates on small donations than big corporations who are SUPPOSED to be doing this in the first place.

    1. I don’t know the answer but I’m open to suggestions. The police department comes to mind but I didn’t want to be seen as encouraging a phone campaign targeting the NYPD over a cat who is out of danger. If one person in NYC could call a non-emergency number for the police and make an inquiry as to who a cruelty case involving the ASPCA should be reported to, that would be a good start. But again, I am not asking readers to flood the NYC 911 phone banks with calls about this. We just need to know who to report the incident to.

      1. The ASPCA humane law enforcement agents are NY State Peace Officers. So if you suspected a police officer was committing a crime who would you go to? I wouldn’t be surprised if the humane law enforcement part of the ASPCA is not aware of what the other parts do. How about reporting the NYACC for having Gloria for 3 weeks without noticing the broken leg and help them connect the dots?

      2. They are NY State Peace Officers, not police officers. Wikipedia says:

        “ASPCA Law Enforcement officers may lawfully seize any animal on private property that has been kept for more than 12 hours in an unhealthy, dangerous or unsanitary condition in accordance with NY Agriculture and Markets Law Section 373 subsection 2 provided a complaint has been filed.”

        I looked that up, and found you can file a complaint if there is an animal “which for more than twelve successive hours has been confined or kept in a crowded or unhealthy condition or in unhealthful or unsanitary surroundings or not properly cared for or without necessary sustenance, food or drink, provided that a complaint stating just and reasonable grounds is made under oath or affirmation to any magistrate authorized to issue warrants in criminal cases, and that such warrant authorizing entry and search is issued and delivered by such magistrate; if just and reasonable cause is shown, the magistrate shall immediately issue such warrant.”

        Check out the whole thing:

  5. ASPCA certainly doesn’t care about enforcement in any systematic, professional sense – only when it can be used for publicity. As if the NYPD was run by a group at the New York Post who only enforced the law when it was something that would make them a great front page.

    1. I think this would make a great story – but ho do we pitch it to? I know nothing of media and you need to make sure you send it to someone who would be inclined to go with it and has the ability to go with it.

  6. it was pointed out to me if the ASPCA is a government agency you can find out what branch and go up the chain. They aren’t a government agency but aren’t they outsourced as a government agency? Who would oversee animal cruelty in any other town? and who is above them?

  7. It’s possible the vet on the mobile clinic had left for the day leaving only the vet techs on duty. It may be standard practice to take any animals not picked up after s/n surgery or abandoned at the site to ACC. This doesn’t justify what they did with a full service hospital of their own, and absolutely doesn’t explain why the ACC let Gloria suffer, but it may give the ASPCA an excuse to hide behind.

  8. I was thinking State Attorney General, but didn’t that way go badly for another shelter mess in another state, the one where they were shooting the dogs and hitting cats with pipes?

    Why do so many of our animal shelters have to be so totally sick?

    1. That’s my state! *raises hand sheepishly* It’s true that our AG did not do anything meaningful, but we still asked (and asked). That’s what we need to do here – ask.

  9. I sent this email (along with Shirley’s post on Yes, Biscuit) to Kathy Bliss who is the President of the Executive Board of Vet Techs in NY State:

    “I would like to tell you about an incident that happened this month concerning a cat that was dropped off at the ASPCA mobile vet clinic. When you read this you will see that it was the responsibility of the vet tech at the ASPCA and the NYACC to notice a severely broken leg. How could a vet tech miss that? Someone is negligent and needs to be held responsible for this.

    As stated below, if an animal cruelty officer was sent to a home where the cat had this broken leg and nobody in the home did anything for the cat the owners would be charged with animal cruelty. And so should the vet techs who had this cat in their presence, who did an evaluation of the cat and yet NOBODY mentioned it, treated it or did any other service to this cat who was obviously in a lot of pain.

    So I implore you to look into this incident and take action against the vet techs who ignored this cat’s suffering.”

    And this is the response I got back from her:


    Please have someone report this to the Office of Professions. They are the organization that oversees licensing and the following of procedures in regards to negligence and breaking of licensure laws. I will also forward this to the main NYSAVT headquarters. I can’t report it to them, and neither can the organization, as we were not witness to it directly.


    So this needs to be reported to the Office of Professions by anyone who has first hand knowledge of the case. Who would that be?

    1. Thank you Anne. I seriously question Ms. Bliss’s assertion that she can only report things of which she has first hand knowledge. How often does she receive reports which need investigating? Does she only act on them if she witnessed the act directly? How could ANY board of ANYTHING only act on matters which are reported by someone who witnessed them directly? I mean, if someone sees a dead body lying in a doctor’s office lobby and anonymously calls the board of medical professionals to investigate, they don’t say, “Not without a direct witness”. That’s what investigations are FOR – cos sometimes the only people who directly witness criminal acts are the ones who commit them. And they tend not to report themselves. But if somebody INVESTIGATES, they might scrounge up a direct witness or two.

      1. I think this may be a misstep in communications over procedures, but can’t be sure – still, it may be that what Ms Bliss is saying is that she can’t personally file a formal report or complaint except on cases she has direct knowledge of – which does make legal sense.

        The first-hand witnesses in this case would be the people at Pets Alive who discovered Gloria was injured, I would think, the vet/vet techs who helped treat her and her foster family, backed up by her NYACC & subsequent records – everyone with direct knowledge of the discovery & treatment of her broken leg.

      2. Yes, it would make you a first-hand witness – you’re with the rescue group, too, so you know the whole story first-hand.

      3. John – since you handled her did you notice anything about her leg? Did you touch it while taking her out of the carrier? I saw a picture of someone cuddling her so am wondering if she was just in shock and not reacting or her leg was never touched.

    2. This assumes that only a vet tech examined her. I thought each animal had to be examined by a vet at least one. Or maybe I am making that up because it sounds logical since a Vet Teach can’t pick up everything a vet could. Ether way they did note she was intact and I would think that checking for that would involve manipulating the hind legs so I would have thought she would react to that.

  10. It is possible that the management at ASPCA isn’t aware of problems such as this one. I would not jump the gun and assume that the entire organization is malicious or apathetic. Organizations all have problems and condemning a large organization for the mistakes of their front line staff is like sending a whole town to jail for the acts of one citizen. I’m not saying they aren’t guilty but rather would suggest moving up the ladder and documenting your interactions using factual information rather than attacking or value laden statements (these tend to close the lines of communication and limit progress) I would first contact the management of that one ASPCA vet clinic, and ask to be reported to on their investigative findings. If that doesn’t do anything,ask for their superior’s name & keep moving up the ladder in a professional manner all the way to the national level if needed. If nothing happens you will have a history of the process and can then go public to expose the situation to their donors. I know its sad, & horrible but compose yourself &stay calm. This is how to create change in organizations. Please feel free to contact me if you need further help navigating this situation.

    1. We don’t know what vet clinic it was (it was a mobile in Queens, no known date – there are a lot of those) and the ASPCA isn’t known for answering… well, anything. I’ve posed the question to them and gotten zilch, they’ve clammed up.

      This isn’t the first time they’ve done something like this in even the past week or two. There’s also Benny.

      Wasn’t too thrilled with their handling of Oreo either. To say the least. Enter into a dialogue? They never do. Not part of their SOP.

  11. Some sad updates on Gloria today, via the Pets Alive Twitter feed:

    As of this morning Gloria is not eating well. We are concerned, of course, and monitoring her care closely. Will keep you posted.

    Gloria continuing to not look well. She was taken to the vet this morning for further tests and observation. Pls keep her in your thoughts.

    Vet just called. Gloria continues to go downhill. Our vet wants her rushed to a specialist immediately. Janet taking her to Oradell now.

    Vet says her heart doesn’t sound good and she is very weak. We are extremely concerned. Will keep you posted.

  12. The ASPCA stepped up and admitted they failed Gloria. They are going to pay for her medical expenses. I think the NYCACC is more culpable since they had her for 3 weeks and supposedly examined her twice and didn’t see it. Pets Alive has posted on their facebook page that they are willing to bring legal action against NYCACC, but they would need a pro bono lawyer. If you are willing or know someone who is contact then and see if anything can be done.

  13. My comment to my animal activist down here where I live is to start reaching out to the “PEOPLE” of New York the animal lovers the VOTERS who put these people in their jobs who do not care about these facilities and GET THEM OUT .. you have got to get the local people involved the voters if you do not then these things are going to keep happening day after day … from what I understand the higher ups are appointed by the voters and if they do not care then you are just wasting your time … you can not fire these people … you are going to need to get people in place that actually care about the ugliness that is happening in THEIR CITY … also by posting pictures of these people and true horrible stories of these actions shaming these people putting them out in public I think should also help .. this is just my thought … no one wants to be shamed in public ..

  14. I think you could get assistance from the NY Board of Education office of Professional Conduct as they distribute licenses and take complaints against their licensees-veterinarians and vet techs.
    Here is the link for complaints
    there is also a section on enforcement.
    and for corporate entities

    The next question is WHO INSPECTS and LICENSES the CACC in nY?

    I would look at the web pages and codes for NYS agriculture and Markets, and the NYC DOH- NEW YORK CITY department of health. and the NYS DOS DOH (state department of health)

    In westchester, the county health dept inspects animal shelters as they are seen as having a potential impact on public health. I you go to the CACC or to an ASPCA van, look around for certifications-which should be posted…and see who regulates them. If I find out more, I will post, but I am sure you can figure this out. Thank you for all you do-

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