Maddie’s Fund Not Familiar with NYC ACC Records (or Irony)

Reader Daniela contacted Maddie’s Fund in January to inquire as to why a specific cat was on the NYC ACC kill list and included the details from the cat’s records as they appeared on Facebook.  Shelly Work from Maddie’s Fund replied on January 20:

Hi Daniela,

I’m going to have to refer your question to the Mayor’s Alliance, who I’ve copied on this email, since I do not have familiarity with these reports or specific procedures at NYCACC. The Mayor’s Alliance works closely with the NYCACC and should be able to help you.


If Maddie’s Fund isn’t familiar with the NYC ACC pet records or procedures, that might explain a few things.  For example, it might explain why Maddie’s Fund would post this story on its website and Facebook page without gagging on the irony:

When the Dane County Humane Society (lead agency for Maddie’s® Projects in Dane County, WI) had an influx of cats and kittens with upper respiratory infections last summer, they knew they had to take action. What did they do? Held a clearance sale!

With absolutely zero budget or lead time, they launched a next-day “Cats with Colds” clearance, offering the cats and kittens with special training in how to medicate them and how to protect any other cats in the home.

While the adoption staff was being trained in how to educate the adopters, the PR staff was letting their Facebook followers and the local media know about the promotion.

Twenty cats were adopted immediately, mostly kittens. After four days, every one of the available cats had been adopted, with their new humans saying things like, “A cold? I don’t mind that, and I know how to pill a cat!”

Maddie’s Fund, which pours cash into the NYC ACC pet killing facility, isn’t familiar with the pound’s “specific procedures”.  (I guess pet killing is a specific procedure.)  So maybe they don’t realize that NYC ACC kills cats with colds every week.  Furthermore, the pound fails to protect cats in its care from catching the dreaded NYC ACC cold, which generates a never ending supply of cats for the kill room.

If Maddie’s Fund does realize this and still claims ignorance, that’s deception.  If they truly aren’t aware of the needless cat killing at NYC ACC and just keep sending checks without researching the real story, that’s irresponsible.  If Maddie’s Fund fails to ask the question, “How come Dane County HS can save cats with colds on a ‘zero budget’ but NYC ACC, to whom we have given millions, kills them?”, that’s just plain stupid.



16 thoughts on “Maddie’s Fund Not Familiar with NYC ACC Records (or Irony)

  1. I can’t tell you how depressing this is. I think I’ll go back to Facebook and read David Greene’s post to a link for an article on Rush Limbaugh.

  2. I don’t think Maddie’s Fund is the “bad guy” in this. They donate money to NY ACC stipulating that they can’t kill for space needs. It’s the NY ACC that has gotten around that by saying animals are sick and killing them then. Should Maddie’s Fund then pull their money, which would allow NY ACC to kill for space and any other reason they want? That would be horrible. How does going after a benefactor like Maddie’s Fund help? Note, Maddie’s Fund is headed by Richard Avanzino, the “father” of the No Kill movement.

    1. 1. A responsible donor is going to hold NYC ACC’s feet to the fire and not turn a blind eye to their killing workarounds.

      2. We do not have to choose between Maddie’s Fund pulling their funding or accepting the status quo. There are other options. Maddie’s Fund could jack NYC ACC up, for one. Advocates, including Maddie’s Fund, can work to get CAARA passed so that NYC ACC does not have the discretion to kill pets for any reason they want anymore.

      1. I heard Richard Avanzino address a question about NY ACC once. This was 2009 in Washington DC at the No Kill Conference organized by Nathan Winograd. His reply was that the organization can’t fix problems in cities like New York or anywhere else. They can provide funding and guidelines, but it is up to local organizations and people to do it. I appreciate your blog and your opinion, but going after an organization that isn’t based in NYC to fix NYC problems is not going to get anywhere. They have no people on the ground here. Let’s hold the feet to the fire of those that work for us and that are actually responsible for the killing. City government officials like Tom Farley and of course, Bloomberg who appointed all of the directors on the board at NY ACC.

    2. Howard, everybody knows that NYACC gets around the Maddie’s Fund restrictions by deliberately misclassifying animals as sick. “Everybody” includes Maddie’s Fund. MF wields tremendous influence. They should be protesting publicly, openly pressuring NYACC, demanding that Bloomberg get these shelters fixed, making every New Yorker aware of what the public shelters there are doing. Instead, they are silent. That silence is a decision and it makes them complicit.

      Although Rich Avanzino pioneered No Kill methods when he worked in San Francisco, he avoids conflict. So the fact that Maddie’s Fund is carefully keeping its mouth shut isn’t surprising. But IMO it is wrong.

      1. I understand your passion in helping animals Karen. I share it! But Maddie’s Fund doesn’t exist to help one city, New York. It is a national organization and as far as I know, it has no people on the ground to stay abreast of local issues. Yes, I do think they are well aware that NY ACC kills for excuses like a cough or ear infection. But they have chosen to focus their mission on encouraging organizations to reduce their killing by doing two primary things, 1- not killing for space; 2- making records public. The latter is meant to get locals aware of what’s happening and getting them active. As outsiders, Maddie’s Fund wants us to do it ourselves here in NYC. I think we as New Yorkers need to take a good look in the mirror and realize that WE are to blame for electing leaders that don’t care about animal issues. And sure as hell, next year, Christine Quinn is NOT getting my vote!

  3. I am speaking only for myself, and have absolutely no information on Maddie’s Fund’s grant-giving other than what is published on their website, but Rich Avanzino said here ( that they have given around $450,000.00 to NYACC, not “millions” as you say in your post.

    Who they’ve given millions to ($11 million, according to that link) is New York’s rescue groups, to PULL animals out of ACC.

  4. This is bullshit! I’ve written to Maddie’s Fund several times telling them that they fund a dysfunctional system, aka NYACC, that kills for space. I have implored them to investigate the NYACC before sending more money since the ACC obviously defies the base core of Maddie’s Fund. For them to now say they know nothing about it is crap. And as far as MF not being able to fix NYACC problems – again, bullshit. If MF is sending $$ to the NYACC it has the power to make the NYACC follow the guidelines set out by MF and if the NYACC fails to do so then funds are cut off.

  5. Howard Wu does make some good points, and it is up to the people of NYC to put the pressure on the Mayor’s Alliance, the ACC board, et al to do the right thing by and for the animals. BUT if Maddie’s Fund is claiming ignorance to anything going on in the ACC, then they are lying … especially if they’ve been claiming ignorance the past month (you’d have to be living under a rock with no contact to the outside world to miss all the hoopla surrounding the ACC and the Quick Kill bill).

    Back in 2010, No Kill New York on Facebook started a plan of action called The Battle for No Kill New York. One of the late October actions was to write Maddie’s Fund. I don’t know how many emails, letters, etc they got concerning the ACC, but I’m sure Camille Hankins could tell you about any responses people forwarded to her like I did. Would you like me to forward you a copy of the reply I received?

    At any rate, Maddie’s Fund is aware of a lot that goes on at NYC ACC. While the Mayor’s Alliance distributes the fund money, MF could certainly do more than simply suggesting guidelines – especially since the ACC mislabels animals in order to kill them.

    1. They do more than suggest guidelines – they paint a rosy picture of NYC ACC to the public, telling people that no healthy animals have been killed there for years when it’s common knowledge among advocates that this is untrue.

  6. ok i have to put my two cents in, it’s really quite simle really. IF you give money, then it’s up to you to RESPONSIBLE IN KNOWING WHO U R GIVING MONEY TOO! It’s like someone claiming that they didn’t know what Hitler was up to, that he met the guidelines they set out, and so they should be responsible for the ultimate result. ummm…NO!! MONEY TALKS! All Maddie’s Fund has to do is pull their funds until NYC ACC either died or it made some tremendous enormous changes. You’d be surprised just how quickly those changes were to come about too if that $$$ was pulled. Quite honestly, the “Maddie’s Fund isn’t responsible” argument don’t work. It’s horse………….. u know what i’m saying!!

    1. No one said that “Maddie’s Fund isn’t responsible”. In fact, I think they are clear that they want to stop the killing and they are trying to do just that. BUT, they just believe in doing it in a different way than you believe. And the reason I bring up that Maddie’s Fund head, Richard Avanzino, is the “father” of the no-kill movement is because his methods, were actually successful in a large city and are being used in most other successful no-kill cities.

      Let’s be realistic. Maddie’s Fund deals with 100’s of municipal agencies. How would they have the time and resources to focus on any one? Also, if they did take an opposing stance to ACC, wouldn’t this sever the relationship? ACC has never shown the ability to work with others, so why would this be different? Severing the relationship would ultimately be worse for the animals, wouldn’t it?

      Or is the ultimate goal for you guys to get ACC to “die”? Fire everybody, wipe it out, start over? Unfortunately, that’s been tried before. The only way to improve the situation for companion animals in this city is to change the general populace’s way of thinking of them. Otherwise, any successor to ACC, will act just like the predecessor to ACC. And those numbers were NOT public at all, but I guarantee you, it was much much worse than what’s going on today.

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