Even as New York City Animal Care & Control claims on its website that it has an 80% live release rate, rescuers and adopters complain that the shelter kills animals who have homes lined up as a result of the cumbersome and faulty process required to save animals from the kill room. The complaint is not new but the NY Post ran an article on the issue this week, placing a spotlight on the problem:
Every night at 6 p.m., the shelter posts a list of “at risk” animals to be euthanized. Rescue groups and members of the public have until noon the following day to reserve them [via NYCACC’s online system]. But the “at risk” list was offline at least one night last week and several times in February due to technical difficulties. And the crashes have tragic consequences.
Remy was reserved via the online system by a rescuer one night last month who paid $52 for her via credit card. When the rescuer arrived at at the shelter to pick Remy up, she was told there had been a problem with the paperwork and Remy had been killed. Another rescuer reserved a dog called Lady last month but there was a problem with that hold too. Lady was killed by shelter staff.
Another rescuer, who asked to remain anonymous, said she calls and sends e-mails to ACC staff after placing holds because she doesn’t trust the system.
“Frustrating things happen,” she said. “I’ve pulled two cats and gotten two different ones. I’ve pulled animals [that were advertised as] 3 years old and were actually 13 years old. “They always say this is because of computer problems,” she added.
When contacted by the Post, NYCACC refused to comment about the computer problems resulting in the needless killing of pets who had homes waiting. But the spokesman did have a complaint to lodge: the online system is often used to place “fake” holds on pets just to get them off the kill list for 48 hours. Imagine that – people acting out of desperation to prevent animals from being needlessly killed at the shelter. It’s as if the public actually cares about saving the lives of homeless animals. But NYCACC isn’t going to be fooled into not killing animals and has designed the system to ensure that all animals with “fake” holds will definitely go to the kill room:
When the “fake” adopter fails to the show up within the 48-hour hold period, the animal is euthanized. During that time, a real adopter could have stepped in. But the online system doesn’t allow for a backup rescue after the deadline.
Here’s a thought: if the online reservation system is failing to save lives – both by accident and by design – and it’s evident that the public doesn’t want healthy/treatable animals killed at the shelter, maybe it’s time to consider ending the practice of killing animals and start doing the job of sheltering. Make it NYCACC policy that no healthy/treatable animals are killed under any circumstances. That way, it doesn’t matter if there are a hundred computer glitches a day because no animal is going to be killed as a result. And the “fake” hold problem is eliminated by virtue of the fact that there is no kill list. Problems all solved.
(Thanks Anne for the link.)