Some NY Shelters Hiding Their Killed Animals at Veterinary Offices

The Journal News submitted a FOIA request to the state of NY to find out how many animals are killed by shelters in the Lower Hudson Valley, along with a request for the controlled substances logs from each facility. The state sort of shrugged:

The state Department of Health, which is required by law to maintain records of all animals put to sleep at animal shelters or animal-control centers, only has a fraction of the mandatory quarterly reports it is supposed to collect. That means that, in addition to not keeping track of most animals that are euthanized by shelters, the state also has no record on how much sodium pentobarbital — the lethal chemical used to put animals to sleep — some shelters have in stock.

State health officials said they conducted “a diligent search” that lasted three months after The Journal News requested the records. But the department only produced partial records for just three of the seven active animal shelters in the Lower Hudson Valley — and no records for other types of animal-control facilities.

A spokesman for the Health Department did not reply to repeated requests for comment over the past two weeks.

Some of the shelters take their animals to private veterinary offices for killing.  Vets fall under different reporting requirements than shelters and when they dispose of dead animals, they don’t have to specify whether the pet belonged to a client or came from a shelter.  Five of the seven shelters contract with a crematory in Hartsdale, which estimates it cremates 30,000 pets a year with 1450 of those coming from area shelters.

The Yonkers Animal Shelter did have records on file with the state but the documents, which indicate only 5 dogs and zero cats were killed during a one year period, are clearly useless:

In 2015, [director of the Yonkers shelter Almira] Simpson said, 71 cats and 11 dogs from the shelter, including the five Yonkers reported to the state, were put down.

The shelter only reported five dogs to the state since the other 77 pets were killed at veterinary offices.

The Journal News, unable to obtain the actual records sought on pets killed in shelters, tried asking some of the non-compliant shelters for numbers:

[Robert] Kelly, the Mount Vernon police commissioner who acknowledged that the department had failed to file the state reports, said his city’s shelter euthanized 53 cats and 12 dogs last year.

M’kay. Not that there is any way to verify that with the state.

The Hudson Valley Humane Society said it only euthanized one animal, a dog, last year.

MMM’Kaaay. So they couldn’t fill out the form to report that ONE DOG?

The SPCA of Westchester did not return calls for comment.

Sounds legit. I checked the shelter’s website and it says:

The SPCA contracts with 13 different municipalities to accept delivery of their stray cats and dogs for return to owners or to arrange for adoption. Lost dogs and cats are held at the shelter for at least eight days before becoming available for adoption.

So 13 municipalities in NY are contracting with a facility that doesn’t follow the law by reporting to the state and doesn’t answer calls from media about pet killing.  I wonder if they take calls from owners looking for their lost pets.

But let’s definitely keep shipping our shelter animals to the magical north where everything is obscenely dandy, probably.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

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15 Comments

  1. Tina White

     /  January 21, 2016

    This is crazy! Innocent animals deserving of a home are murdered for no reason! Take the animals home for God’s sake!

    Reply
  2. How about these supposed “No Kill” shelters that claim they are saving 90% or more but yet kill animals “off the books”. They kill surrendered dogs that the owner requests to be killed that way at Miami-Dade Animal Services (MDAS) and do NOT count them as part of the statistics they report every month. Who knows how many others they kill in that fashion as we do NOT even know which animals are surrendered in that way. The shelter kills them the same day without being networked or given a chance to be re-homed. We don’t even know if any of these animals are healthy or ill. We have an entire SOP from the shelter that sets up the entire dishonest procedure for killing in that fashion. Should they have the right then to claim that they are “No Kill” when in fact we know there is unreported killing taking place and we have no real clue as to its extent???? And I just saw the same alleged situation of manipulation of stats by a San Antonio “No Kill” shelter as one. People are stating that the shelter does NOT go after strays to keep their kill numbers down. This is an inherent problem when you have organizations aggressively pushing an agenda that the public shelters do NOT have a moral, honest commitment of accomplishing so that they can DISHONESTLY take credit for improvements that are not really taking place. And then these dishonest organizations then take credit for advancing their agendas. How does all this dishonesty really help to save lives in the bigger picture???? MDAS counts as “live releases” cats that are part of their aggressive “TNR’ program as well. ANOTHER blatantly DISHONEST practice that inflates the numbers of saved animals that are used to dishonestly report their 90% save rates. It we do NOT stop all this dishonesty, what does that really say about us as shelter reformers?????

    Reply
    • seabrooksr

       /  January 21, 2016

      The problem with “owner-requested” killing is that perhaps it shouldn’t be counted toward shelter totals, even if the shelter has a responsibility to document it anyway. The goal in even providing this service is to provide a safe and painless end for those who might not otherwise receive one. They are attempting to combat people who drown/freeze kittens, throw puppies in dumpsters, etc, and also aid people for whatever reason don’t have the resources to put their hopelessly suffering pet down. A certain amount of judgement must be waived. . .

      Reply
      • And the problem with your reasoning is that it has been clearly documented that in many cases the owners DON’T want to kill their pets, but are pressured to sign “EUTH REQUESTS” in order to surrender the pet. This gives the shelter the means to kill the pet “off the books” sighting that the owner requested it. We have actually uncovered those practices at MDAS. If you have dishonest and corrupt people running a shelter, there is absolutely NOTHING that you can actually rely on to say that their operation is being honestly run. Clearly that is not happening with a disturbing number of shelters. And part of this is do to the hard political push to become a “NO Kill” shelter. Now I am NOT saying that we should NOT strive to eliminate the killing in shelters, but it MUST be done in an honest way with responsible programs that attack the underlying problems. And it MUST be done with complete transparency and with honest people running these shelters who are honestly committed to stopping the abuse and killing in their shelters.

  3. Um. I don’t know about NY, but here in OH if you don’t keep good records of your drugs (including euthanasia drugs), you can lose your license to have them on the premises. The pharmacology board does spot inspections of facilities – and if someone calls them with a “tip” that things may not be right, they drop in unannounced and go over your books and stocks.

    I am at a loss as to understand how a controlled substance (euthanasia drugs) with potential street value (yes, people DO use Fatal Plus to get high – it’s weird, but they do it) is treated so carelessly without someone coming down on them for it.

    As for hiding their numbers, that’s disturbing, but not surprising. If you can’t own what you’re doing, maybe you should stop doing it, assholes.

    Reply
    • KateH

       /  January 23, 2016

      I wonder if some states, where lethal injection for humans has become difficult due to lack of supplies, are somehow gaining access to drugs used in animal shelters to make up the ‘cocktails’ that sometimes go awry when killing people…….?

      Reply
  4. Lisa B

     /  January 21, 2016

    Wait a minute, you mean to tell me that the North is NOT a magical la-la land where shelter animals are never killed?

    Reply
  5. This problem of killing animals “off the books” is apparently becoming quite prevalent within the “No Kill” community. There is a very similar situation at Miami-Dade Animal Services (MDAS). They have developed a protocol for killing owner surrendered animals that are presented with a request to be euthanized so that it does NOT count in their monthly statistics. These animals are killed immediately WITHOUT the public even knowing the animal existed. The rescue community is never given a chance to save the animal. Nor do we even know if there are any medical problems with the animals. This is all done because of an aggressive push by local politicians and the local No Kill organization to reduce the killing to the 10% allowable rate. In fact because of lack of transparency, we don’t really know if other animals are killed in just such a manor. So while the people with the agendas push the shelter to comply, the DISHONEST people who operate the shelter figure out DISHONEST ways to accomplish it. The sad fact is that not anymore are really being saved. Its all a “smoke and mirrors” numbers game. And sadly this is what is happening because of these aggressive pushes by No Kill advocates and politicians, without having the proper people in place to develop programs to honestly accomplish the goals. It seems everyone has an agenda and the animals get caught in the dishonesty. MDAS also includes in their dishonest numbers cats that are part of their aggressive “TNR” programs. Again, in a dishonest way to deceptively inflate their save rate. Animals that are brought to a shelter to be part of a TNR program are NOT a saved animal in any way shape or form, so how a shelter can honestly claim to have saved it is beyond my imagination, except that the intention is to deceive the public that is NOT as educated on this subject. MDAS does NOT aggressively seek out strays to save them. Again a way of controlling the numbers to make it appear that their intake numbers are declining and making it easier to reach this 90% save rate. This is the same situation that is alleged to be happening at a shelter in San Antonio that is now claiming to, some would claim dishonestly, have become a “No Kill” shelter. If we are ever going to solve our animal population problems, we have to do it HONESTLY. Dishonest programs and the implementation of them only ends up with dead and abused animals, nothing else. And unless we start honestly addressing these problems, the No Kill mantra is going to be a corrupt ideology that ended up hurting more animals than saving. Its sad that animals have to be used as political pawns. for political and personal gains. That should NOT be what shelter reform is all about.

    Reply
  6. Eucritta

     /  January 21, 2016

    The level of lousy record-keeping that’s tolerated within local government never ceases to amaze me. Then again, I suppose it shouldn’t. It’s both one of those things few of us have much competency in, & a time-honored means of avoiding responsibility.

    On owner-requested killings & euthanasia, I’m going to weigh in: they definitely should be counted & accounted for & included in totals. Here’s the thing: once the animal has been accepted by the shelter, s/he’s that shelter’s responsibility.

    Reply
  7. Disgusting! The sociopaths working in these places should not only be fired but monitored in a psychiatric ward. I mean seriously we always see correlation with animal torture and serial killers/sociopaths why are we ignoring those that use the term “profession” to hide their true selves?

    Reply
  8. This problem of killing animals “off the books” is apparently becoming quite prevalent within the “No Kill” community. There is a very similar situation at Miami-Dade Animal Services (MDAS). They have developed a protocol for killing owner surrendered animals that are presented with a request to be euthanized so that it does NOT count in their monthly statistics. These animals are killed immediately WITHOUT the public even knowing the animal existed. The rescue community is never given a chance to save the animal. Nor do we even know if there are any medical problems with the animals. This is all done because of an aggressive push by local politicians and the local No Kill organization to reduce the killing to the 10% allowable rate. In fact because of lack of transparency, we don’t really know if other animals are killed in just such a manor. So while the people with the agendas push the shelter to comply, the DISHONEST people who operate the shelter figure out DISHONEST ways to accomplish it. The sad fact is that not anymore are really being saved. Its all a “smoke and mirrors” numbers game. And sadly this is what is happening because of these aggressive pushes by No Kill advocates and politicians, without having the proper people in place to develop programs to honestly accomplish the goals. It seems everyone has an agenda and the animals get caught in the dishonesty. MDAS also includes in their dishonest numbers cats that are part of their aggressive “TNR” programs. Again, in a dishonest way to deceptively inflate their save rate. Animals that are brought to a shelter to be part of a TNR program are NOT a saved animal in any way shape or form, so how a shelter can honestly claim to have saved it is beyond my imagination, except that the intention is to deceive the public that is NOT as educated on this subject. MDAS does NOT aggressively seek out strays to save them. Again a way of controlling the numbers to make it appear that their intake numbers are declining and making it easier to reach this 90% save rate. This is the same situation that is alleged to be happening at a shelter in San Antonio that is now claiming to, some would claim dishonestly, have become a “No Kill” shelter. If we are ever going to solve our animal population problems, we have to do it HONESTLY. Dishonest programs and the implementation of them only ends up with dead and abused animals, nothing else. And unless we start honestly addressing these problems, the No Kill mantra is going to be a corrupt ideology that ended up hurting more animals than saving. Its sad that animals have to be used as political pawns. for political and personal gains. That should NOT be what shelter reform is all about.

    Reply
  9. Thank you so much for your work here. Obviously so much more needs to be done. Our organization nokill-newyork.org has contended for years that the only way we will ever get to the bottom of this pit is the use of lawsuits. If elected officials can ever be held accountable for the crimes that occur in their municipalities and the taxpayers have to pay for that incompetence and criminal negligence we will get somewhere. Please keep up the good work. Please add me to your email list. kay@radicalphotos.com

    Reply
    • (And there is no law that “shelters” have to release their kill numbers in NY state – that was vetoed by Patterson after he was paid off to do so when both Senate and Assembly passed it.)

      Reply
  10. maureen sarluca

     /  January 27, 2016

    M

    Reply
  1. Animals Going M.I.A. At Rescues – Like Socks In A Dryer – Grace & Truth Spirit & Soul

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