Animal Care & Control of NYC is a place where dedicated volunteers and employees are fired for any attempt at all to blow the whistle on widespread negligence and neglect, or even just those that work too hard to get animals rescued. In the past year alone, employees like Emily Tanen and unpaid volunteers like Rita Bar-Or and Jeff Latzer have been fired for little or no reason at all, with no thought given to the effect their absence would have on the care of shelter animals.
But what about employees who are part of the problem? Shelter employees that get high at work, or come to work intoxicated while exhibiting disdain for the animals in their care? Anyone who spends enough time at the shelter becomes very familiar with these people, but what is more shocking is that these people are in fact embraced by the administration. Why would that be? Because Julie Bank prizes a very certain quality in the staff she maintains: cold, heartless contempt for any notion of animal welfare. As long as these people are not sticking their necks out for better care of the animals, all other issues of professionalism, responsibility and dedication do not matter; they will always have a job at ACC if animals matter as little to them as they do to Park Place management.
Urgent has been contacted by numerous rescue groups, adopters, volunteers and even a few staff about the condoned negligence that perpetuates in the mismanaged ACC shelter system. We were also recently contacted by a concerned citizen of East Harlem who tried to do something about it. This person (who for obvious reasons insists on anonymity) had inside knowledge of drug use going on at the Manhattan ACC, and even knew who was supplying it to employees. He spoke up about it to shelter administration, and like every volunteer or staff or rescuer who writes emails to shelter management with concerns about shelter animal treatment, he was ignored. He even tried again, this time including every elected official whose email he could find.
Date: Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 10:10 PM
Subject: Your last chance before I go on TV about DRUGS AT THE HARLEM SHELTER
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, TFarley@health.nyc.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, KellnerM@assembly.state.ny.us, Patrick.Nolan@us.penguingroup.com, email@example.com, Adrian.Benepe@parks.nyc.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Julie Banks,
Why didnt you respond to my email? It was a very important email about 4 workers at the Harlem shelter who do drugs, and none of you bothered to respond to me. Do you only respond to white people with lawyers? You think since I live in the neighborhood where your shelter is that I don’t matter as much?
I gave you a list of four people that work in your medical office that use drugs even though theyre supposed to be saving animals. (I copied it at the bottom of this email) Doesnt that matter to you? Since I wrote that to you, I read about your shelter on the facebook, and I saw all the shitty things you been doing instead, like killing the wrong dogs and firing your best worker. Why dont you fire the people that are high at work instead? Two girls on that list I sent you were even talking shit about how proud they was to smoke weed during work!!! Dont believe me?
If you dont answer this email and drug test these people, i’m gonna get this up on the internet on that Urgent website. Trust me, you dont want that. And remember like i said, if you tell them even a half hour before that your gonna test them, theyll pass, and go on being high treating dogs.
This is your last chance julie banks. Next time you hear from me i’ll be on channel 5
Forwarded message ———-
Date: Sat, May 7, 2011 at 12:31 PM
Subject: HARLEM ANIMAL SHELTER WORKERS USING DRUGS
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Animal Care and Control,
I know for a fact that these four people work in the harlem medical department, and all use drugs all the time. Sometimes they even use at work. You need to drug-test them right now, because theyre supposed to be helping the animals, and they cant do that if theyre high! How do I know this? I know the guy who sells to them. I promise you, if you give them a drug test like all employees should get, and you dont let them know first, theyll fail. If you tell them even a half hour before, theyll pass (I’ve done it for jobs before, all you need is a drink from gnc). But doing that when your supposed to save animals is just wrong.
Trust me, i’m not joking with you. Don’t put the animals at risk any longer! And if this gets out and people know the vet tex are high, it will look very bad for nyc.
Their names are:
And still — nothing. The people he implicates are still at the shelter putting animals in danger, including one role of particular importance: a New Hope rescue liaison. The unanswered emails from the whistleblower also names a shelter behaviorist, a lead vet tech assistant, and a vet assistant.
The biggest mystery here is why the shelter does not follow through on its pre-existing drug policy of random drug tests, and mandatory testing after a bite incident. A shelter staff source tells us that the New Hope rescue liaison was bitten last year, but bragged about never being tested or she surely would have failed. A second source from the shelter staff sent us the attached photo of drug paraphernalia found in the shelter backyard, with a note explaining that it was common sight at ACC.
So Julie Bank, maybe you’ll answer Urgent instead: how could you ignore these emails and continue to put the animals’ lives in the care of openly irresponsible and “distracted” people? Numerous staff named in these emails work in the medical department, and the Manhattan shelter is notorious for its rampant medical “mistakes” that leave dogs, cats and kittens found stiff in their cages for lack of care. The homeless animals of NYC deserve better than this, and the citizens of NYC deserve oversight into who their tax dollars employ.
The NYC Govt needs to know that you are outraged.
Also, The New York State Dept of Health (not the NYC DoH) and the DEA would both be appropriate avenues to explore for complaints due to the involvement of controlled (Scheduled) substances. Those performing euthanasia MUST be registered with the New York State Dept. of Health to handle/administer scheduled drugs (see Section 80.134 of Title 10 regulations).
“The Department of State is committed to maintaining the integrity and competence of the licensees within its jurisdiction. Should a member of the public believe that a licensee has acted in an untrustworthy or incompetent manner, he or she may file a complaint with the Department’s Division of Licensing Services. The complaint will be reviewed and an investigation will be commenced to determine whether the licensee should be disciplined. Both the licensee and the complainant are kept apprised of the proceedings.
A licensee who is found to be in violation of the law is subject to reprimand, fine, suspension or revocation.”
A copy of the complaint form can be found here.
Coming Soon – Part 5 – You won’t want to miss it…