When Hero, a 10-month-old handsome brindle puppy, arrived at the Brooklyn shelter he was energetic, full of life, and full of love. After 10 days of sitting in a filthy cage, he caught the same upper respiratory infection that almost all of NYCACC dogs eventually catch. He was promptly placed on the list to be destroyed. Both a rescue and an adopter stepped up for Hero right away and we all thought things were looking up for him.
When the rescue called to inquire, they were told an adopter was coming to see him and, if he was not adopted by them, he would then be available for the rescue. While the rescue stood-by waiting, the adopter was making the 3-hour trek to Brooklyn. What they saw when they arrived was “horrifying.” A shelter employee had to carry – yes, CARRY! – poor Hero out to meet the potential adopter. He was so sick he could not stand. The adopter was obviously shaken by the sight yet still wanted to help Hero. She asked to adopt him and bring him straight to a vet. Anyone could plainly see that Hero was DYING. This is the part that blows our minds… the shelter REFUSED to release him because there was no vet there to give Hero his rabies vaccine– a vaccine which is actually contraindicated (and rendered ineffective due to high body temp) in sick animals. Even though he was on death’s door, they said the adopter had to drive an additional 3-hours the following day and that poor Hero would have to lie in a cage, DYING, for another night… another night without much-needed medical care.
We all know how this story ends. Hero is dead. He died in his cage while waiting for someone, ANYONE, to save him. The adopter would have taken him right to a vet. The rescue would have taken him to a vet. Why did the shelter feel it was best to let a puppy suffer and slowly die alone? Why, after denying both adopter and rescue the ability to immediately vet the dog, would ACC not use their much-lauded STAR Fund to seek the emergent medical care Hero so clearly needed? Instead, Hero was tossed back into a cage where sometime during the night he probably drowned in his own pulmonary secretions… dying from an illness THEY gave him. Meanwhile, the ACC, and DoH, continue to turn a blind eye to the travesty of rampant illness, disease, and neglect occurring under their watch.
This happens all too often and yet nothing is done to correct the problem. Hero will now be another statistic when just 10 days ago, he was a normal, happy, healthy puppy. A puppy that was adoptable and deserved to live a long life. ACC may have turned a blind eye to Hero’s suffering and subsequent death, but The Urgent Family will not. His death will not be in vain.
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
~ Joseph Campbell