According to the dictionary, a shelter is defined as “a place that provides food and protection for people or animals that need assistance.” OK, sounds great. Now that we know what a shelter is, can we call the NYC AC&C an animal shelter? Let’s look at their “mission statement.” It reads “To promote and protect the health, safety and welfare of pets and people in New York City.” Sounds like they would fall into the category of a shelter, right? “A place that protects the health of animals needing assistance.” Let’s see…
Do they provide food? Usually.
Shelter. YES! They do have cages. Can’t say they are clean and roomy, but they do provide shelter (unless you were that poor dog in Brooklyn left outside because he had fleas, but that is a story for another day.)
Do they protect? Not so much…
What we are about to share WILL shock you. It WILL make you angry. VERY angry, and the person involved needs to be held accountable. Prepare yourself for the story of Poppy… an old shepherd mix that probably never knew much human compassion or love, and died violently at the hands of the NYC AC&C.
Poppy had the cards stacked against him when he arrived at the “shelter.” He was an older dog, not very well cared for, and probably led a life in solitude. Just looking at him, you could tell his bones ached and his sight and hearing were probably beginning to fail. He was an old man. He was brought in as a DOH hold after biting a friend of the owner. A DOH hold is an animal held by the Dept of Health for bite incidents involving animals or people.
While at the “shelter,” Poppy was not a gracious guest, but can you blame him? He acted out and bit a worker who was trying to shove him back in his tiny cell. He was probably frightened, lost, in pain and sooo stiff. After all, DOH holds are only allowed to be taken out of their cages by “trained” staff. No volunteer love. No daily walks. Think of HELL and that is what being a DOH hold in the Brooklyn shelter is like.
So we know that Poppy was old. We know he had bitten a member of the staff. We know he needed to be handled carefully. What happened next though can only be described as pure stupidity and incompetence.
November 28th, while we were sleeping off our Thanksgiving dinners, Poppy was murdered. Yes, MURDERED. That night, Poppy was removed from his cage using a rabies pole. There were two people with him. One was an experienced shelter worker and one was a new employee. For whatever reason, the experienced worker left the new employee alone with Poppy (on a rabies pole.) For those that do not know what a rabies pole is, it is the long pole with a noose on the end that animal control officers use to catch and control animals. When used properly, it keeps the animal at a safe distance from the handler and prevents potential bites.
What happened next is hard to imagine. From what we were told, Poppy tried to bite the new employee as he was being placed back in the cage. The shelter worker claims he tried to control Poppy by “grabbing his neck” while shoving him in the cage. The worker also stated he was bitten during the incident, but did not require medical assistance. Why grab a dog’s neck with your hand when he is on the end of a pole? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the pole?
As for Poppy, when the incident was over, he was dead. Yep… “scruffed to death.” At least that is what the ACC wants you to believe. What seems more likely was that the worker used the rabies pole to strangle Poppy. It has been confirmed that Poppy died from being choked. HE WAS CHOKED TO DEATH. I could only imagine the fear Poppy must have felt as he was slowly suffocated. How he struggled to get air into his blocked airways until all life left his body and he went limp.
Was this an accident made by an inexperienced and untrained employee using a tool he had no business handling, or was it an evil act by an angry employee that had no patience for a frightened cranky dog? Why was this new employee left alone with a DOH dog? What will the NYC AC&C do to hold this person accountable? Will he even be fired for killing Poppy? Since we know they now have video cameras EVERYWHERE, will they release the video to show that it was an unpreventable accident that occured with experienced handlers? Or, do they not have cameras where they are needed most?
Shelter. A place that provides food and protection for people or animals that need assistance. I thing we can all agree that Poppy was failed by the very system put in place to protect him. Demand justice for Poppy. No matter what his reason for being at the NYC AC&C was, he deserved to be treated with dignity and to not die a horrible, slow and painful death.
RIP Poppy, you deserved so much more.
People to contact: http://urgentpodr.org/who-to-contact-for-shelter-reform/