April 12, 2011: A One Year Anniversary (from SARC – www.shelterreform.org)
Exactly one year ago today, Mayor Bloomberg announced: “There’s never been a better time to be a dog in New York City.” http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/12/percentage-of-animals-put-to-death-in-shelters-reaches-low/
As you might remember, on April 12, 2010 the New York Times reported on a special ceremony featuring:
Julie Bank … who has just joined the AC&C as the latest Executive Director
Mayor Bloomberg, posing for photos with Bank, Ed Sayres of the ASPCA, and Jane Hoffman of the Mayor’s Alliance.
The New York Times article generated various comments on the associated blog. Here are a couple (but you should read all of them):
It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry at the Mayor’s announcement: “There’s never been a better time to be a dog in New York City.” Really? And does that hold true for cats, too? Mayor Blooomberg’s announcement of the ASPCA $1 million grant to the Mayor’s Alliance (a rescue organization which — despite its name — has never received funding from either the City or the Mayor’s office) was carefully orchestrated to give political cover to the Mayor and the Department of Health (DOH). No one at that ceremony mentioned the fact that thousands of homeless animals continue to be jammed into already overcrowded shelters run by the beleaguered Animal Care & Control (AC&C). Nor did the Mayor mention that he and the DOH continue to violate both city and court law by refusing to create animal shelters in the Bronx and Queens. The article also fails to mention that the Mayor and the DOH has slashed the AC&C’s budget. The result: drastic reduction in staffing and services. Dogs are not being walked, cats are not being held and comforted, kennels and cages are often filthy, and medical services and medicines are severely limited. AC&C staff and volunteers are discouraged and angry, but forbidden to speak publicly about the AC&C’s problems (the DOH requires absolute silence). . Also misleading is the article’s happy talk about today’s economic times inducing members of the public to adopt animals in unprecedented numbers. Actually, . rescuers are overwhelmingly responsible for saving AC&C animals (although 33% of the Shelter population continues to be killed). But these same rescuers are stuck with a diminished foster and adoption networks .. because of these economic times. They are also saddled with ballooning kennel costs and medical fees to nurse their pulled animals back to health. (Every AC&C animal is exposed to upper respiratory viruses at the overcrowded shelters; they arrive healthy and leave sick.) The New York Times should not have published this puff piece without investigating the true conditions in the AC&C shelters. You’ve given the Mayor and the DOH a free pass to continue ignoring the plight of our City’s most helpless residents: homeless animals.
This information is absolutely not true. It’s more of the same EVERYTHING’s GREAT that we’ve heard for years. Never been a better time to be a dog? If you like being a dead dog, maybe.
I beg a skilled, curious reporter to do an in depth-series on the state of the NYCACC. The Pulitzers were announced this week – any reporter out there willing to spend two months really digging for the truth and looking at the euthanasia numbers (and comparing the fuzzy math we’re handed) and the euthanasia lists and talking to former staff members and rescuers and coordinators who have themselves been muzzled by the NYCACC (and its affiliate alliances) could win a Pulitzer next year for genuine public service.
Truly, if one person reads this and wonders what’s going on at the Brooklyn shelter, the Manhattan shelter, the Staten Island shelter and goes out to investigate, his/her heart will shatter. Adoptable animals are killed every morning without having been advertised, tested, shown to rescue groups, confirmed as NOT pregnant, ETC. Please, New Yorkers, wake up. Your tax dollars pay for this shambles of a city shelter system. It isn’t the staff’s fault, but it’s outrageous. And a big fat secret.
It’s one year later. Is it time to uncork the champagne?
To read more, please visit Shelter Reform Action Commitee at www.shelterreform.org