Every day, we are all faced with the harsh realities of what the New York City animals go through when they enter the shelter system. Every night, we all advocate to help ensure that the animals facing death the next day, get out of the shelter system safely. One would think we would all be immune to anything the NYC ACC can throw at us; but, we were wrong.
In a shocking move, on March 28th, the SI Center listed four dogs to be destroyed that were still being housed in Staten Island. Aside from one senior dog, Juliet, being listed and almost euthanized in that shelter (due to her deteriorating health,) there has not been a Staten Island dog on the list that was going to be destroyed on premise. We’ll buy into the notion that Juliet not being moved (to Brooklyn) was what the ACC considered a “humane” decision, since she was in distress. In the case of Harry, Jeena, Jenna and James, it was not. None of them were euthanasia requests, none of them were aggressive and all of them were young, healthy dogs. Or they had been, until they caught kennel cough from being within the shelter walls.
Jeena, Jenna and James escaped euthanasia. Poor Harry did not.
As if that wasn’t enough of a statement, four more dogs were listed the next night. One, Primo, was transferred to Brooklyn for euthanasia. Three remained. Marsha, Kat and Hubert were put on the euthanasia list for coughing and they were euthanized in the shelter the next day. Sadly, they were euthanized quickly. Too quickly. Two of them had fosters on thread filling out applications with rescues to foster them. They were too late.
This may seem like no big deal. It may appear as if this was normal, after all, Staten Island is also part of the NYC Animal Care and Control. The truth is, while it has always been a kill shelter, they had always operated in a humane and caring way. They had put the animals first.
This is not the fault of the staff, the volunteers or the advocates because surely, they are all reeling from this. This is the fault of the “corporate suits” who deal in numbers and numbers only.
Here are some numbers: There were 12 or so dogs in the entire shelter. In 24 hours, eight dogs were put on the euthanasia list. Within 48 hours, four dogs were dead. Harry, Marsha, Hubert and Kat did not make it.
True, it is a tiny shelter. The isolation room is miniscule. They do not have much space to house sick dogs to keep them away from the general population. Also true is the fact that by being in the same room as the the other dogs – all FOUR remaining dogs – were exposed to kennel cough, anyway. The dogs listed were given one chance and one chance only to make it out alive. Would it have killed them to give the dogs listed a little more time? No, but it did end the lives of those four.
As if that wasn’t unfair enough, there is only one New Hope employee in the shelter. That individual was on vacation.
The “good old days” are over. Staten Island has firmly claimed their place as part of the NYC ACC.