In the latest round of beef between pet lovers and New York Animal Care & Control, dozens of activists were unable to get into the shelter’s board meeting yesterday at the Department of Health building. (We couldn’t get in, either.) Protestors who accused the shelter of being too kill-happy very quickly — and loudly — voiced suspicions that the NYCAC&C was purposefully keeping them out. One person claimed she had received inside information of 12 empty seats. DoH security said the conference room, which holds an estimated 40 people, was simply too full.
Animal rights’ activists have for years said that the Department of Health mismanages the shelter, and that decisions to euthanize animals are not undertaken with enough scrutiny or transparency. Yesterday’s board meeting, however, was especially well attended because of publicity from fresh allegations leveled at the end of May by Emily Tanen, a former staffer, that animals were needlessly killed to save costs.
Shortly after, NYCAC&C released the heartwarming news that they had saved an emaciated dog from the trash, and the dog needed a new home. According to a video of the board meeting posted on Facebook, director Julie Bank cited a lack of funding for adequate communications and transport as main challenges to facilitate adoptions. When she said there has been a significant decrease in euthanasias in the last 10 years, loud guffaws erupted from the audience.
NYCAC&C sends rescue groups a daily email of sick animals on the euthanize list. Two popular Facebook pages publish photos of the animals on that list, with urgent pleas for any takers. Yesterday evening, the dog people over at Urgent Part 2 (about 19,500 fans), immediately started posting indignant news of the DoH meeting. The cat folks at the more ominously named Pets on Death Row (around 11,000 fans) naturally took a different approach, and pleaded with members to be a bit more civil. From their wall: “We encourage you all to freely speak amongst yourselves but to maintain civility and FOCUS on the animals AND SAVING them, while posting on PODR…If you want to blast and swear and wish death on ACC and their employees, all YOU WILL DO is hurt this page. B/c the shelter is closely watching.”
In an email today, NYCAC&C responded to activists’ furor over yesterday’s meeting: “Our board meetings have been held in the same location for years and, as always, members of the public were permitted entrance to watch the board meeting. The public was also given a percentage of time for public comment. The public was allowed in on a first-come, first-serve basis and the room was filled to capacity.”