New York City Animal Shelters

by Elisa Black-Taylor

Butters, who I tried to save

Butters, who I tried to save

Butters, who I tried to save Mayfield Celva and Queenie Taj and Whiskey

New York City animal shelters, also known as NYCACC, are the worst I've ever seen. This includes shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

I based my original opinion on the photos I've seen of the poor cats who spend their short lives there before being MURDERED. I back up this article with references available all over the internet about abuse and neglect.

Please read this article when you have time to really absorb all of the information here. This is a really long article and the reason for this is to present a complete picture of the executions taking place in these shelters.

Readers, I've included several photo samples with this article to show the severity of the fear these cats obviously experience. What is being done to these cats at the time they are photographed? I mean REALLY? Are they being flung against the back of the cage? Are they being yelled at? I've NEVER seen so much fear in a cats expression as I've seen on those at the Manhattan and Brooklyn branches.

Julie Bank is Executive Director at Animal Care & Control of NYC. This is not the first animal shelter environment Julie Bank appears to have had a death wish for. I did a little digging and located the following information on her employment before she came to NYCACC. This is what I found, along with the reference for the quotation.

"In 2006 Bank accepted the position of Executive Director at the North County Humane Society and SPCA in San Luis Obispo County, CA. During Bank’s tenure as NCHS Executive Director, the San Diego Humane Society assumed the control and management of the NCHS shelter, renaming it SDHS—North Campus. Bank was still there.
Of greater interest is one crucial fact: The criteria SDHS used to rate an animal’s medical status is more harsh than the one NCHS had used. Under the new SDHS guidelines animals that NCHS would have rated as treatable and/or manageable would now be destroyed. Bank raised no objection." .

Yet all the while Bank brags about what a wonderful system she's a part of at NYCACC. I don't have anything against her, but the facts speak for themselves.

Keep all of these "bad behaviors" in mind as I tell you how the NYCACC works. The shelter is actually funded through the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH). Since it's one of the most underfunded systems in this country, the NYC shelters are dependent on grants such as Maddie's Fund.

Maddie's Fund promotes a no-kill system and this basically means no animal can be killed due to lack of room at one of the shelter branches. The only reason a cat can be euthanized is because of disease or aggression.

Neither of these conditions fall under any steadfast criteria. In other words, a shelter worker can interpret a cat to be sick or mean solely for the purpose of killing that cat. Listed below are some of the reasons an animal is killed.

*hyper or under socialized dogs
*fearful cats
*emaciated or underweight animals who guard food
*animals who develop cage aggression after days of isolation and a constant assault of the senses
* untrained animals
*“frisky“ cats
* highly strung and traumatized animals animals who are withdrawn, shy, or unresponsive

Here's the test given cats.

"For cats: Employees, either specifically hired to care for cats or general kennel workers, perform a test that is not codified and has no standard of accuracy. They literally make it up! Sometimes they use common sense and test by observing where the cat holds herself in the cage (far back to the wall or up front and ready to greet), holding their hands to the cage to allow sniffing, attempting to pet the cat on the head, and attempting to scruff/pick the cat up. However, there are multiple documented instances of employees scoring cats based on their response to having their back quarters or stomachs pet, both of which many perfectly adoptable and friendly cats object to. Cats who allow scruffing, but squirm after a time, are also marked down."

There are a lot of rescue groups who work to get the cats on death row out of the shelters. This is a difficult job as Julie Bank took away the call center where people could inquire about the cats. She was also responsible for the firing of several employees who devoted their lives to getting the cats off of death row.

Some say it's next to impossible to find an actual phone number to notify a shelter branch of the desire to rescue a cat. Then the phones ring off the hook because the overworked employees at intake are the ones who have to answer the phones.

Thousands in support of death row rescues have shown how social media such as Facebook can save lives. The article I last wrote talked about this.

Here's a video about how this works. Update: this video no longer works! Ironic that.

I'd like to tell you about an experience I recently had with the Manhattan shelter. There was a cat named Butters whom I planned to foster for a few weeks until Mayport Cats, located in Florida, could arrange transport. We already had transport planned on getting the cat from Manhattan to me in South Carolina.

It was the most depressing experience I've ever had dealing with a shelter. We couldn't get any information on whether Butters had been pulled by a rescue. With the phone situation there, we didn't know whether anyone even bothered to answer if a rescue did contact the Manhattan shelter. After a few days of my checking back on his status every few hours I learned that he'd been MURDERED.

There's no excuse for this. If the situation had been handled professionally, there would have been a way to have known whether a rescue had contacted the shelter and whether he had been pulled. Instead, all of us attempting a rescue were left hanging, not knowing if our boy was alive or dead.

This is NOT how any shelter should be run! I'll never again attempt to rescue a cat from this shelter because I believe their kill rate must be close to 100%. Does anyone know the actual percentage? I also have a nagging suspicion that a cat is killed once the shelter gets word a rescue is interested. Do they not want to deal with the paperwork. Someone PLEASE tell me I'm wrong!

I commend any rescue groups who deal with NYCACC on a regular basis. You must have nerves of steel. The not knowing threw me into a tailspin. No doubt it scares off a lot of rescue groups who could save these cats if the shelter were run with any semblance of normalcy. By this I mean if an interest is shown in a cat, the cat should be held until rescue plans are finalized.

One of the most disturbing reports I read on the NYCACC shelters is how they treat animals, both dogs and cats, who have shown "behavioral problems." They're thrown into a back room and ignored until time to die. No petting or holding for these poor babies. I'm willing to bet these animals also don't show up on any lists to show rescue groups they even exist. They're thrown away and this isn't right!

This has been a difficult article for me to write, as I'm breaking my own rule about not attacking an individual shelter.

Take a look at the photos I've placed on this article. I'm not an expert in psychology. It doesn't take an expert to read the terror, the pain and abandonment in the eyes of these cats.

Please take the time to read all of the references I've listed. Something must be done to save these cats. This reference tells of surveillance footage taken by shelter employees and told by ABC news about the severe conditions at the shelter. The article was written over a year ago and NOTHING has changed. If anything, conditions are worse.

And Julie Bank, I welcome your comments also. This is not a personal attack on you. I'm presenting the facts. Everything I've written is already a matter of public record. I've found only one positive story about Ms. Banks concerning a missing cat named Willow, where she took credit for returning a cat who had been missing for years to it's original family.

The Willow story didn't encourage me as I know thousands and thousands of cats have been murdered by her command.

Are there any readers here familiar with this shelter system to verify my research? Have I omitted anything of importance?

I'd also appreciate information on who in government to contact to report what's happening here. Do the officials know of the abuse? How could they not? So why are they doing nothing? This article leaves me with more questions than answers.

I hate to leave the readers of with a bad taste in their mouth. I didn't write this article to depress anyone. This is a story that must be told and one shelter system that must be changed.



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New York City Animal Shelters

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Feb 08, 2012
To Elisa
by: Jane

It takes about 1 min between the animal comes in and is placed into a portable cage and processed. It's scary, it's loud, the room where pics are taken has barking dogs and cats. No one mishandles the animals, but some animals respond very poorly under such conditions - hence the scared look 🙁

Feb 08, 2012
glad i'm wrong
by: Elisa

Glad I'm wrong on some of this. Just please tell me why the cats here look terrified and I've seen no other shelter in the country where they look this way. Even the shelter where I rescue has to pts some. They take in over 40000 a year now since Spartanburg stopped taking strays

Feb 08, 2012
Elisa - u have some things wrong...
by: Jane

Then a person off the street can always come in between 12 and 7pm to adopt directly from the shelter. Only healthy and good behavior animals are there for obvious reasons. Everyone else needs a rescue to pull them. On Facebook, once you get in to the groups to see animals on euthanasia list for the next morning, you will also see a whole list of approved rescues and how to contact them. It's a process that needs to be complete first. Rescues will need to approve u as a safe and reliable foster or adopter and that takes time as well. So u should start now, instead of waiting to fall in love with an animals that u only have a few hours to save - and only then start the big process or approval.
Yes, animals are killed daily, most for behavioral and medical reasons, others simply for space, age and how long they have been there. They are a city shelter, and are required to take in every single creature that's brought in. There is obviously limited space and so the surplus of daily animals needs to either adopted, fostered, rescued, transported to another shelter or euthenized... What else can they do? The shelter employees don't enjoy it and are not murderers, but they are within limits of space, resources and money.
It you have questions, you can contact me at jane21nyct at yahoo.

Feb 08, 2012
Not all true
by: Jane Piflax

Elisa, some things you say are true, like poor rating system of cats and dogs behavior.
However, these are not true: there are programs in place for temporary help with fosters if owner is sick, help with food, and help with behavioral training. When the animals are brought it for these reasons, they are offered these services, but I have never seen anyone take it. I never worked in ACC but have volunteered there for many years, fostered directly from Brooklyn shelter and worked with several approved rescues - all for about 8 years now. You can definateky offer to foster or adopt an animal on death row or who is only available to rescue. You just need to start with the rescue group first. You apply through the rescue that u want to foster. They approve you. You get on the lists on Facebook where the animals are posted daily - there are several lists. Once u see an animal u want to save, you have a couple of hours only to request them to pull this animal for u. Rescues have a 24 hour phone line, which is automatic and does not require speaking to busy staff. They punch in the id of the animal they want and have to follow up in the morning or afternoon with the New Hope office at ACC about the pick up. The shelter will do all the required tests, spay/neuter the animal and will be available for rescue pick up in the evening. If the animal is too sick, some things will not be done and the animal can be picked up earlier to go to a private vet. That's the way I have done my fostering for over the years. You can also rescues to pull an animal by pledging money for the group who saves it. There are also active chip-ins for the once who were already saved and are being cared for medically. I don't think a rescue from another state would be approved to pull from ACC. So the rescue u worked with was unaware of the regulations. They needed to first apply to be approved to pull from NYC ACC, and then they would be given all the tools to do so.
Continued on 2nd comment....

Jan 27, 2012
by: Michael

The first thing I noticed when I saw the article, and before I read it, was the frightened and dejected look on the faces of the cats.

I guess that happens a lot in any shelter but it seems to be more noticeable in these photographs.

I wonder sometimes how empathetic to animals employees at shelters are. I would seem that the first criteria for selection is a love of animals. Skills and knowledge would come second if I was employing people.

You can learn skills and knowledge but you can't change what is ingrained in you from childhood.

Jan 26, 2012
by: Anonymous

Elisa raises very valid points here. I have rescued two cats from ACC. The shelter won't tell you if a rescue has pulled the cat to be rescued, and most of the time won't even answer the phone. The arrangement has to be made with the rescue organizations who can pull animals out who are deemed "unadoptable", and the potential adopter or foster works through that organization. In some ways, it works better than dealing with this corrupt shelter directly. I am so sorry for Butters, but it sounds like the group in Florida was not on the ball with securing a pull. Butters never should have been there in the first place. Both of my Acc girls were supposed to have colds and they were perfectly fine, and they would have died for nothing like so many other ACC cats and dogs. Thank you for bringing awareness to this very corrupt place.

Jan 26, 2012
Killing at the NYCACC
by: Mimi Michalski

NYCACC is horrible, for sure. In case there is any misunderstanding - they kill EVERY DAY, not just on Mondays and Wednesdays. I crosspost dogs mostly and there is a kill list every night and dogs die every day. The only time they don't kill is on holidays because they close. And the reason they usually give to kill (because they are supposed to be moving toward "no kill" as they take money from Maddie's Fund which requires them to become no-kill) is because the dogs are sick - with kennel cough, which is usually highly curable if treated. It's a scam because that way they don't have to count all of these perfectly adoptable dogs as being killed for space - they are counted as killed for being sick. But everyone knows the truth.

Jan 26, 2012
Notice Rigid Kill Schedule
by: Jocelyn Eke

I live in Los Angeles, Ca. But since I crosspost animals daily, I am exposed to animal shelters all over America.
But the NYACC fills me with the greatest dread. I agree with the author. I often think, "What did they do to their animals?". They look so dirty and scared. Little kittens just lie there shoved against walls. I wonder why they don't brush or clean or comfort the animals.
Also I dread Sundays. The next day is Kill day at the NYACC. I receive photos from the Brooklyn and Manhattan Center shelters. The animals look perfectly healthy. Some are kittens a few months old. I often wonder "Why do they have to be killed the next day?". They seem to kill on Mondays and Wednesdays. Why don't they have foster programs?
I also am outraged that Julie Banks took away the call center. People need to communicate to rescue the animals.
Julie Banks has turned The NYACC into a killing factory for innocent cats and dogs.
Even though I live in Los Angeles, I want to write to officials to fight this injustice.

Jan 26, 2012
Tragic specially when there's a rescuer!
by: Anonymous

Whatever subject Ms Elisa Black-Taylor writes about, she does only after doing EXTENSIVE research.
It's sickening and tragic that so many animals are "murdered" when it's obvious someone is ready to adopt.

Sheer cruelty & hate.

Whoever is in charge should be fired & charges filed for animal cruelty.

Jan 25, 2012
It doesn't have to be like this
by: Ruth (Monty's Mom)

Someone is currently circulating an online petition to get rid of the director of Milwaukee's animal control facility. Their premise is that the current director is the reason for the high kill rates and that it does not have to be that way. It seems NYC is facing a similar situation. I heard from a worker at The Cat Network in West Allis that she had tried to rescue some kittens from animal control and they didn't allow her to take the kittens and instead killed them. I can't verify that story. If it is true, there's something drastically wrong. I can't figure out why anyone would kill a whole litter of kittens when there was a rescue willing to take them. I can't figure out why a shelter worker would quickly kill an animal as soon as word of a possible rescue reached the "shelter." I think these things are allowed to go on in various shelters because the public can't believe it, doesn't want to believe it.

There's always the possibility that there is money to be made from the dead cats, but sometimes I think it must be more than that. Is it possible there are sick individuals out there that actually get off on killing cats? Are some of these people actually working at shelters, maybe even running shelters? I'm sorry, but the question has to be asked. If I'm wrong, great, but if I'm right... You wouldn't put a child molester in charge of a daycare. Do we have animals abusers in charge at shelters? Or are they just inept and overwhelmed, not realizing there are better ways? I believe that to kill a litter of kittens when the director of a no kill shelter had requested to take them is an evil act.

Jan 25, 2012
NYACC needs total overhaul, but you CAN rescue if you learn how . .
by: Anonymous

Elisa, some of what you say is probably true, but you can rescue from NYACC if you read the posts in the individual cats' threads for the nightly listings - yes, they do list them, including the very urgents etc. on Pets On Death Row and other sites. Bob de Tomaat (my friend/volunteer Bev) just rescued Midnight, the big fat black kitty who was on one of NYACC's lists before Christmas -she was back there for a second time in her life and no-one stepped up for her so Bev determined to save her. We contacted Karen, who is with one of the approved rescues and experienced in pulling from NYACC. She pulled Midnight and we arranged transportation - there was bit of a hitch as Karen doesn't drive and she didn't think she could carry the big heavy Midnight in a carrier on the subway to NJ, where her transporter was to pick her up, but in the end it worked out and Midnight came all the way from Brooklyn to Columbia, SC and now lives w/ Bev. She wasn't eating at first and had a bad URI which she undoubted got in the shelter, but Karen got her to vet before she even left for SC and Bev got her treatment here too and she is doing great now. I recently made a comment on a link on Mark Ross's FB page about how the majority of the cats on the nightly NYACC lists have URI - in 17 yrs. of my rescue, Carolina Cats, we've seldom had URI go around and we've NEVER lost a cat OR kitten to it except one tiny kitten years ago who came with pneumonia. Before Carolina Cats I was with Pets, Inc. here in Columbia 3 yrs. managing their cat program as a volunteer and although we had one outbreak of URI once, we contained it by proper isolation techniques and did not lose any kitties to it. NYACC gets public money, private donations and $5-6 million this year alone from Maddie's. It is unbelievable that they kill so many cats and have so many catching URI and other transmissible illnesses in the shelter. Julie Banks needs to go, and they need to completely overhaul their intake and iso procedures and ensure every incoming cat is vaccinated immediately. People need to write to the Mayor, because despite the "Mayor's Coalition" and all the Maddie's money they've had, things just aren't working their and it is sickening. They also need to set up programs to help people keep their animals - food bank, emergency vet care, behavioral and medical care education, etc., and fosters for people temporarily in nursing homes or in financial difficulties who might be able to eventually get their pets back.


New York City Animal Shelters — 8 Comments

  1. Thanks for posting New York City Animal Shelters | Pictures of Cats, I
    was looking for anything similar and was thankful to
    discover the advice as a result of this particular article.

  2. And still this nazi death camp known as the NYC ACC continues on, patting eachother on the back about what a great job they do.
    Executive director (an attorney), who makes 6 figure salary and rents executive office space on Park Ave.
    After running 3 years without a medical director they hire a vivisectionist with a horrid history. Animals are suffering and dying. Many left to languish suffering for days without proper treatment and then killed! Not humanely i may add. Unless injecting a cat in the stomach with lethal poison is considered humane? They do not sedate!
    Disease is running rampant and they refuse to build new shelters. Animals are being killed despite rescue, dying inside facility or shortly after leaving. NYC & NYS ignore the cries of the people across the nation …… and the murdering continues while they sell their propaganda to the people.

    • Thanks Carley for commenting. It is terrible. It is also ironic that NY state are debating the banning of declawing (a massive step in the banning of it nationwide) and as I recall NY city have a good TNR problem funded partially by the taxpayer.

      There appears to be not enough concern for the lives of unwanted cats in shelters. This is why not much changes over the years to bring down the numbers.

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