by Elisa Black-Taylor
Butters, who I tried to save
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
*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
* 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 pictures-of-cats.org 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.