NYC’s animal shelter leaders grilled over ‘doggy death row’

The officials running New York’s animal shelter system were grilled over their animal kill list during a City Council hearing Tuesday — with members demanding to know how long pets are kept before being placed on death row.

The hearing, which centered on a bill to put a full-service animal shelter in every borough, was held after The Post on Tuesday revealed a slew of problems with the kill list at Animal Care Centers, including wrongly condemning pets and placing massive bureaucratic hurdles in front of would-be adopters.

Manhattan Councilman Keith Powers asked ACC CEO Risa Weinstock the average time an animal spends at a shelter before being placed on the kill list — which ACC euphemistically calls the “at risk” list.

“I can’t talk in terms of how much time before they are at risk,” she said. “It’s an individual determination.”

Powers didn’t seem happy with that non-answer, saying, “I think it’s a fair question to ask what the average time is.”

Weinstock also said that of all the animals that wind up at ACC shelters, 7 percent land on the kill list, where they have just 18 hours to be adopted before being euthanized.

“The 18 hours is an additional amount of time that we give to an animal that we consider at risk of euthanasia,” she said, meaning sick or dangerous animals. “There is no time limit if an animal is healthy and has good temperament.”

Animal-rights activists at the hearing also commented on The Post’s report, which revealed that adopters had to go through a third-party group to adopt a pet placed on the 18-hour kill list.

Craig Semen of Compassion for Animals brought up how The Post found that out of 55 rescue partners who are supposed to help people save animals on the list, only 16 answered phone calls in the time frame. The crowed burst into applause.

Council members also expressed concern that animals were getting sick in the shelters and then being put on the kill list.

Diseases as seemingly harmless as kennel cough — the canine equivalent of a cold — are enough to land animals on the kill list.

Keeping animals in close quarters can lead to the spread of illnesses, Weinstock said, and shelters want sick animals out as quickly as possible for that reason.

The City Council passed a law in 2000, mandating that ACC have at least one shelter in every borough. The law was scrapped before it could be implemented, but Queens Councilman Paul Vallone introduced a new bill this year to make it law once again.

“It’s troubling and disturbing because it should have been done a long time ago,” Vallone said.

Source: Read Full Article