Tag Archives: CAPA

The Abuses of NYC’s ACC – and What We Can Do About It

14 Jun

Throughout history, the common consciousness of the American people has gradually been awakened to the great injustices we’ve inflicted on our fellow man. The suffrage movement, the child labor movement, the civil rights movement and others; all have had seen their time in history arrive, and as we’ve gradually righted these wrongs – we look back and wonder – how we could have ever been so blind? This is currently the case for our nation’s homeless pets, and the pets of New York in particular. While not our fellow men, they are our fellow sentient beings, and as a nation, it’s our duty to protect them. We are a nation that adores our cats and dogs – so why should the homeless be any less worthy of protection?

The state of New York’s animal shelters, and New York City’s Animal Care and Control, in particular, have reached a point of cruelty and neglect that would shock tax-paying citizens. Thousands and thousands of homeless animals are condemned to death unnecessarily, despite the Mayor’s Alliance and the ASPCA claiming “model” results from their city shelters. The reality is far from the PR spin, and it’s time the animal-loving public knew the truth.

Several weeks ago, a popular staffer, Emily Tanen, was fired from NYC’s ACC. Tanen was well-respected in the rescue community for her extraordinary efforts to save lives – including taking exceptional photos and writing engaging biographies of the animals that caught the eyes of rescue groups and potential adopters. The ACC does not support such strategies – and doesn’t believe in participating in social media, period, even though it’s widely accepted as one of the most successful methods for re-homing pets. Tanen says she was fired for violating ACC’s policy of taking photos of the animals while they’re in the company of human beings. This is against the organization’s rules – even though these photos help to demonstrate the positive temperaments of these pets (a key factor, especially with pit bulls). The ACC has refused to comment to the media on why Tanen was fired.

Tanen and other ACC insiders have spoken out to the press about the abuses they’ve seen on an ongoing basis. One of the top offenses? To continue to receive millions of dollars annually from Maddie’s Fund and other organizations, the ACC is not allowed to kill animals solely for reasons of space. So, to hedge this rule, Tanen and others say they’ve lowered the behavioral grade for temperament testing, so many animals no longer pass – then staff is given carte blanche to kill them. Tanen and others also say they allegedly allow animals to develop kennel cough (which every animal will, if left in the shelter for several days), then use this mild illness as an excuse to kill.

Additionally, there is photographic evidence of animals in filthy conditions, with overturned water bowls; cats with their food mixed with kitty litter; dogs lying in their own feces, not being walked for days; and other gross abuses. Volunteers are forced to sign away their right to free speech, so anyone who tries to speak out about shelter conditions is terminated.

And then there’s the story of Ebony – a tragic tale from last week. Every night, the ACC creates a kill list for the following morning. It is released to chosen parties (rescue groups only) at 6pm each evening – and these groups have until 8am the next morning to desperately network these animals in an attempt to save lives. Last week, a photo of a dog on the kill list was posted to the Urgent Facebook page. This dog, Ebony, was seen lying in her own waste. Dozens of people came together through social networking to try and save her – donating money, offering to take her in, etc., but were unable to do so. Why? Because the ACC didn’t bother to answer the phone (on a side note, their phone number is not publicly available). Ebony died – even though a home awaited her.

That same day, the ACC also killed the wrong dog in place of a different dog that was on the euthanasia list. Who was the dog they killed in this dog’s place? They still haven’t answered public inquiries about this question.

And then there’s the story of Ginger – a nearly full term pregnant pup whose babies were systematically killed, though they were old enough to survive on their own. During the surgery, the ACC almost killed Ginger, and later made bogus fundraising attempts while failing to mention that THEY themselves had caused her life-threatening condition.

But there is hope for the NYC ACC and all other shelters across New York.

Several weeks ago, Assemblyman Micah Kellner introduced the Companion Animal Access and Rescue Act (CAARA). This monumentally important bill will offer crucial protections for animals in New York shelters – protections that most tax-payers likely believe are already in place. Last year, approximately 25,000 pets were killed in New York shelters – even though rescue groups were willing to save them. Additionally, thousands and thousands more faced fates like those of Ebony and the nameless dog killed at the ACC. If CAARA passes, these animals will be protected by law, and will not be able to be killed when there are empty cages, or for arbitrary reasons such as breed – and they will not be allowed to wallow in their own waste.

We must speak for the voiceless animals of New York. This bill has the support of the No Kill Advocacy Center, Alley Cat Allies, Best Friends Animal Society and No Kill Nation. It is common sense legislation, and will save the tax-payers money. New Yorkers – please educate yourself on what’s happening in your local shelters, and support CAARA, so together, we can save the lives of thousands of New York pets whose only “crime” is being without a home.

To show your support for CAARA, please call/email Senator Joseph Robach and strongly encourage him to bring CAARA to the floor. Let him know it will save thousands of lives, as well as taxpayer dollars – and thank him profusely!

Fatal Mistakes Continue at Miami Dade Animal Services

2 Jun

Meet Juancho. Juancho was a handsome, sweet boy whose unpleasant past was about to become a happy and hopeful future. After having the tough luck to end up at Miami Dade Animal Services recently, rescuers began working to save him, and a new home was found for this special boy! A warm bed and a new mom awaited him.

But instead, MDAS killed him on Memorial Day (when they were closed, of course – holiday adoption hours? Not a chance!), even after multiple emails from rescuers pleading to keep him alive, saying they were coming to get him on Tuesday when the shelter reopened.

And what was their reasoning for killing this poor boy? “Illness” … his illness consisted of a bump from a recent injection (which MDAS itself said would likely self-resolve), and his teeth looking worn from age. ?!?!?!?!?!?!

So was it really because MDAS didn’t bother checking emails on a Sunday? Or because they no longer honor Do Not Euth requests (even though it means saving lives)? Or because they consider a sore injection site an incurable illness? Whichever excuse they choose – they’re all completely ludicrous, and none of them will ever make up for the loss of Juancho’s life.

This is nothing short of tragic. One more dog who didn’t have to die … and did. If Florida were to pass the Companion Animal Protection Act, or a modified version of it, what happened to Juancho would be illegal. The shelter would not be able to ignore the pleas of rescuers. They would not be able to kill him for having worn down teeth and a little bump on his shoulder. They would not be able to kill when there are empty cages … and so on. CAPA would offer protection for animals like Juancho. It would save thousands of lives. Versions of CAPA have passed in California and Delaware, and have been introduced in New York (as CAARA) and Minnesota. CAPA is our first step towards becoming a No Kill Nation, and its importance cannot be overstated.

Below are transcripts of several emails sent to alert staff not to kill Juancho, as well as an eventual response from MDAS.


—–Original Message—–
From: XXX
To: pets <pets@miamidade.gov>
Sent: Sun, May 29, 2011 12:40 pm
Subject: id number’s A1349005 and a1350595 DO NOT EUTH PLEASE.


—–Original Message—–
From: XXX
To: pets <pets@miamidade.gov>
Sent: Sun, May 29, 2011 6:45 pm
Subject: Fwd: id number’s A1349005 and a1350595 DO NOT EUTH PLEASE.

—–Original Message—–
From: Pets (ASD) <Pets@miamidade.gov>
Sent: Tue, May 31, 2011 5:34 pm
Subject: RE: id number’s A1349005 and a1350595 DO NOT EUTH PLEASE.


A1349005 [Juancho]– pts sick on 05/30/2011

A1350595- adopted



—–Original Message—–

From: XXX
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 5:42 PM
To: Pets (ASD)
Subject: Re: id number’s A1349005 and a1350595 DO NOT EUTH PLEASE.


—–Original Message—–
From: Pets (ASD) <Pets@miamidade.gov>
Sent: Tue, May 31, 2011 6:11 pm
Subject: RE: id number’s A1349005 and a1350595 DO NOT EUTH PLEASE.


A1349005-Mass on the left side of the shoulder blades.

teeth-periodontal disease, needs dental work.

Put on dr’s list.

Small mass on L shoulder blade.  Mildly painful. Seams to be an injection site. Likely it will self resolve.

Teeth: severely worn down. Lots of incisors missing.  Periodontal dz.





Any way you slice it, there’s no excuse for Juancho’s death. We need to put an end to this. The track record for Miami Dade Animal Services is dismal. With over 20,000 animals killed in 2010, documented cases of abuse, and leadership that continually makes excuses for needless killing and disease outbreaks – the status quo needs a major overhaul. Please join the fight to implement No Kill at MDAS, and all the other high-kill shelters out there, killing animals like Juancho every day. RIP boy, we won’t forget you.

For everyone interested in learning more about CAPA, and who wants to stop the needless deaths of thousands of animals like Juancho – please visit www.rescue50.org, where you’ll find all the tools you need to take up the No Kill cause in your community. We can make a difference, and we can save thousands – and eventually millions, of lives.

The No Kill Movement Gains Momentum Nationwide

25 May

No Kill news has been popping up all over the place in recent weeks, with CAPA and other No Kill successes making national headlines. This includes the success of Austin, Texas in creating a No Kill community, the introduction of CAPA in Minnesota, the introduction of CAARA in New York, and the approval of a No Kill ordinance in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, among lots of other major milestones.

Additionally, in the summer issue of American Dog Magazine, the story of Justice for Bella is highlighted on page 68, and an article by No Kill advocate Ryan Clinton appears on page 66.

And today, an article by journalist Christie Keith on the importance of passing CAPA appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle online. With all the growing buzz, and the introduction of Rescue Five-O just a few short weeks ago, No Kill advocates across the country are making their mark! People across the nation are growing wise to the No Kill movement, learning the truth about our nation’s shelters, and working hard to put a stop to the abuse and unnecessary killing happening every day. Together, we can save the lives of the 3-4 million homeless companion animals killed every year across the US – and the recent strides the movement is making are proof that a No Kill Nation is within our reach.

If you haven’t yet, check our Rescue Five-O and learn how you can get CAPA moving in your area.

Legislation to Protect Shelter Pets to Be Introduced in Minnesota

17 May

And the good news keeps on rolling. The Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA) is set to be introduced in Minnesota within the next week, following in the footsteps of a revised version (CAARA) recently introduced in New York, and successful passage in Delaware in 2010.

This act will insure crucial protections for pets in Minnesota shelters, as well as end all “convenience” killing by these organizations. If CAPA passes, no longer will shelters be able to kill when cages are empty, no longer will they be able to kill pit bulls indiscriminately, no longer will they be able to deny animals to legitimate rescue groups, no longer will they be able to deny vet care to suffering animals … and so on.

So keep an eye out for Minnesota CAPA in the next week, and read Mike Fry’s terrific blog about its introduction.

Shelter Reform Legislation Introduced in New York!

16 May

Despite the death of CAPA in Texas last week, things are looking up! A shelter reform and rescue access law has just been introduced in New York state! This legislation, entitled the Companion Animal Adoption & Rescue Act (CAARA), was introduced by New York State Senator Joseph Robach and Assembly Member Micah Kellner last week. This legislation would save the lives of approximately 25,000 animals in New York, all animals currently denied to rescue groups, only to face their own deaths.

The proposed legislation would mandate access to death row animals for rescue groups, end killing when a shelter has empty cages, require shelters to post their statistics and lots of other common sense provisions that will SAVE LIVES.

And even more good news? The bill has already received support from Alley Cat Allies, Best Friends and the No Kill Advocacy Center! It’s a team effort, and this bill is on track to change things for the better for New York’s homeless animals. Share the good news, and encourage New Yorkers to reach out to their elected representatives and show their strong support for this bill!

Click here to read Nathan Winograd’s blog on CAARA.