Ever since my discovery of the “At-Risk-List” at NYC’s Animal Care and Control (NYCAC&C), I have joined many animal advocates desperately trying to save the lives of the dogs on it. Adoptable, loving dogs and cats on this list have only 18 hours to be rescued before they are at risk of being put down. The list is released at 6pm, and the animals only have until noon the following day to be reserved online or through a New Hope Rescue.

The majority of these dogs are put on this list because of a “cold” they caught at their shelter (kennel cough), a treatable sickness that is almost never fatal. I have witnessed loving, adoptable pets who were not even given the slightest chance at life by NYCAC&C, die alone. Nobody knew they were even there, available for adoption.


It is time for change in this system. We need to make 2015 the year of compassion and awareness.

Change is Needed

As I sat at their first Board Meeting of 2015 on January 23rd, the executives of the NYCAC&C announced that the city had invested over eight million dollars to develop a new adoption center for Manhattan, renovate and improve their Brooklyn location, and increased Mobile Adoptions. However, those additions and improvements will not be implemented until 2016 and there are still countless adoptable dogs and cats still being euthanized every day.

New York City's Animal Care & Control and the Desperate 18 Hour Time Limit on Lives

NYCAC&C is not using the media and their other resources as well as they could to promote the adoption of these dogs. They are not working to change the ridiculous 18-hour time limit for these animals to find homes. Regardless of the glimmer of hope I saw for the future of these animals in the meeting, changes are not being made quickly enough.

Capitalizing on Social Media to Save Lives

So, how are the residents supposed to know about the “At-Risk-List” of animals destined to be euthanized? Their Facebook page isn’t doing them any favors. With just over 15,000 likes in a city of over eight million people, few are being reached through this, normally integral, method of advertising. One would think that NYCAC&C would promote this page, sharing the animals in their shelters desperate for homes with the community members who may want to adopt them. Unfortunately, they do not, and the animals on the “At-Risk-List” are flying completely under the radar.

The efforts of NYCAC&C pale in comparison to one of the NYC’s champions of rescue, Second Chance Rescue NYC Dogs. This rescue has almost 800,000 likes on Facebook and saves many lives with the help of social media. Coincidentally,

Coincidentally, Second Chance regularly saves animals from NYCAC&C’s shelters, giving them a better shot at finding homes. Second Chance will even promote the adoption of these animals on their own Facebook page during the final, crucial hours of these animals lives. They, along with other reputable non-profit rescues such as SNARR Northeast, Rebound Hounds, and AmsterDog, provide the needed medical care for animals that the NYCAC&C overlooks.

How Can You Help NYC’s Animals in Need

 First, please go to Facebook and “like” Urgent Part 2 – Urgent Death Row Dogs. This hard working non-profit shares and assists adoptable animals through volunteer photos, videos, and descriptions that give potential adopters an idea of the personalities these wonderful animals possess. You will witness the hours of care and effort that the volunteers of the NYCAC&C put in to try and find homes for these animals. If you want to adopt directly from the shelter, there are details provided in the notes under each animal profile.


Second, check the list of NYCAC&C’s New Hope Rescues before their 18 hours go by. If you can, become a foster parent for a dog directly from the shelter. This will help keep them from the dreaded shelter “cold” and winding up on the list. Foster homes save lives without a lifetime commitment and is very important part of adoption.

New York City's Animal Care & Control and the Desperate 18 Hour Time Limit on Lives

The animals, unfortunately, don’t have time to wait for change coming in 2016. We need to be that change and we need to work together right now. Please open your hearts and homes to save a shelter animal. They are loving companions who have ended up in a  terrible situation, and they do not deserve to die for something out of their control.

I can speak from personal experience that our NYCAC&C Death Row Dog, Kinchi, is the sweetest, most loving, and grateful dog. She, along with the lives lost, are my fuel to encourage others to experience the reward of saving a life.


Lead image source: Eileen McFall/Flickr