In a press release Sunday, April 19th, Comptroller Stringer stood accompanied by Animal Advocates on Riverside Drive at 72nd Street at 1:00pm to reveal an audit of New York City’s Animal Care and Control noting unsafe conditions at the city’s shelters.

New York City’s Animal Care & Control (AC&C) is a designated non-profit corporation that operates the city’s animal shelter system under a five-year, $51.9 million contract with the Department of Health and Mental Hygeine). The contract requires it to rescue the city’s homeless and abandoned animals, as well as examine, test, treat, spay, neuter, and provide humane care. AC&C has three full-service animal shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island; and two receiving centers, one in the Bronx and one in Queens.

Advertisement

Stringer announced “We found expired and missing drugs, hazardous conditions, and vaccines stored next to frozen remains – it’s enough to make anyone sick. How we treat animals in need is a reflection of our decency as a society and AC&C is failing in that important responsibility.”

Mislabeled and Mismanaged Drugs

His website’s newsroom reveals the audit in detail. The audit examined four months (December 2013 – March 2014) of New York City’s Animal Care & Control’s controlled substance logs, and shelter conditions were observed on several occasions between March and November 2014.

The audit revealed “499 occasions in which expired drugs were given to animals.” The Manhattan shelter distributed 489 expired tablets of Tramadol, an opioid, and in Brooklyn, expired doses of Diazepam, a form of valium, were given to at least three animals. Ninety-three bottles of expired controlled substances were not removed, some as old as 13 years. Vaccines also sat along food and beverages, as well as frozen animal remains.

NYC Comptroller Slams Animal Care & Control for Failing Shelter Animals

Extreme Overcrowding

In addition, the shelters revealed overcrowding, cages stacked in hallways, and a faulty ventilation system that does not control the spread of disease (Kennel Cough puts once healthy Animals on AC&C’s At-Risk Page, also known as the Euthanasia list). Auditors also examined AC&C’s financial operations for Financial Year 2013 and “sought to determine if it had adequate controls to ensure proper operational and financial accountability,” questioning unaccounted expenses such as undocumented credit card charges, interest charges from late payments, and $221,000 in rental expenses annually since 2012 for a separate office location in Lower Manhattan.

A Solution for NYC Animals and Beyond

While the situation for stray and homeless animals in New York City’s shelters is deplorable, these conditions fit in with a larger trend seen across the U.S. There are over 70 million stray animals wandering the streets of the U.S., of which only six to eight million get taken into shelters and a fraction of that ever find good, loving homes.

We can all help to improve conditions for animals by opting to adopt from shelters and never shop for a pet. Additionally, it cannot be stressed enough that when you choose to take in an animal, you are making a life-long commitment to them, so please take these considerations into account before adoption. Sadly, many of the animals who end up in shelters are surrendered after their guardians realize they can no longer care for them.

To help NYC shelter animals in need, consider adopting of fostering an animal from the AC&C’s At-Risk Page. Not only will you be gaining a friend but also saving a life. Please show your support for Comptroller Stringer’s unwavering dedication to the animals of NYC by liking his Facebook page.

Advertisement

Lead image source: Scott Larsen/Flickr

New York City’s Animal Care & Control (AC&C) is a designated non-profit corporation that operates the city’s animal shelter system under a five-year, $51.9 million contract with the Department of Health and Mental Hygeine). The contract requires it to rescue the city’s homeless and abandoned animals, as well as examine, test, treat, spay, neuter, and provide humane care. AC&C has three full-service animal shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island; and two receiving centers, one in the Bronx and one in Queens.