We will soon, finally, have a chance to elect a new mayor after so many years of Mayor Bloomberg's participation in the mistreatment, high euthanasia rates and deplorable conditions facing of New York City's homeless animal population. Please join me in letting the 2013 mayoral candidates know this is an issue important to voting New Yorkers.
Details of the issue are listed here from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's excellent January 2013 report "Led Astray":
New York City’s Animal Care & Control (“AC&C”) – the non-profit corporation that runs the largest animal shelter system in the Northeast – is in dire need of reform. Since 1995, AC&C has been under contract with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“DOHMH”) for rescuing, caring for and finding loving homes for the city’s homeless and abandoned animals. However, AC&C’s performance falls short of this mission.
Adoptions have dropped 37 percent in the past six years while placements, which enable AC&C to pass the responsibility of caring for an animal onto a rescue group, have increased by 70 percent. Dog licensing, a viable source for significant revenue, lingers at around 10 percent, and the number of new licenses issued has declined for three straight years. Furthermore, a high rate of illness at AC&C shelters exposes thousands of animals each year to potentially life-threatening conditions. AC&C’s inability to generate outside revenue has made
the non-profit overly-dependent on City funding, which historically has been inconsistent and inadequate.
The root of the problem is structural: AC&C is controlled by the DOHMH. The DOHMH both administers the City’s contract with AC&C and oversees its board – leaving little room for AC&C to question DOHMH priorities and decisions. In short, AC&C’s Executive Director and board members lack the independence, animal care expertise and fund-raising capabilities necessary to properly fulfill their mission. As a result, AC&C has experienced years of under-funding, mismanagement and service cuts – and the animals under its control have suffered severe neglect at shelters.
AC&C has been without a full-time Medical Director on staff since February
2010, contributing to deplorable shelter conditions and a high rate of illness among dogs and cats.
This report recommends a top-to-bottom restructuring of AC&C – one that reconstitutes the corporation as an independent, non-profit with a diverse board that can bring both new resources and new expertise to the
City’s animal welfare system.