Thursday, October 14, 2010


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The Food Debacle Continues

The food debacle continues. While the AC&C maintains publicly that the animals have plenty of food and never go hungry, surrogates go begging for donations and staff will tell walk-ins exactly what they need. The AC&C's home page makes casual mention of the need for food; their donate page does not. Even AC&C's closest ally, the Mayor's Alliance, admits that the AC&C is running out of food.

In an agency so affected by budget cuts and with such a high percentage of spending on staff-related costs, we do not find it unreasonable that maintaining an adequate food supply would be difficult.

In times of crisis, a responsible shelter will embrace transparency and immediately detail to the animal-loving public exactly what is needed and how they may assist. If you ask for the help you need, people will help you. No judgment involved; it's hard to pay for animal food with non-existent money.

If a representative of the AC&C would care to contact us at and detail exactly what donations they need most to ensure the most basic aspects of animal care, we would be happy to spread the word and help you get what you need.

Don't let animals go hungry to maintain happy-face PR.

Revised Volunteer Policies Still Violate Volunteers' Legal Rights

The newly revised AC&C Volunteer Policy and Proceedure manual is out and we have replaced the old version in our document library with the newly updated version. AC&C has evidently made some claims that the new policy guidelines lift the grossly illegal gag order on volunteers, we note that they do not. To quote from the revised document, page 9:

"Volunteers are prohibited from distributing their personal information, or opinions in regards to AC&C volunteers, staff, animals, and/or policies to the public."


Section 6 on page 6 says that "AC&C may at any time, for whatever reason, decide to release a volunteer from their relationship with AC&C." - it should say “AC&C may at any time, for whatever reason NOT CONTRARY TO LAW, decide to release a volunteer from their relationship with AC&C." This includes not only the guidelines set forth in Section 1983 ( but covers other areas such as gender, race, and sexual orientation.

The policy detailed in section 4 on page 9 allows AC&C to terminate volunteers who have “philisophical” conflicts or disagree with any AC&C action. This demands that volunteers accept - and maintain silence about - possibly inhumane conditions and unnecessary killing in order to volunteer. This is a violation of Section 1983.

The policy detailed in section 5 on page 10 prohibits forming coalitions without agreement from AC&C, a violation of volunteers' first amendment rights to free association.

AC&C policy still illegally violates the rights of volunteers.

No Hope

A letter was released yesterday to New Hope partners detailing the type of deep service cuts that are inevitable when the budget has been slashed to the bone including reduction in field service hours, using the city's 311 service to answer the phone, and not picking up cats in the field that are healthy and not in immediate danger.

The cuts in field services are alarming from a public safety standpoint, but the other changes are expected and may even be positive. Leaving a message with 311 is better than an endlessly ringing phone that no one answers, and not picking up cats that aren't bothering anyone or in danger hopefully means that fewer will be executed.

However, the deep budget cuts do not bode well for the future of the AC&C. The letter details an enhanced fund-raising effort for the upcoming year; who would donate money to an agency so badly mismanaged?

The New York Daily News has also weighed in on the service cuts. Jane Hoffman may claim to be heartbroken, but we're sure she'll still claim that NYC is on track for No Kill by 2015 as she blows huge amounts of Maddie's money on... what, exactly?

Time to tear it down and start again. It's time for a new contractor.


Recently a cat named Hagin (A877521) ended up on the kill list in Manhattan; the stated reason was for temperament. The reason for Hagin's failing temperament grade was that he tensed and kicked when picked up by the scruff. That's it. He was otherwise friendly and solicited attention.

They're killing cats for this? This cat is a dangerous animal, a threat to public safety, because he does not like to be picked up by the scruff and has the nerve to kick? Because he failed a temperament test he will be considered "untreatable" for reasons of behavior; his death will not count - he will not be considered a savable animal because the AC&C is manipulating the Maddie's Fund definition of "treatable" that they have promised to abide by. These guidelines were never intended to excuse the execution of a healthy cat because he kicked when hoisted by the scruff.

Temperament tests on cats are a complete and utter waste of time and we know of no reputable organization that uses or recommends their use as part of a screening process for killing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

On Leadership

Nathan Winograd's article on shelter leadership should be required reading for every animal lover.


We are not generally fans of the on-line petition, but the words of Mary Jo Tobin are so accurate and so moving that we cannot help but affix our signatures and ask that you do the same.