Facebook campaign to save animals set to die

December 17, 2010 2:23:42 PM PST
An underground Facebook movement is trying to save animals scheduled to die.

An Eyewitness News investigation has been looking into conditions at the City-contracted shelter system, Animal Care and Control.

The city's Department of Health, which oversees Animal Care and Control, recently slashed the budget by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Eyewitness News' investigation shows that services and staff have been so severely cut that many animals that are adoptable are being killed.

Advocates are now taking matters into their own hands.

"Who's dying here? Good dogs are dying," Kay Smith said.

Kay Smith started the underground Facebook page, "Urgent Part 2", in a desperate act to try and save dogs scheduled to die in the City's Animal shelter system.

"Last week there was 14 dogs in one day," Smith said.

Animal Care and Control, a non-profit charity contracted by New York City's Department of Health to run three shelters, forbids workers and volunteers from publicly posting information about any animals on the shelter's daily euthanasia list.

"They don't want people to know these dogs are being destroyed ever," Smith said.

That list goes out nightly only to authorized rescue groups who are overburdened.

They have until 6 a.m. the next morning to pull animals out, but they can only do so much.

"There are so many dogs who are adoptable," Smith said.

Many of the animals on the euthanasia list are set to die because they supposedly have tempers or are sick, no matter they often come into the shelter healthy and get upper respiratory illnesses from the overcrowded dirty conditions.

That's what happened to Bruce.

Rhea Buckner is now fostering two dogs she saw on Facebook, Cyrus, who had kennel cough, and Arby who's deaf, but knows hand signals. They were going to die.

"There's hundreds that the page has saved," Darcy Baia said.

Darcy Baia has a similar underground Facebook page for cats called "Pets on Death Row".

"How could the ACC not want to support a website that is actually finding homes for all these animals?" Baia said.

"The problem with some of the Facebook is that some of the information that's going out is not accurate, it's not correct. It's inflammatory and so it's not helpful. Oh, this animal is going to die in 24 hours if you don't help," said Richard Gentles of Animal Care & Control.

"Every piece of information I get for my website comes from the emails we get from the AC&C. It's a cut and paste job," Smith said, "What I'm doing on Facebook, they should be doing."

AC&C says it's working on social networking, but it's already cut staff and services, including a call center so people can inquire about adopting.

Animal Advocate Esther Koslow blames the city's health department.

"The DOH doesn't care about the care of animals, it only cares about control and that's not what the AC&C needs," Koslow said.

"Bruised Not Broken" is another Facebook page offering information on adoptable animals.

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