Questions about NYC’s animal shelters dogs on ‘death row’

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In a New York City Council meeting on Tuesday, members demanded answers to how long pets are kept before they are placed on “death row.” Every night at approximately 6:00 p.m., the dogs and cats allegedly sick or aggressive scheduled to die at 1:00 p.m. the following day, are listed. Every night, non-profit groups tells their stories hoping to find the dogs and cats last minute reprieves.

“Urgent” was created to help advocate for NYC’s death row dogs at NYC ACC. What started as a desperate attempt to save some dogs turned into an enormous community of caring people, just as outraged as we are. Together, we are fighting to reform the NYC shelter system and save the thousands of adoptable animals being needlessly destroyed each year. The battle is long and the list of casualties continues to climb but we will not give up… not until there are none,” has become the mission of Urgent Death Row Dogs.

Changes from Animal Care Centers have recently been launched:

“As of March 2018, the NYC ACC started posting all TO BE DESTROYED animals to their Facebook page. Based on this attempt to highlight the “at risk” animals, Urgent has stopped posting the animals to this folder. Instead, we will be offering direct links to the NYC ACC’s website and Facebook page where you can view all animals on the list to be destroyed. We encourage everyone to share, comment and pledge directly on their posts. Click here to learn more…”

According to the New York Post, Tuesday’s meeting discussed many problems with the “death row” list at Animal Care Centers,  including procedures and protocols put forward to decide which pets would be euthanized the next day and the trouble would-be adopters have trying to save one of these pets. Animal advocates have criticized many of the cats and dogs wrongly evaluated to be dangerous – thus only allowing “New Hope” rescue organizations to save them.  At times, videos of the dogs interacting with volunteers and other dogs are shown playing and acting respectfully and peacefully. And the trouble to successfully rescue the dog within the mandated 18-hours is not enough time before the dog is euthanized.

Manhattan Councilman Keith Powers addressed Animal Care Center CEO Risa Weinstock, asking the time period an animal spends at the shelter before being placed on the kill list. Weinstock was not able to provide a definitive answer and responded with, “It’s an individual determination.” Weinstock stated that 7% of animals taken into the shelters wind up on the kill list and have 18 hours to be adopted before they are euthanized. She added that any animal that is healthy and has a good temperament has no time limit at the shelter.

Before the dogs are placed on the kill list, they are evaluated by staff using the dog’s known history and a SAFER assessment test. Experts doubt the accuracy of the results and such close quarters admittedly can turn the sweetest dog into an aggressive mess. Many of the dogs could do better if they were placed in homes. Crowded conditions and the overall stress on the animals at the shelter  adds to the unreliability of the testing in some cases, and that winds up in the death of a dog who could have become someone’s beloved and gentle companion.

Additional problems are the amount of pets that get sick in the shelter and wind up on the kill list; even animals coming down with the benign kennel cough that can easily be treated with antibiotics, can wind up on the “At Risk” list. The New York Post revealed that over 300 groups called “New Hope Partners” helping the NYC shelters, only 55 rescue partners can help to pull dogs off the list; only 16 answered their phones.

In 2000, the City Council passed a law mandating every borough in the city have at least one shelter. That bill never made it, and now Queens Councilman Paul Vallone introduced the bill again.

Today’s death row dogs  can be found here. Directions to help are included.

Did you know that if you want to get updates from a Facebook page, you need to do more than “like” it? To get recent postings in your Facebook feed, you must also hover your mouse over the word “following” and then click “see first” from the drop-down menu. You may want to check back with your favorite pages on occasion because Facebook often changes your settings, no longer having your having your favorites among those to “see first.

Guide dog leads blind mistress into pet store – read the adorable ‘tail’ here.


20 replies
  1. Marni Montanez says:

    Thank you to these council members for listening and taking an active role in finding solutions instead of just killing animals to get rid of the problem

  2. Barkley's Mom says:

    They list the animals at 6:00pm that are to be euthanized at 1:00pm the next day? How are people supposed to save them while the shelter is closed? More time needs to be given to get the poor things out in the light so they have a fighting chance. Most of our shelters here in the US are despicable and it would seem NYC’s are among the worst. They need to provide better assessments, veterinary care and get a better working relationship with rescues and fosters.

    • Diana Roby says:

      It doesn’t matter that the shelter is closed overnight. They all do but the dogs can still be saved by all the volunteers like you and me working to save their lives. After the dogs are posted, the various pages share the dogs info with their followers who share them with their followers for adopters, foster homes, pledges and a rescue group. Foster homes are harder to find than pledges or rescue groups.That is why it’s so important when you read about a dog(s) here, that you go to their Facebook pages and share them wherever you can. You could literally save their lives.

  3. Betty says:

    That place is a kill shelter nothing more
    They don’t give a shit about the animals
    I see it every night
    Just to see they all DIE
    Do something for the animals NEW YORK

    • Diana Roby says:

      They are. That’s apparent by the council hearing and this article. There are also people there that contact rescue groups directly if there are dogs that need urgent rescue, mostly for medical care. They care about the dogs.

      • Betty says:

        I been cross-posting the pups forever Other then the rescues people getting them out
        They would all die
        mostly for medical care.??? Where are you getting this from???
        That bull shit There a lot of healthy dogs and cats that die on a dally basic

  4. Janie L. says:

    I have a cat who came from NYC ACC. She was put on the “at risk” list the day she came in. She was abused and terrified and therefore, somewhat fractious. I was contacted by a rescue as I had expressed an interest in adopting one of those cats. I adopted her without ever meeting her. I got her on 04/15/17 and could not even get near her. I have been working with her for a year. Now she sits in my lap and purrs. We are still working on building trust but she has come a long way and she is worth it. She will never be in danger again. Their system has to be overhauled. It takes time to get the word out about these animals. You can’t just admit them and kill them.

  5. Adrienne says:

    Hope these counsel members get some results as this is an ongoing problem for NYC. Risa Weinstock doesn’t know her ass from her elbow and does not care one bit about any of these animals,either cats or dogs in these shelters. She just continues to rake in the big bucks for someone who has no experience dealing with animals, yet given this job by the higher ups.Not at all surprised she has no clue about how long an animal is in the shelters since she takes no active roll in trying to get these dogs adopted. DeBlasio, the mayor of NYC, had run years ago on making these shelters no kill, but that is definitely not the case. We adopted a small dog from Manhattan and you would think they would have at lease trimmed the massive globs of hair off her legs and face, but no. All they did was spay her and slap a cone on her neck. The volunteers who walk these dogs as well as some of the workers in each building do care about the animals but the final decision is not theirs. Many dog are killed because of ridiculous reasons and considering they are caged in these small enclosures, can certainly make a loving,friendly dog become aggressive when that behavior was never in his previous home. The assessors can either give a dog or cat a good rating or bad, and that will determine if any rescues or average people would adopt them. These animals are in small kennels and definitely need more room to walk around in. It can make a friendly,happy dog go stir crazy. Shelters should also have dog trainers available to work with these dogs so they can be adopted. Dogs want that training and to please their people.
    These shelters in NYC also have most of their dogs come down with kennel cough,which is treatable but once they get that, they are put on the list to be destroyed. I hope more citizens complain to the city counsels and things change for the better.

    • Nancy Raymond says:

      Amen – this is no shelter it is a slaughterhouse which I call the Animal Auschwitz – they need to get rid of Weinstock ASAP – you don’t need a lawyer to run this place, you need someone who cares about the animals which she has proven repeatedly she does not.

  6. Josephine Frazier says:


  7. Sue says:

    Why are people following the example set by the politicians and department heads, in a slick P.R. move, and calling these hell holes “shelter”s ?

    And you can bet that the reason they automatically inject poisons into all incoming animals (regardless of health status) has everything to do with the insidious takeover of the pharmaceutical industry, and nothing to do with caring about the health and well being of the animals themselves. I know that, just like the sale of the dead bodies to rendering plants, whatever deal was struck with big pharma is paying off in big bucks to some parties under the table.

  8. Nancy Raymond says:

    This dump called NYCACC is in no way a shelter – it is an Animal Auschwitz which does nothing to get animals adopted – they lie, make up behavioral issues to ensure animals are killed, get them spayed/neutered and then put them on death row – they get money for allowing schools to have students spay/neuter animals, get money from the dead bodies of animals – this place is nothing but a slaughterhouse – and if the animal is a pit bull, it has no chance at all. Those in charge of this hell hole, Risa Weinstock should be fired – she and her management crew care nothing about these animals, its all about the money. She is an attorney – they don’t need a damn lawyer in charge, they need someone who CARES about the animals. This place is a piss poor example of what a shelter should be and needs a complete overhaul from top to bottom.

  9. Donna Fischer says:

    So what is the City Council going to do now about the murder of innocent and healthy animals at ACC? Does it just stop with a meeting to appease the animal advocates while ACC murders dogs and cats daily. Risa Weinstock is a pathological liar and needs to be fired from her position. Enough is enough! We need more than meetings to end this practice of killing animals dumped in this slaughterhouse by heartless humans!

  10. Nadya Rossi says:

    No one kills more healthy, cheerful dogs than Weinstock and her minions. DiBlasio is ultimately responsible for the Holocaust, but this is a man who lied thru his teeth about stopping the brutal horse carriage trade.

  11. Pamela Garlisch says:

    Amazing that most of the time is during the evening when most people sleep, seems like they plan it that way. Weinstock is a liar, she doesn’t know???????? It’s her JOB to know! The shelter needs to start a low cost spay and neuter clinic, too many animals are being killed every day. 7% of the animals wind up on the kill list? Sounds like she’s cooking the books!

  12. Melissa Gurley says:

    I totally agree this is a slaughter house I don’t know how these people can sleep at night with all these senseless murders of innocent animals, you have to be totally heartless to work at this shelter

  13. Laurie says:

    They are state funded and as such, should be doing more spay and neuter. Why is it upstate, we totally depend on donations, fund raisers, etc., but manage to have such a low kill rate. Generally it is only after an animal can not be treated anymore for their ailment that euthanizing is the last resort. People need to pay the penalty for having animals and just dumping them. For God’s sake, be the human he wants us to be


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