From a Volunteer at The ACC, great insight into a broken system!
R.I.P Hercules Gone 3/1/13-Killed by ACC
I had no clue about how the shelter systems in New York City work; but, figured I could do some good volunteering. I signed up and went through the orientation process. You guys did such a good job of explaining (or should I say brainwashing) how many animals you are saving and how wonderful your system is. And of how your euthanasia rates have gone down through the years. In your orientation you made it seem that you only kill very sickly or aggressive dogs. So when I started, I made some friends and came to the realization that this was indeed a very high kill shelter and that you kill for something as treatable as kennel cough. I was flabbergasted. I was so naïve because I thought you guys were doing wonderful things for these animals.
I later found out about a page called “Urgent Part 2” on Facebook. I had no idea how many animals were being killed. I was going through all the albums and recognizing some of my favorite dogs. I would write about my experience with them and hope it helped them somehow. This is the same page you have brainwashed every employee about. As soon as “Urgent” is mentioned, you get a dirty look and have nasty things said about them. Granted, many people
don’t speak highly of your organization so I don’t blame you for disliking them, but then again the page wouldn’t be needed if things were done correctly or if you even advocated half as much as they do. It’s funny now that you have the reserve system you want to take credit for all the dogs being saved online because people mention that they saw them on your webpage. They saw them on your page because Urgent directed them where to go.
I see both sides in this, the inside of the kennel side and the outsider’s side. The dumpers, backyard breeders and those who don’t spay/neuter are to blame but so are you. Yes, I understand you have no choice but to take in every animal that comes in, but you do have a choice of how they are treated while in your care. We are given every political answer possible when we ask about the conditions of the kennels. It’s almost as if you have an automatic answer ready to go for any question that may be asked.
The volunteers have to follow so many protocols and it seems your staff does not have to follow the same. Dogs are constantly getting sick because kennels are not properly cleaned (trifected) or water is not changed when a new dog is brought in. When we ask why the kennels are so dirty or why there are no staff members cleaning you tell us that you are short staffed due to people calling out. I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard that one. Funny that you say short staffed when I’ve seen 6 people in the break room doing nothing and it’s not even their break time.
You want us to write on the medical chart when a dog is sick. When I do that I feel like I’m signing their death warrant. Why are the volunteers the ones to notice a dog dying in their kennel? Why must we run to medical to get help when you can see a dog is not breathing or moving? There should be rounds made. These dogs should not be dying in their cages.
I am so exhausted from falling in love with these dogs. Getting to know them as much as I can so that I can help get them adopted.
Why do you guys bother giving them doxy or any other medication if you toss them on the list the same night? Many dogs don’t even take their pills. I walk in and see them on the floor outside their kennel or in the drain. Why is it that the beginner/average rated dogs are the first to go? You keep difficult/aggressive dogs for the longest time and that makes no sense to me. They languish in their kennels and their behavioral problems increase. I would prefer you kill for space than for sickness at this point. I say that because I have seen 13 dogs on the list when I counted 30 empty kennels.
It’s not even sensible to create a list and only give rescues 13 hours to save them. That doesn’t seem fair to anyone, especially the dogs. You want to get rid of any volunteer that speaks out but we have a right to speak out and vent our frustrations. It’s almost as if robots have taken over your shelters. No feelings.
You want us to take photos of the animals; but, not be in any of the pictures because you want the “focus on the dog.” The reality is people prefer to see dogs with humans and see their soft side. Videos and photos are saving lives. If you want to take credit for rescue pulls at least let us take pictures and videos without worrying about being terminated.
I have made friends with some staff and I do feel sorry for those that do care. Sadly they are not in any position to make a change or make waves or they will lose their jobs.
I hope that one day you will open your eyes and see the change you could have been making. Things are not getting better. I hope in my lifetime I see the change everyone is working for.
A frustrated volunteer