Adoption, Intake & Euthanasia down at City Shelters in 2011
Statistics provided by Animal Care and Control of New York City.
By Michael Mullins
Published May 24, 2012
Over 31,500 animals were admitted to New York City shelters in 2011, of which 64 percent were adopted, 25 percent were euthanized and five percent were returned to their owner according to statistics provided by Animal Care and Control (ACC). Six percent, or approximately 1,900 animals, were not accounted for in the provided statistics, which in past years ACC spokespersons have attributed to multiple factors including animals arriving at the shelter already deceased.

Although 20,008 animals were adopted last year, another 8,151 animals were destroyed at city shelters in 2011. Down from 9,373 animals euthanized the year prior, the dis-heartening figure continues a downward trend since 2001, when some 34,232 animals were destroyed in a single year. The adoption figure includes animals that are pulled by rescue groups, which use their own resources to get that animal fostered or adopted.

The reduction in intake during 2011 is in part a result of the shelter having cut back on services the year prior due to budgetary cuts imposed by the city. As of December, 2010, animal control officers no longer picked up cats, unless injured or posing a public health risk, nor would officers recover strays on nights and weekends as had previously been the case. As a result of shelter intake being reduced, the euthanasia rate is consequently also lowered.

2011 was a tumultuous year for ACC, marred by controversial dismissals of a beloved employee and a well-respected volunteer, as well as a “public” board meeting that saw over 100 residents kept out due to space limitations. The year ended, however, on a somewhat hopeful note with news of the city agreeing to increase funding by $10 million over the next three year to the shelter system, though the funding increase came with strings attached.

The first of two dismissals that outraged the city’s animal welfare community was that of Emily Tanen, Animal Care and Control’s New Hope Liaison, who was terminated on May 13. A celebrated member of the city’s animal welfare community, Tanen played a critical role in saving the lives of countless NYC shelter animals since being hired by ACC in August of 2009.

As news of her sudden dismissal spread, a shocked public took to the internet. Within days of her firing an online petition calling for her reinstatement exceeded 3,600 signatures, while a Facebook page demanding the same had over 2,100 supporters.

In contrast, within days of the firing, ACC temporarily removed its own Facebook page following a barrage of unfavorable messages demanding Tanen’s reinstatement. ACC’S page returned in time; however the option to comment on the page still no longer exists. ACC’s Director of Communications Richard Gentles refused to comment on Tanen’s firing citing personnel matters.