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CONTINUED - What happened to Cocoa Puffs?…Part II
By Michael Mullins
Published October 28, 2012
President and Director Emily Tanen was more than willing. “This is medical malpractice on behalf of the technician, the surgeon or whoever was in charge of this patient's anesthesia,” said Tanen. “Had Cocoa been a human being, these facts would amount to criminally negligent homicide at the very least, if not manslaughter. It is grossly negligent, indeed reckless for the pop-off valve to be “somewhat closed.” The veterinary technician was clearly not monitoring this patient adequately, if at all.”

Tanen continued, “After having conducted an extensive post-mortem investigation not a single sign of cardiac disease was detected, much less any other explanation beyond the fact that Cocoa was suffocated to death. There is no doubt that Cocoa did not receive adequate care while under the care of the AC&C for surgery. Prior to the morning of June 20th, Cocoa was in a loving and devoted foster home. She would still be there, or would have been placed in her forever home, had the AC&C utilized basic levels of care.”

Tanen, who was fired from ACC last May, was the shelter system’s former New Hope Liasion, responsible for coordinating with over 150 tri-state animal rescue organizations to get as many animals out from city shelters as possible before they were at risk of being euthanized.

Tanen’s firing, which ACC refused to comment on, sparked massive online protests with thousands calling for her reinstatement through online petitions and facebook pages. Beloved by many throughout the NYC animal community, Tanen was responsible for saving the lives of countless shelter animals through her hard work and dedication while at ACC according to those we spoke to following her termination.

Cocoa herself was a former ACC shelter dog who was pulled earlier this year and had been fostered in the home of a local rescuer until her kennel cough was cleared up. It is required by law that all animals be spayed or neutered before leaving ACC premises unless they are sick or geriatric. Cocoa was brought back to ACC to be spayed once she no longer had kennel cough. According to her foster parent, Cocoa was brought in on a Wednesday intentionally because the ASPCA’s spay and neuter surgical van is usually at the shelter assisting with operations on that day. The van, however, was not at the shelter that Wednesday.

In response to Cocoa’s death, Project Pet sent a letter to ACC and the Department of Health (DOH), which contracts out the city’s animal control services to ACC. In the letter, Project Pet requested that ACC take responsibility for Cocoa’s death and implement procedural changes so “to ensure the prevention of another such tragedy.”

Project Pet has yet to hear back from ACC or the DOH. EndBox