Skip to main content

New York City pound neglects, kills animals

One of four kittens scheduled to be killed at the New York City shelter.
One of four kittens scheduled to be killed at the New York City shelter.

 An injured cat in pain. The shelter refused to
 give the cat pain medication. It told rescue
 groups they had one day to save her or they
 would put her to death.

Warning: This story contains a very graphic photograph.

Less than a month after the ASPCA and the Mayor’s Alliance succeeded in killing Oreo’s Law, New York City Animal Care & Control (ACC) has announced that it will not allow any new rescue groups to save the lives of animals until a new rescue policy is finalized at the end of August. Oreo’s Law sought to make such conduct illegal. According to rescue groups in New York City, the city pound “has suspended all new rescues that were recently approved.” These allegations were confirmed by e-mails obtained from ACC’s rescue coordinator.

The refusal to work with these groups is already costing the animals their lives. While groups like the ASPCA and Mayor’s Alliance claim that New York City is saving all healthy animals, the pound has contradicted those false assertions, killing hundreds in the process while stating “an overpopulation of adoptable animals requires us to humanely euthanize animals,” even as they are turning away rescue groups for the next two months.

 This dog ate half of his own tail because the NYC
 animal control shelter failed to provide needed
 care for his injury.

And it gets worse. In addition to claiming they do not have enough food to feed the animals right down the street from the nation’s wealthiest SPCA (the ASPCA took in over $120,000,000 in one year alone), cats and kittens in the “maternity wards” are left without food or water, animals are left wallowing in their own waste, animals are not getting any socialization, and sick animals are not getting the care they need. In fact, the shelter is withholding pain medications from injured animals. Internal documents show a dog who chewed off half his own tail because of substandard care.

Hundreds of millions of dollars flow into the coffers of New York City's large "animal protection" organizations, including the ASPCA.  Yet the neediest animals in New York City’s badly mismanaged pound:

  • go without basic care;
  • languish in filth;
  • are being denied needed medical treatment;
  • healthy and treatable animals are put to death; and,
  • the shelter has warned it is running out of food to feed them.

  One of three kittens sent to the neglectful pound from
  the wealthy ASPCA. The ASPCA took in over
  $120,000,000 in one year alone yet sent these kittens
  to the pound rather than provide care itself.

And those who want to do something about it are prevented from doing so: rescue groups are being turned away, volunteers are being banned from the shelter, and anyone who expresses concern about conditions is summarily terminated. On top of that, the pound has decided to renovate their kennels during the busiest time of year, cutting capacity, resulting in even more deaths. According to a July 1 e-mail obtained from ACC’s rescue coordinator:

The contractors are going to start work shortly on the final phase on the project, which involves replacing the floors in a significant portion of the building. We are excited for the many improvements that help make the shelter a better place, although the final phases of construction will pose challenges in addition those normally brought on by kitten season. Work on the floors is set to start Tuesday July 6th, and will be done in phases that have been carefully considered to have the least impact on our operations as possible. However, we will have to make adjustments for housing the dogs and cats and our housing capacity will be temporarily reduced until the project is complete. The work plan will initially impact our dog housing capacity, following by cat housing capacity, until the project is finished…

The whole thing is an unbelievable, tragic, reprehensible betrayal of the animals.

The ASPCA’s response, in fact, has been to send even more animals to the pound to be killed, rather than provide the care itself. Three kittens were threatened with killing at the city pound for being underweight and dehydrated. And they came from the ASPCA. Despite taking in $30,000,000 a year just from its “Angel” commercial featuring Sarah McLachlan where the ASPCA promises to come to animals in need, they sent these kittens to a high kill shelter where they faced death. Because the pound kills even healthy animals, it would not commit to saving these kittens. Consequently, they have asked the rescue community to save them–the very same rescue community the ASPCA accuses of being hoarders in disguise that cannot be trusted, their basis for opposing Oreo’s Law. It turns out that it is the large groups and shelters in New York City that are the true hoarders–of money, of power, and for keeping animals in squalid conditions.

The ASPCA, Mayor’s Alliance, and other large organizations may love New York, because it has made them incredibly wealthy. But the homeless animals of that city do not. For them, the “shelter” system is little more than a neglectful, abusive, mismanaged house of horrors.

For further reading:

New York survey shows animals needlessly killed

ASPCA chief unconscionable

Power to the people

Subscribe to articles from Nathan J. Winograd: If you would like to receive an e-mail when new articles are available from Nathan Winograd, click on the "subscribe" button at the top of the page.

If you like Nathan's articles, you'll love his books. Redemption and Irreconcilable Differences are the most acclaimed books on animal shelters ever written, and combined have won seven national book awards.  Visit his bookstore by clicking here.

Comments must adhere to the terms and conditions of the comments policy.


  • animal warrior 4 years ago

    Glad ...glad glad glad I wrote the aspca by regular mail and gave them my membership number and told them to stick it where the sun don't shine.I'm sorry if I offend anyone but I'm so fed up with the aspca and their little followers tricking animal lovers into keep giving them money.That commercial is just a way to get more and more money while at the very same time more and more healthy treatable animals get killed by them.

    How dare they let those animals in those pictures suffer like that.I give to No Kill Advocacy Center who is working so hard to stop these abuses in animal shelters.

  • Anonymous 4 years ago

    I am a "New Hope" (No Hope) member and did not support Oreo's law because I was afraid I would get terminated and not able to save kittens. They are killing adoptable kittens every day. I rescue some, so have to keep my head down and my mouth shut. Everything you write is true. Everyone is getting rich while the rescue groups and volunteers struggle in silence.

  • Ed Sayres needs to go 4 years ago

    Disgusting. And Best Friends and Alley Cat Allies supported the continuation of this type of abuse by NOT supporting Oreo's Law. Instead they kissed up to their cronies. I guess money really does corrupt absolutely.

    The week after Oreo's law was tabled I got mail from Best Friends, Alley Cat Allies and PETA begging for money. I sent them all messages back saying "Never again, until you support Oreo's Law". I only donate to the No Kill Advocacy Center now. At least I know that they believe in the same things I do.

  • animal warrior 4 years ago

    To'Ed Sayres needs to go',

    I read what you wrote.Alley Cat Allies huh? Didn't know this. Looks like I'll be making a call to John Davis and see what the heck is going on with Alley Cat Allies not supporting Oreo's Law.I have spoken with John Davis quite a few times who's from there to update my info since I'm signed up with their feral friends network and I'm a current member/supporter.Hmmm...I'll get to the bottom of this.

    I've recently found out Louise Holten supporter of Oreo's Law who's now with Alley Cat RESCUE is the co-founder of Alley Cat Allies and actually the pioneer to Trap,Neuter,Return[TNR].I may be moving my donations over to Alley Cat Rescue instead depending what I find out.

  • Brenda Hixenbaugh 4 years ago

    Why don't the rescue groups stand outside the shelters and get the animals before they go into this death camp? Or advertise so people will bring the animals to your rescues insted. I am the same way now, I'll never take an animal to this shelter or call them to pick up a stray. I'll catch the stray myself and then call a group that doesn't kill.I wrote the wrote these barbarians and told them that there was no more excuse for them than there is of PETA or The Human Society. The CEO of the Humane Society draws a 6 figure salary but they have to euthenise because they don't have enough money. How sic can these people get?

  • Alexandra 4 years ago

    I can't even fathom this type of institutional cruelty. Surely there are decent humans in New York City who will take on the Mayor's Office and any other political entity to change the shelter's policies and get much-needed help and kind treatment to these poor animals. I live in Reno, Nevada - is there anything I can do?

  • Pissed in Queens, NY 4 years ago

    Our rescue group phone rings at least 10 times a week from people begging for help for the animals. I ask them how they got my number and they all tell me, "the ASPCA referred me to you when I called them." Imagine a $100,000,000/year organization breaking the backs of rescue groups. Other groups tell me the same thing. ASPCA's rescue efforts are only 5% of what they do. Those Sarah Mclaughlin commercials are so misleading they should be banned from the airwaves. Shame on the ASPCA.

  • A Caring New Yorker 4 years ago

    Thomas Cole: Your comment was incredibly unfair to a lot of people. First of all, "Anonymous" is between a rock and a hard place, and while you and I can question whether there will be long-term change if people don't rise up, it is grossly unfair to call it "self-serving." "Anonymous" is just trying to save kittens. My heart went out to her/him. It is a difficult choice. Second, to suggest New Yorkers don't care is also unfair. There have been numerous lawsuits against NYCACC by different groups and a lot of public acrimony, articles written, etc. In addition, thousands of New Yorkers rallied behind Oreo and Kellner's bill. Third, while I think Nathan can defend himself, it seems to me that there are lots of communities and hundreds of people in the same position as you and only one of him. Criticizing him because he doesn't read and review everything you write is a bit much. In short, YOU are not the ONLY one who cares.

  • Nikki 4 years ago

    Best Friends promotes these people and is even having Jane Hoffman of the NYC Mayor's Alliance at their conference. I was going to go but decided against it. If I wanted to be lied to and to be told killing was necessary, I would sign up for HSUS Expo. I think we need to start calling Best Friends "HSUS-light."

  • Dawn 4 years ago

    Has anyone created a Petition to actually fix this problem?

  • Gena 3 years ago

    Dawn: There is a petition on that only has 1750 signatures out of the 5000 it needs. Just go to the site and type"ACC" in the search, it will pop up for you to sign. It might ask you to join, but there are hundreds of animal welfare petitions to sign there so it's very worth it. Tell everyone you know to sign!!

  • Monica from SF 4 years ago

    I'm shocked. It seems that no one is trustworthy. Where can we turn? As individuals we're ineffective, our animal advocacy agencies are being exposed daily for taking our money and killing animals anyway, and I'm beginning to believe that the only angels in this are the ALF. The world is upside down. And the innocents pay for the scams and deceit.

  • Bett Sundermeyer, Houston Animal Shelters Examiner 4 years ago

    "Monica from SF", I agree. It's hard to know who to trust anymore because so many have let us down and proven to be untrustworthy. A couple years ago, I was donating monthly to PETA and HSUS...until I read Redemption and immediately stopped. I am angry that I was suckered in by their lies. Then I was donating to Best Friends. Stopped that after they failed to support Oreo's law. Now, I only donate to the No Kill Advocacy Center and Primarily Primates (and a huge chunk of my paycheck goes to my own non-profit org).

    It seems nearly impossible to figure out which orgs are truthful and have the same values as we do. Nathan is the only one I trust to tell us the truth these days.

  • Matt 4 years ago

    You can always tell a true animal lover from a fraud: Are they No Kill? If they love animals, they are No Kill. If they are frauds, they kill.


    Because love doesnt kill. It only loves, nourishes, protects and enhances life, it doesnt destroy it.

    That's the bottom line after the B.S., excuses, semantics, etc. are cut through

    Would you kill your child? No? Why not? Because you love them.

    Well, whether you are a soul who walks on 2 legs or a soul who walks on 4 legs makes no difference: We are all living, breathing, thinking, feeling, loving, soul-filled Children of God. We are all equal. We all deserve to live, love and be loved equally.

    That is the ultimate truth.

    The human animal's ignorance, arrogance, speciesism and egotism notwithstanding.

  • Nuff Said 4 years ago

    Thank you, Matt. What do other species share, if nothing else, with the human species? The desire to live their lives with dignity and respect; the desire to their right to life. Ironic and revolting that the human species, the one species who is most able to protect and nurture the planet and all creatures calling it "home", is the species who does just the opposite.

  • animal warrior 4 years ago

    Hi 'Ed Sayres needs to go' And yes he really does need to go...somewhere far,far away and let a compassionate leader take over the Aspca.

    Okay so here's what I found out after speaking with John Davis from Alley Cat Allies (ACA).First I'm curious. Where did you hear that ACA was opposing the bill?

    He says ACA is working directly with Thomas Duane's office,the sponsor of Oreo's Law,to improve the language of the bill to have a greater impact for the improved care and protection of New York's cats.Oreo's Law was not finalized,nor acted on by committee,before the legislative session's June deadline.The bill was put on hold until the next legislative session,and the ACA will continue to work with policy makers on it then.

    There was no final version of Oreo's Law for the ACA to support or oppose that it was still a work in progress.That the ACA was working to make it a better bill than originally proposed and they will continue doing so when the NY legislature is back in session.

  • animal warrior 4 years ago

    To 'Ed Sayres needs to go'

    So if you can please let me know where you heard Alley Cat Allies opposes Oreo's Law that would be cool.

    As for PeTa and the HSUS, Aspca and Best Friends I know for sure they don't support this bill which I find ridiculous they don't support it.That's why it was hard for me to stay quiet with them about this and not let them know that one of their biggest supporters and long term members was going bye-bye. I was ready for whatever BS answer they were going to respond with, which they did as predicted. But I know the truth. Like others, I get the truth from Nathan Winograd.

  • animal warrior 4 years ago

    One thing I would love to see happen for the sake of shelter animals and that is Nathan Winograd signed as CEO/Director of the Aspca instead of Ed Sayres.

    I came back here to see if 'Ed Sayres needs to go' has left me a message to my question. Will be checking again some other time.

  • Sandra 4 years ago

    Animal Warriors, Alley Cat Allies is not being truthful. They weren't working with anyone and the bill's language was final. It was tabled for next year based on a vote to hold the bill. ACA has a relationship with Jane Hoffman and Best Friends and it was that relationship that trumped the lives of the cats. Now, given that Best Friends took a beating for sacrificing the animals for money, ACA is trying to cover their tracks.

  • Ed Sayres needs to go 4 years ago

    Animal Warrior, see this site for a list of the larger organizations who supported Oreo's Law --
    You can bet that if ACA was a supporter, Nathan would have listed them here along with their letter of support. They did not support it. They may not have been doing the behind the scenes dirty deals that some of the others were, but they definitely did not support this law. And the support of an organization of this size could have helped.

    ACA is running with "the big dogs" now i.e. big money of New York so they sold out the animals for $$ (this law would have helped rescuers save feral cats from shelters who automatically kill them)

  • Hi Ed Sayres Need To Go 4 years ago

    Thank you for responding back. Wow this really throws me for a loop. Not sure what to think of ACA now. Was I lied to by the organization who I advocate for and tell everyone about and had been with for more than a decade??

    One thing I do know for sure is I will of course not stop helping caregivers do TNR nor stop offering advice on TNR but will stop my donations as of now to ACA which i NEVER thought I would ever do.

    I won't stop there. I will email Becky Robinson's (ACA President)John Davis response (who told me "this is what I was told") when he answered my concern. I want to be told by ACA "Yes we lied and we SUCK for not giving Oreo's Law the support it needed."

    Besides Alley Cat Rescue, not to be confused with Alley Cat Allies, has Louise Holten, pioneer of Trap,Neuter,Return and who helps all cats including ferals. I do know that they DO support Oreo's Law so here I happily go again.....moving my donations to the ones who will NOT put $$$ before animals.

  • CARINE 4 years ago


  • animal warrior 4 years ago

    UPDATE: I guess I accidently have two different screen names on here. One is 'Hi Ed Sayres Needs To Go' and 'animal warrior'. My mistake. Anyway,

    I spoke with Will Gomaa by phone today after my deep concern of Alley Cat Allies (ACA) not being listed as supporters on Oreo's Law website. He said ACA is working with the sponsor, (Thomas Duane), of the bill so that when it is introduced very early 2011 it could include the benefit of community feral cats. So my thing now is to wait and see who shows their true colors when Oreo's Law is introduced again. This goes for Best Friends (BF) too. I spoke with illene from BF and was given the same answer about making sure the bill was going to be beneficial for animals as much as possible. We shall see who the real animal protectors are and who are still lying...Until then though I have choosen to add these two organizations on my DO NOT DONATE list until I can see what they are about.

  • Robert Cardillo 3 years ago

    This really, truly, breaks my heart. I have been giving to alot of these organizations for a long time. I guess, that all they care about is the almighty buck. Leo Grillo is one who puts his money where his mouth is. I guess I'll give him and the few who really care about the animals rather than Sayres and Pachelle, who make those half a million dollar salaries a year.

  • Anonymous 3 years ago

    Do these people know or REMEMBER why they got involved in this type of job in the first place?or is it just a job? Isn't their job to protect animals from suffering at the hands of humans and any other kind of neglect, like no food ,no home, no is like they are jailed and tortured......some PROTECTION! I would gladly take your job. AND I would be HAPPY to help!