Audit: Illnesses, Poor Conditions Found At Some NYC Animal Shelters

Erica Brosnan
September 16, 2020 - 5:50 pm
Animal Shelter

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Surprise inspections at city animal shelters have found some shocking conditions and practices.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office inspected five locations throughout the boroughs: three full-service Animal Care Centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island and two receiving centers in Queens and the Bronx.

The audit looked to determine whether Animal Care and Control of New York City, Inc., operating as Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), has remained in compliance with the requirements of its contract with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).

Overall, the comptroller’s office found that ACC was “generally in compliance with its DOHMH contract with regard to shelter conditions and animal care.” However, a number of deficiencies were noted, and the audit included 21 recommendations to improve.

Auditors found shelters were operating with “unacceptable humidity levels,” and some animals had developed respiratory illnesses because of the conditions – in addition to being in crowded environments and under stress.

“With regard to shelter conditions, we found deficiencies related to unacceptable humidity levels, sounds of predator species heard in prey rooms, food found that was past its “best by” date, peeling paint and exposed surfaces, and expired non-controlled medications,” Stringer’s office said in the report.

Investigators also found the Health Department did not conduct comprehensive assessments of ACC’s adherence to its contract.

A spokesman for the city’s Health Department responded to the audit by boasting about the 90% placement rate for animals in their care.

The comptroller’s office has offered 21 recommendations for the ACC to improve conditions including the installation of sound mitigation mats, frequent checks of its medicine stock to remove expired vials, weekly reviews of food supply to remove stored food that is past the “best by” date and further staff training to ensure all employees are adhering to animal care protocols. 

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