NYCACC: Never Too Busy to Argue Semantics

Ellen Curtis is a busy woman. As NYCACC’s Placement Supervisor, she supervises the New Hope, Adoptions, Behavior Assessment and Enrichment and Foster Care activities, programs and staff of NYCACC, despite having no previous paid shelter experience. Even more impressively, she does it without being in any of the actual shelters – she works from ACC’s executive offices in downtown Manhattan where management staff resides, miles from any of the three shelter facilities so they don’t have the distraction of actually running shelters while they run shelters.

Busy as she is, Ms. Curtis is never too busy to argue semantics.

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I wouldn’t expect the shelter to have the brutal honesty to call it a Kill List, but it used to at least be called the Euthanasia List. When Executive Director Julie Bank took over she reportedly thought that the list, issued nightly, might give people the wrong idea about the shelter, so she ordered it referred to as the “At Risk List”. However, they’re not at risk for a good cuddling, they’re at risk for a needle of sodium pentobarbital at the hands of the shelter if rescues don’t take them in.

I wonder if it’s easier, sitting at a desk miles away, to convince yourself that enforcing kinder, gentler euphemisms is an important part of your work.

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  • meredith

    Apparently she ain’t that busy. Besides, the high kill pound which acc is needs to protect its image. For the best idea of that “image” just visit the shelter. No semantics can improve it.

  • She corrected me in an email too! When we adopted a dog from there I called it the TBD list in my email to her… she made sure to let me know she prefers to call it the “at risk” list.

    I thought it odd at the time, but find it even more so now that I know this seems to be a priority of hers.