NYCACC rolled out a new computer system for kill list rescues in early June, which at the time I heralded with cautious optimism. Rescues were to be given a log in and could then place their pulls from the kill list on-line. Also, for the first time, parts of the kill list were open to the public and for certain animals the public could rescue directly from the kill lists after logging into the ACC’s website.
Here’s how it works here in NYC: the kill lists are released each night around 5:30. Rescues must place their holds by 6am the following morning when killing starts in some locations. This used to be done via a phone hotline that took recorded messages – rescues could call in, say their password for authentication, and list the animals they wished to pull. Since NYCACC isn’t staffed overnight, however, you could not ask any questions of an actual person and you had no way of knowing if an animal was already pulled.
The online system promised more information and better tracking, but results so far have been disturbing. I have multiple, credible reports of animals with pulls entered by rescue groups that do not make it into the computer system. Some have been luckily pulled by other groups – but some have been killed, as recently as this morning. Elizabeth McMahon’s story is not an isolated incident.
One would think that when lives are on the line the system would be tested thoroughly prior to being rolled out, but that does not seem to have been the case. The online system for the public is also… not optimal. You can take a look at it here. Once you wade through the propaganda about how wonderful a job they’re doing and some outright lies about never killing a healthy animal as well as some slandering of the Facebook groups more responsible than anyone for rescuing animals from the kill lists of recent times, you can enter your full contact information (and why can you not create an account?) and see SOME of the animals from the current kill list. Tonight the public web site lists 10 of the 24 cats slated for death in the morning and 12 of the 19 dogs. While I understand not making dogs with severe behavioral problems available to the public and perhaps the most extreme medical cases, there should be more animals visible to the public who wishes to save them. This system would be an improvement – if it worked reliably – but it needs to go further. One of the cats not available to the public tonight, for instance, is an entirely healthy and apparently terrified 8 week old kitten. I see no reason not to give the public access to her – and you should remember Mimie’s name and photo the next time you hear someone associated with NYCACC claim that they do not kill healthy animals. Mimie is healthy, young, perfect, and slated to die in the morning.
I had hoped to write earlier about the “rescue only” side of the computer system, but I couldn’t see it until recently – the organization I volunteer for didn’t have a working login for the first several weeks of the new system, a condition which was just recently corrected – pulling hundreds of animals a year doesn’t seem to get you any priority. It is slightly more streamlined but fundamentally the same.
To depend on these systems to save lives – and to eliminate the phone options previously available to rescues – they have to be 100% airtight and working. Anything less is not acceptable. Death due to “computer glitch” is nothing less than criminal.
Max had a home waiting for him in CT. Instead, his current location has been updated to “freezer”.