The ASPCA and NYCACC: Partners in Abuse and Neglect

The story of Gloria continues to take unexpected twists and turns.

To recap: Gloria is a cat that was abandoned at an ASPCA mobile clinic in Queens. The ASPCA in turn abandoned her at New York City Animal Care and Control (AC&C or “the pound”), where she ended up on the nightly kill list after catching the cold that every single cat that stays at the AC&C long enough gets, for illness is allowed to run rampant through the facility and basic disease prevention protocols are routinely violated. Finally, yesterday the rescue I work with, Pets Alive stepped up to save Gloria (and 5 other cats and a dog!) and I had the unexpected honor of transporting an animal I had written about but never expected to meet.

And then things got weird.

After 24 hours at Pets Alive, Gloria wasn’t acting right. She wasn’t moving much. Lethargic. Not eating. Concerned, they took her to their vet, who found that one of her back legs was completely shattered – broken in more than 50 places. It is destroyed; it will need to be amputated. Now it becomes clear why she was left at a mobile clinic. Now it’s clear why the ASPCA left her at the NYC pound – who never figured it out, even though they had her from December 29th until January 18th. They have a special plea list for animals with medical conditions – had they known, she would have been on it.

Which brings me to two points: number one, unlike the ASPCA, Pets Alive does not abandon an animal in need. Please, if you can, consider donating to them for the cost of Gloria’s surgery, which I believe will happen tomorrow. There is a donate link on the home page (and you can leave a comment with your donation) and I hope there will be details about fundraising specifically for her on the home page tomorrow. [Note: it’s there now.] Pets Alive is one of many worthy groups that pick up the pieces in New York city when organizations like the ASPCA and the AC&C walk away. Support them and others that do it well. Gloria was fantastic yesterday, and she must be in unbelievable pain. I picked her up, held her, stroked her head, and she was friendly and affectionate which speaks volumes for her disposition. She’s going to be a wonderful tripod and who knows – maybe someone reading this might want to step up and adopt her. She’s worth it.

Secondly, this case represents nearly everything wrong with the state of animal welfare in New York City, and I want some answers. If the ASPCA knew that this cat was severely injured and turned them over to the pound without mentioning it or doing anything about it or following up, their actions may be criminal, and they are the organization charged with upholding the animal laws of NYC. Not only that but they have the resources easily available to make it right – a fully equipped veterinary hospital, a rescue facility that they present to the world as a model. If they didn’t know about her injuries, they may simply be incompetent. Did Gloria’s owner present her for treatment at this mobile clinic and then walk away after hearing the extent of her injuries, or was she just left there without explanation? Did the ASPCA abandon Gloria at the pound knowing the extent of her injuries and her suffering and failed to disclose it? We know they betrayed their mission, but did they break the law?

Then there’s New York City Animal Care and Control. Below is Gloria’s listing from the kill list which includes a summary of her medical treatment and findings.

We see here that she was examined twice, once on 12/29 and once on 1/15. On 12/29 she was given fluids for dehydration, on 1/15 given medications for the upper respiratory infection that is AC&C’s gift that keeps on giving. Both of these examinations completely missed her shattered leg. Who did these? If they were done by a vet, this vet should be reported for incompetence – a basic physical exam should include flexing the limbs and feeling for abnormalities. Were they even done by a trained medical professional at all? To add insult to injury, they did a behavioral evaluation on a badly injured cat in extreme pain on 1/3. She was noted to be tense. Gee, that’s not surprising.

I am assuming here that her broken leg did not happen in the shelter, which I think is possible but extremely unlikely. Such an extreme break with no obvious outward physical trauma would take an unusual event – hit by a car, a fall from a tremendous height.

This cat was completely failed on every level. Treated with utter callousness by the ASPCA who are in charge of enforcing cruelty laws in New York City, then cruelly abandoned by the ASPCA at New York City Animal Care and Control, where she was treated – repeatedly – with utter incompetence and cruelty as she suffered without assistance. This one animal represents everything that is wrong, so badly broken, with the state of animal welfare in the greatest city in the world. This is utterly and completely inexcusable, and New York deserves an explanation.

This tidbit turned up on the ASPCA’s twitter account today.

Rather than take a cat with a shattered leg into their top-of-the-line medical facility and “model” shelter, the ASPCA abandoned Gloria to suffer, get sick, and die at New York City Animal Care and Control. Whatever they knew about her medical condition, they betrayed their mission. Thank goodness for the little orgs like Pets Alive who try to pick up the broken pieces that those charged with safeguarding the welfare of New York City’s animals leave behind.

Do you know anything about Gloria? Were you at the ASPCA mobile clinic when Gloria was there? Do you know who examined her at AC&C? I want to know. Email me at All requests for privacy will be honored and I have the ability to black names out of documents/emails and strip photos of embedded identifying details.

To Be Continued

This entry was posted in ASPCA, Cats, New York City, No Kill, Not Funny, NYCACC, Pets Alive, Shelter Stuff. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Pamela Geiger

    John, Thank you for getting this out there. One of my fur babies was an ACC cat. When I initially adopted her from the vet who worked with the pull rescue I had no idea what she had been through prior to us finding each other. All I knew is that she was from Brooklyn, had a compound fracture, had surgery, and the ASPCA was not able to help her due to it being a holiday weekend. Years later I started to put two and two together and realized she was a pull from the ACC. I asked the vet for her intake information and found she sat at the Brooklyn shelter for 3 days with a compound fracture and nothing was done, rather they were just waiting for her stay hold to come up. Her intake info simply says “femur swelling”. This was in 2004. Years of neglect, years of abuse, it sickens me to my core, and yet I still have hope this will change, I have to have hope.

  • FreeRadical

    I recently had a compound fracture of my arm. The pain is indescribable, and it only is partly relieved by stabilizing the fracture. I read this and got queasy thinking about the prolonged suffering of these wonderful beings. While the shelters are strained financially and otherwise, they cannot fail in this way. It’s unacceptable on every level.

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  • A. Sanai

    Thank you for posting this on your blog. I donated for Gloria, and I hope you find out how this happened.

  • Daniela

    For anyone following the story – Gloria had her leg amputated yesterday and she is doing well today. She also has an adoption application in so hopefully she will be able to put this horrible ordeal behind her soon.

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  • John M.

    Another sad story that doesn’t reflect well on the ASPCA. I’m at least happy to hear that they have a mobile clinic, that their piles of donated cash aren’t all going to executive salaries. Clearly there are some leadership issues, as the leadership sets the tone for the entire organization. No doubt there are good people who work for the ASPCA, and if given the opportunity to do better, I have to believe they’d step up. Since an organization as large as the ASPCA isn’t likely to go away, even if a good chunk of their donated revenue gets redirected to other organizations by people who get clued in to some of their abuses, it isn’t enough to simply do that. What I’ve been wondering for some time is: who is in a position to influence their leadership? What about their celebrity spokesperson, Sarah McLachlan? I’d have a hard time believing she’s anything but a compassionate person–has anyone gotten through to her??

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  • Once again the ASPCA does it again. Once more they have failed another injured animal in need. Instead they chose to ignore the poor cat’s injuries. And worse, they abandon the injured cat at the AC&C to die. ( every animal catches the horrible cold which turns into pnemonia, and then the animal dies without intervention. I Got a cat that caught the cold, and almost died. He spent 3 1/2 weeks at the vet. The bill was astronomical, and I am still paying it. Wht don’t they CLEAN the shelters up?) This poor cat suffered unimagionable pain, having a shattered leg, and received a poor behavior rating. The whole system in NYC makes me sick, and sad for all the innocent pets that are condemed to die in these deplorable conditions. Thank you Pets Alive for stepping in!

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  • Linda

    The aspca is disgusting. They could care less about abandoned, sick and injured animals. All they want is to be like their big brothers…peta and hsus. They see the cash rolling into those orgs. and seem to have taken on their callous disregard for life. When I was younger and dumber, I supported the aspca. Never, never again. Not a dime.