NYCACC’s Computer System: Tested on Animals

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”.

Click to enlarge.

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  • MissWiss

    I attended the Board meeting this a.m. and asked a question about accountability / traceability / SOP for the new At Risk lists – how do they make sure that the info is current and kept updated to save as many animals as possible / prevent SNAFUs, given that the animals are already at that point, yes, we know it’s better to not have them get to that point at all, thank you. I got an answer about how I can volunteer to foster through the AC&C website and PR about the new website. I tried to bring up the “At Risk” part again but no go on the time. I submitted the question in a written fashion, so we’ll see if I get a response. In the meantime, more of what happened with poor Max, I’m sure.

    • elizabeth mcmahon

      Please stop holding your breath. You will not get a reply. From anyone. What is a SOP, and is a SNAFU anything other than their daily snafus?

      • MissWiss

        Hey, we’re on the same side! In that at the meeting much was made of how efficient and well-done the new site is and what an aid to foster and adoption it will be, I wanted to ask for clarification on how it will prevent all the errors that occur now, which, of course, aren’t owned up to anyway. An SOP is a Standard Operating Procedure, which theoretically should be in place, in some form, in large organizations that have staff turnover so that tasks/prodcedures/etc. are done consistently and correctly. If the point is to save lives/care for animals, it’s an obvious part of staff training and running the place. Or, it should be, but obviously not.

  • elizabeth mcmahon

    Poor, dear, wanted Max. Poor mother/daughter duo on their way to pick him up in Brooklyn from Danbury, CT. They were so excited. Max had his whole enviable life ahead of him. But indifference, hubris, incompetence and now on top of those tired old cliches, software malfunction, can be added to the staggeringly long list of pointless, avoidable and downright malicious things that kill the animals of NYCACC on an unrelentingly endless basis.

  • this sickens me… they should at least bring back the phone system until they get the bugs worked out of their new computer system… assuming people even look at it before they start killing animals in the mornings… but at least if the phones were there the rescues could call as well as use the ACC comp system… more total incompetence, unless the new plan is to get the rescues so fed up that they stop and then Julie Banks gets what she wants, even more dead pets!! =*(

  • Dee

    I cry every night looking at The List. The ACC needs a major overhaul. Bloomberg needs to be publicly confronted on how poorly it is run. Residents will be appalled and angered for change. Come on 20 ounce soda is more important, get real Mayor Bloomberg!

  • Instead of a home in ct, her location has been updated to freezer. That is the saddest thing ever.

  • “cindy”

    I used to work there and I was fired because I cared too much and did too much extra work (ie hand feeding blind, elderly dogs, spending time with scared animals, making “soft food only” signs, spot checking all animals who were and weren’t on my treatment list and gave detailed notes to doctors, walking dogs after I clocked out, etc) that place needed more compassionate and true animal lovers and fire people who are there for a pay check and who are there to socialize!

  • *gasp*… FREEZER. Says it all.

  • “cindy”

    I even suggusted that they do a more detailed and comprehensive intake evaluation clearly stating on their kennel cards if they have lived with cats or dogs, do they get along…why not place all the vital information on the kennel card and skip the run around having to go up/down the stairs to inquire on certain information pertaining to whatever animal. Then people are told to look at their intake sheet which most of the time isn’t there, isn’t clear or is not thoroughly filled out/or pernent information was added to computer and not on sheet. I suggested placing a kiosk, like those you see at PetSmart/Petco that has all the animals, sick, old, male/female, etc in the waiting room so people can find an animal at home and also see all the animals that are adoptable or soon to be right away. 80% of the time when I worked there, I knew every animal and when people were being neglected or they were understaffed I would help with adoptions because I knew all the animals by name and their personality and most of the animals were available but weren’t in the adoption wards because they were sick but adoptable/no space or sheer laziness.

  • Petra

    MORE contempt. GET it right, NYC ACC’s! HOLOCAUST! We are everywhere, we are NOT backing down and we are going to take you down from the inside. Shelter Reform now! NO KILL NYC!!!!

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