Red tape is killing pets sent to the city’s adoption hub: advocates

The city’s Animal Care Center uses inadequate methods in compiling its daily “kill list” — giving condemned pets just 18 hours to get adopted before they are put down, advocates and experts charge.

The arcane system forces people to seek a designated third party to actually complete the rescue adoption of so-called dangerous animals — but those groups are often unavailable or unable to save the animals in time, the Post has found.

Out of 300 groups — called “New Hope partners” — listed on ACC’s site, just 55 are marked as being currently able to help potential owners pull animals from the list.

But The Post was only able to reach 16 of the 55 rescues during the allotted time frame — and three said they don’t even provide such rescue services.

This can cause massive problems for animal lovers trying to save a pet, since the ACC only posts its kill list of allegedly aggressive or sick dogs or cats six days a week at 6 p.m., forcing a night-time scramble.

The City Council’s Health Committee is meeting about Tuesday, and advocates will voice concerns about the bureaucratic hurdles and their belief that peaceful dogs and cats are wrongly classified as dangerous.

Karen Hart, a retired grandmother from upstate New York, tried to adopt an 8-month-old black Labrador mix named April — but couldn’t save the animal because of red tape.

Though the dog was deemed “too aggressive” to be adopted, video showed it playing peacefully with another pup and happily interacting with humans. By the time Hart got a “New Hope rescue” on the line to start the adoption process she ran out of time and April was killed.

“It’s just inhumane,” she said. “I was crying, I was very upset . . . Why would you only give a dog 18 hours to find a home?”

Experts doubt that shelters can accurately predict how an animal will act when tested in a stressful and new environment such as the Animal Care Centers. Shelter environments can make sweet pups seem like vicious monsters — inevitably skewing the test results.

“The shelter set-up is just so stressful for animals and especially in the city shelters just because space is so limited and there are so many animals,” said Viviane Arzoumanian, a certified animal-behavior counselor.

Before placing dogs on the list, ACC evaluates the animals using a combination of known history, a modified SAFER assessment system and a dog playgroup.

An ACC employee, who declined to give her name, admitted that some of the animals at risk of being killed due to aggression could do better if they got into a home.

But she added, “We provide many opportunities for animals to be adopted, including those that may be at-risk for health or behavior reasons.”

When asked about the 18-hour time restriction, the worker noted that the limit was just 12 hours a decade ago. She also said the fact the names go up at night is no big deal.

“It still gives you a few hours left in the evening, then another four hours in the morning,” she said.

But the employee declined to comment on the unavailability of many New Hope rescue partners.

Additional reporting by Gabrielle Fonrouge

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