When Jane Guardascione, a 94-year-old Queens grandmother, lost her pet collie and constant companion, Angel, her granddaughter got on the phone, placing several calls to Animal Control and Care to see if the dog turned up in the city’s shelter system.
Angel wasn’t there, the agency repeatedly told her Friday.
On Saturday, though, she was told the 13-year-old dog had been euthanized at Animal Control and Care’s Manhattan shelter — the same day she arrived.
Shelter officials said Angel had collapsed at the shelter, had no identification and fit no description of any dogs reported lost. Because of her age and deteriorating condition, a veterinarian at the facility decided to euthanize Angel in an effort to prevent any additional suffering, the New York Daily News reports.
In a statement, the agency expressed “deepest sympathies” to the family. “It is our goal to avoid euthanasia unless we deem it absolutely necessary,” the statement read.
Family members say, while Angel suffered from arthritis, she was able to get around just fine — and was probably frozen with fear in the shelter. Jane’s daughter, Carole Miller, a collie breeder, gave her mother the dog when Angel was just over a year old. The dog was her constant companion, she said.
AC&C, which operates city shelters under a contract with the Health Department, is required to hold lost and stray animals for at least 72 hours before putting them up for adoption or euthanizing them. Exceptions are made if an animal is critically injured or gravely ill.
Outraged animal rescue groups said such mistakes are not unusual at AC&C and charged the nonprofit organization is plagued by mismanagement. In January, the Daily News reported that one rescue group sued the city because it was breaking its own law by not providing animal shelters in all five boroughs. The suit charged that facilities are overcrowded and disease-ridden and that animals are being euthanized in “unconscionable numbers” because there is no space.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 15th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
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