I want more information on adopting a specific animal I believe to be on AC&C's At Risk List.
Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C) is the only New York City organization that takes in every animal that comes through its door regardless of his or her health or behavior. We do not refuse any animal. We care for more than 30,000 animals a year. AC&C works hard to increase our save rate every day (See Animal People News Annual Shelter Stats, June/July '11 and Maddie's Fund Report). Over the last eight years, placements have increased by 26% and euthanasia has decreased by 66% (See our Statistics.) Our goal is to improve these numbers each year. Despite our efforts however, there are still animals that end up at risk of euthanasia due to medical and/or behavior conditions.
AC&C is committed to finding homes for homeless animals in our care (AC&C's Placement Decisions ). We promote animals available for adoption at our Care Centers, on our website Adoption Search, at offsite adoption events, through media and promotional opportunities and more. We work hard to return homeless animals to their original owners by placing pictures and descriptions of every animal that comes into our care for those who lost them to see, and through a lost and found search program through volunteers and the internet (View our Lost & Found section). We also work towards preventing animals from coming into our care in the first place through education and resources.
In 2011, more than 20,000 animals were placed through direct adoptions at our Care Centers, off-site adoption events or our New Hope partnerships. The New Hope program is AC&C's proactive community initiative aimed partnering to finding homes for New York City's unwanted pet population. To accomplish this, AC&C establishes and cultivates mutually beneficial and productive relationships with cat, dog, rabbit and exotic animal placement organizations that assist and partner with AC&C in placing animals, many of which may require specialized medical care or behavior training. We encourage all 501(c)3 groups to become partners. AC&C sends multiple daily email communications to partners with information on animals in need of placement. AC&C's New Hope program is staffed seven days per week to continuously place animals and support our partners. Transportation to partners is provided both directly by AC&C staff and through our partnership with the Mayor's Alliance for New York City Animals.
The At Risk List
Each day between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. AC&C posts a listing of animals at risk for being euthanized the following morning. The list is called the At Risk List, as opposed to the euthanasia list, because it reflects animals that are at risk of being euthanized only if placement is not found. This listing is available to our New Hope partners and members of the public to view and, if interested, begin the process of adopting. Animals on this list have been in our system and available for placement for varying lengths of time, and we have gone through our placement process to try to find alternative placement prior to getting on this list. The list is generated to share those that are at risk of euthanasia in the hopes that we can find a last minute placement option. Many of the animals are placed with our New Hope partners. Staff conducts a thorough check of the At Risk List every night.
In general, the animals are on the list for one or more of the following reasons:
- Ill with a contagious disease, and/or;
- Affected by a medical condition that our Care Centers are unable to manage or cure, and/or;
- Have a behavior challenge that will require training or behavior modification before the animal can be placed into a permanent home.
How is the List Created?
The list is created by shelter management through daily rounds of the building. Each day, a staff team composed of members from management, medical and New Hope conducts a complete walk through for each Care Center, evaluating each animal for placement. The purpose of this process is to ensure that all animals have a plan towards their placement throughout their stay with us, and to place animals out as quickly as possible. The following are possible outcomes for animals handled by AC&C: return to owner; available for adoption; foster care; transferred to a New Hope partner; euthanized. If all options are explored and resources do not exist, an animal may be placed on the At Risk list. Animals placed on the list fall into one of the three categories listed above (contagious disease, medical condition or behavior), and do not currently have placement interest.
Why can't you keep sick animals longer? / Contagious Disease Control in a Shelter Environment
AC&C strives to keep the animals in its care as happy and healthy as possible during their stay at the shelter. As soon as they arrive, animals are vaccinated against common diseases of concern in the shelter environment and are given a screening medical exam to identify additional health concerns that require further attention and/or treatment. Veterinarians, licensed veterinary technicians, and veterinary assistants on staff work together to provide medical care and treatment for animals in need. Despite these precautions, infectious (contagious) diseases remain a challenge to keeping the animals healthy.
AC&C is not alone in facing this challenge. Shelters possess many risk factors that put animals housed there at greater risk of exposure and infection that are typically encountered in a home or other environments. New animals are arriving daily and are never turned away - many who have never been vaccinated or had preventive medical care before, some who are already ill, some who are about to become ill but appear outwardly health at the time of arrival, and all who are stressed by the upheaval in their lives and changes in the environment. In addition, the shelters receive literally thousands of younger animals (who are inherently at greater risk of infection) during warmer spring and summer months; these babies are at inherently greater risk of infection themselves and the greater number of animals in the facilities increases the likelihood that animals will be exposed to an infectious disease.
AC&C makes every effort to provide treatment for animals affected by illness or injury, but doing so in the shelter is not always possible. Some cases require a level of hospitalization and nursing care that is not possible, and other cases are so highly infectious that it is not safe for other animals for them to be treated in the shelter. Strict isolation away from other animals is critical to limit the spread of infection and to protect the health of the rest of the population, but this is not always possible in the shelter. Diseases that persist in the environment for long periods of time (like parvovirus and panleukopenia) are of particular concern as well as those diseases that are spread through airborne transmission - particularly "kennel cough" in dogs - because it is much more difficult to control the spread to uninfected dogs. As a result, we are generally unable to provide treatment for these animals in our facilities. Treatment of an individual animal can't be given more importance over protecting the health of other animals that we must care for. For this reason, we look at the individual animal as well as the health and welfare of the population as a whole when making a decision about whether or not treatment can be provided for a certain disease or illness.
How is Behavior Determined and Defined at Animal Care & Control?
At AC&C, an animal's behavior is determined by looking at all information available. This includes observations made by staff and volunteers throughout the animal's time at the Care Center, information provided by an owner (if available) and assessments conducted by behavior staff. Cat assessments are completed by staff members trained in cat behavior. Dogs are assessed using SAFER, a nationally recognized scientifically-based aggression assessment used to help predict possible future aggression in the home. We recognize that an animal's behavior might be different in a shelter environment from its behavior in the public. For more information on SAFER, please click here.
At the conclusion of an assessment, AC&C compiles all of the information available and an animal is categorized into one of the following behavior designations that describes the best placement option for the animal based on available information regarding the animal's behavior. The behavior designations are: Beginner Home, Average Home, Experienced Home, Experienced Home/No Children, New Hope Only, and No Placement. Click here to view Animal Care & Control's complete Behavior Designation policy. Due to limited resources, AC&C is unable to significantly modify animal behavior in our Center Centers. Therefore animals needing significant training to address aggression issues are designated at New Hope Only.
Euthanasia at the Care Centers
The euthanasia rate is at an all-time low and continues to decrease each year. Many animals are placed, but the ones who are not - usually due to illness and behavior - may be humanely euthanized. Many treatable animals have been treated and placed, or placed needing treatment. (See the Asilomar Definitions.) We are continuing to work toward the goal of eliminating the euthanasia of treatable animals and placing them in loving homes.
How Long Before Animals are Put to Sleep (Euthanized)?
There is no pre-specified time period we keep animals prior to euthanasia, as the decision is made for each individual animal based on their health and behavior as well as the resources of the Care Center at the given time. We are an open admissions shelter, meaning we do not close our doors to newly arriving animals when we are full. If someone brings an animal to our shelter, we are required by law and contract to take it in. If an animal comes into our care as a stray, it will be held for the legal holding period of 72 hours to give us the time to try to find its original owner. Throughout those 72 hours, we are working on placement plans and options. If no one claims him or her after 72 hours, we will complete the evaluation and plan. If an animal comes in as an owner-surrender, it can be evaluated quickly. If an animal comes in with a form of identification or is on hold for a legal reason, it can be held longer. If an animal is placed up for adoption, there is no set time that animal will be in the Care Center. It is determined by the health and/or behavior of the animal. In the rare instance that a licensed veterinarian deems an animal to be suffering, the animal may be euthanized prior to the 72-hour holding time as permitted by law.
Recently, a growing number of web sites and Facebook pages not affiliated with or monitored by AC&C are referencing our At Risk list as wel as animals in our Care Centers without full or correct explanation of AC&C's processes, programs or New Hope program. Unfortunately, this has caused proliferation of inaccurate information and confusion about whether or not an animal is at risk. Consequently, members of the public may believe that animals are going to be euthanized when, in fact, they are being saved as described above. They also may not have accurate information about whether an animal is available for adoption or not and cannot confirm the facts with AC&C because these sites have provided them with incorrect contact information.
Members of the public also communicate their interest in potentially adopting an at risk animal, but do not follow through. We refer to these as Fake Pulls because we pull the animal from the At Risk list erroneously. These miscommunications clog the system and take our limited staff resources away from valid adoption queries. Many animals on the At Risk list that are not placed with New Hope partners can be saved if there are legitimate adopters for them. Others need to be released to New Hope partners only, since our partners are the only ones who can provide the resources to address medical and/or behavioral condition prior to adoption to a permanent home.
Please remember that you can see pictures of animals and adopt an animal that is not on our at-risk at any time, thereby preventing them for getting on the list in the first place (view our Adoptions). Also, as a reminder, animals that are on the At Risk List are generally there because of a health or behavior concern, and if you adopt you will be required to take responsibility for the animal's treatment and behavior. You will also be liable and responsible for the animal's actions once they leave our Care Center. Please note that AC&C reserves the right to deny any adoption.
Instructions for Using the At Risk List Website
Animals that have been placed on the At Risk List will be available for viewing and potential adoption each day from between 5:00 and 5:30 pm to 6:00 am the following morning. These animals are also available to our New Hope partners for placement. You may indicate your interest in adopting up to two animals. An individual can adopt a maximum of two animals from AC&C per year.
Adopting an animal is a major commitment. Here are ten questions we recommend you consider.
Please note that this section is for direct adoption to individuals. If you are representing a group, please visit our New Hope section to see information on how to become an AC&C New Hope partner. If you are already a New Hope partner, please contact New Hope to discuss access to our New Hope Partners page.
There are several steps involved in using this site. When you click on the link to enter the site, you will be taken through the following:
- Sign-In: You will be asked to provide your name, address, phone number and email address. We do not share this information with outside parties.
- View Animals: You will then be able to view cats and dogs on the current day's At Risk List that are available for public adoption. Each animal profile will include a photo and the following information:
Submit Adoption Interest: If you decide you would like to start the process of adopting one of the animals you see on the At Risk List, click on the button at the top of that animal's profile, You can click here to reserve me.
Complete Deposit: Once you have indicated your interest and are ready to leave the At Risk List page, click Continue to checkout for the animal(s) you selected at the top of your screen.
- The animal's Care Center location, name. animal ID #, sex, breed, and estimated age.
- Reason for animal entering our Care Center. Animals are brought in as strays, owner surrenders, legal holds, or through rescues by our field officers.
- Most Recent Information on Medical, Behavior and Weight. This is an overall summary of these categories.
- The following are additional categories that may appear on an animal's profile:
- Medical: Listed as Initial Physical Exam, Cage Exam and/or Re-Exam and provided by AC&C staff. Get more information on AC&C medical designations and acronyms .
- Behavior Information: Provided by AC&C staff.
- Pet Profile: Provided by person who brought animal to Care Center.
- Web Memo: Volunteer-written bios on animals.
Please Note: There is a mandatory and non-refundable $50 deposit fee plus $2 transaction fee per animal to submit your adoption questionnaire. You will be required to submit payment with your credit card via PayPal. This deposit will be applied to the total adoption fee if you are approved. If you do not follow through with the adoption or you are not approved, the $50 will be considered a charitable donation to AC&C's S.T.A.R. (Special Treatment and Recovery) Fund. Also, if the adoption fee for an animal is less than $50, the difference will be considered a charitable donation for the same.
Once your deposit has been confirmed, you will receive an e-mail receipt, which will include a link for an online adoption questionnaire. On the upper-right corner of this receipt, you will find a Receipt Number. This receipt number must be entered into the questionnaire in the appropriate field and the questionnaire must be completed in order for your inquiry to proceed. If we do not receive the completed application, we cannot proceed with the adoption, and the $50 deposit will be applied as a donation as described above.
Come to the Care Center: Following submission of your adoption questionnaire, you must come to the Care Center where the animal is located and meet the animal you are interested in adopting. You will also meet with AC&C staff who will review your application with you. You must come to the Care Center within 48 hours of the that animal being posted on the At Risk List. If the animal's condition requires that it must leave in less than 48 hours we will inform you of this via e-mail or phone. If you do not come to the Care Center, the animal could be placed back on the At Risk List or humanely euthanized. The person who comes to the Care Center must be the same person who completed the application.
To adopt an animal, you must have valid photo ID, be 18 years of age or older, bring proof of current address, and agree to AC&C's adoption requirements. AC&C reserves the right to deny adoptions if we deem it appropriate.
Please click the below link to log-in with your information and view the At Risk animals. Remember, this site is available each day from between 5:00 and 6:00 pm to 6:00 am the following day.
Each day between 7:00 am and 4:30 pm, all animals placed from the previous night's At Risk list will remain online.