Our Town, October 26, 1995
EAST SIDE BRIEFS
Dogged Animal Shelter Accidentally Kills Again
The Center for Animal Care and Control (CACC) is in the doghouse again after an animal rescuer's dog was euthanized before she could claim it.
Chitra Besbroda said that the CACC euthanized a pit bull she was planning to pick up later at the agency's Manhattan shelter, even after she had filled out adoption papers for the dog.
The death of Besbroda's dog brings to five the known toll of animals mistakenly killed by the CACC before their owners could claim them.
Besbroda said that she brought a stray pit bull that she named Timber to the CACC's East 110th Street shelter last Sunday after the stray tried to follow her home. She told staff that she wanted to adopt the animal and filled out the necessary paperwork at that time.
But on Tuesday, after calling the CACC and then showing up at 5 p.m., Besbroda learned the dog had been euthanized.
"My immediate impulse was to run in front of a moving bus or train and kill myself," she said.
Anne Earle, a policy advisor at the CACC, said that an agency staffmember failed to properly mark a tag that would have prevented the mistake. But she said that the CACC continues to make improvements at its shelters and should not be judged on the basis of one incident.
"It was a human error," she said. "We're dealing with about 6,000 animals all through Manhattan and occasionally-tragically-a mistake is made."
Yet the latest death has only sharpened some animal activists' pleas for an oversight committee and investigation into the agency.
"This is the taxpayers' money, your money and mine," said Besbroda. "They can't run it like Grandma's candy kitchen. They have to be accountable."
-- Alix McNamara