16 July 2012

Computer glitch blamed for deaths of rescued cats

Dozens of rescued cats have reportedly been mistakenly killed due to a computer glitch at the New York City Animal Care & Control center.  It's claimed that their "so-called death-row database," is neglecting to inform the center when requests for adoptions come in for these cats.

The database posts a list at 5 pm of cats that are scheduled for euthanasia for the following day.  The public then has the opportunity, until 6 am, to go online and reserve one of the death-row cats for adoption.   But glitches within the new system are failing to notify the center that certain cats have been requested for adoption and thus, they are mistakenly being put to death.

One such cat reportedly put down in error was Max, a two year old black and white cat, who had a home waiting for him in Connecticut.  "When you call them, they don't pick up, and they don't email you back.  You're sitting in the darkness, never knowing what's going on there" said the rescue group member, now heartbroken over the fact that Max is gone.  When she was finally able to get through to them, they claimed they never got her request for Max and that he had already been put to death.

A 12 year old cat named Tooperina met the same fate.  Elizabeth McMahon, her would-be adopter, also dealt with the same programming issue and never received confirmation of her adoption request.  Ms. McMahon has said that in addition to Tooperina, the rescue group she works with requested four other cats the same night but never got a response.  It's unclear if those four cats were also put to death, or if someone else stepped in and rescued them.

Another cat, Missy, wasn't even listed as a rescue until after she was already put to death.  She never had a chance to be saved.  Other times, animals who have already been put to death appear on the list.

Julie Bank, Director at New York City Animal Care & Control blamed user error for the problems.  "They forgot to press the submit button.  They walked away and the computer timed out" she said.

However, the accusations against the New York City Animal Care & Control are reportedly confirmed by a former employee. She claims that supervisors told staff members not to say a word about the known computer glitches.   She said she left the agency because she could not stand to be part of such negligence.

With a reported $8 million per year in tax payer money going to this organization and having taken a year to develop this new system, these types of errors are outrageously unacceptable.  Clearly something is not right here and the "kinks" in this system are being worked out at the expense of precious lives.   

Christine Marie | Blog | Facebook
Upstate, NY Christine is passionate about animal rescue and healthy eating. Making the change to an all-natural, plant-based diet dramatically improved her health and she enjoys sharing what she has learned. In her free time she loves to cook/bake, take her dog for long walks and spoil her cats.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/jmarty