Friday, October 14, 2011

Eff The New York Post (and Bad Pittie Owners)

The New York Post today has a story with this headline -

Pit-bull horror on Upper E. Side

The article is about a guy who was murdered yesterday, found with bite marks of his roommate's pit bull, Bones.

The second paragraph says, "Authorities believe the dog, named Bones, may have mauled the victim’s body after he was killed, allegedly by suspect Shaun Dyer, a source said."

First of all, I love the sensationalistic "mauled" adjective to describe the bites.

Secondly, it seems the focus should be how this guy killed his roommate and set up his dog as the killer, no? (Which would be funny to me if I wasn't worried about the public perception of pitties) - The headline used makes it sound as if the pit bull killed him.

Let's look at a few other sentences, further down in the article....

The dog should have been off the street years ago,” railed neighbor Bruce Miller, 65, claiming that Bones bit him on June 17.

"I walked out my door and the dog attacked me. [The owner] was watching him chew on my arm, and he was laughing.”

Others, who asked not to be identified, said the owner abused his animal -- turning a once-tame pet into a snarling beast.

“I knew him when he was a good-natured and good dog,” said one man. “I took him for a walk once. The dog takes on the personality of the owner.

“If the dog is mistreated, he’s going to mistreat others.”

The man said he hoped Bones’ life would be spared -- and that the blame would not be laid at the pooch’s paws.

Postal worker Rafael Reveron, 42, said he didn’t think the animal would have been capable of such horrific violence.

“I’ve worked in the area for five years,” Reveron said. “I’ve seen the dog three to four times a week.

“The dog does not seem aggressive -- it doesn’t even bark.”

This appears to be a classic case of the wrong owner owning the wrong dog, and who's gonna pay for it?

The pit bull breeds.

Sorry guys, we are failing you.

Harris Bloom

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yeah, Right!

Kilo has really bad breath sometimes. I asked my vet about ti and he suggested some breath mint for dogs.

I responded, "Yeah, I can't get him to sit for two seconds, I'm gonna get him to suck on a mint?"

Harris Bloom

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The One Second Rule

Just like a lot of homes, we live by the five-second rule when food drops to the floor.

Unlike others, our five second rule means that if we don't pick it up within five seconds, one of the dogs will.

Who am I kiddin', it's more like a one second rule.

Harris Bloom

Monday, October 10, 2011

NYC's Animal Care and Control Manages To Lose Money Doing Fundraisers

Here's what I don't get...

The "Humane" Society of the U.S. (I put that in quotes because I think they're a horrible organization - start HERE if you wanna see why) did a benefit in NYC and raised a freakin' million dollars...

Just to show that's not out of the ordinary, the ASPCA also had an event here, and yes, they too raised over a freakin' million dollars!

(BTW - The ASPCA sucks too.)

So, you may wonder, how much does NYC's Animal Care and Control make off of their fundraisers?

It must be easy as pie to raise funds as the HSUS and ASPCA show - I mean, this is NYC, mecca of money, celebrity...not to mention people who are insane about their animals. And, I'm sure they were able to use the fact that they are the self-described "largest pet organization in the northeast" (per their website) to get the money flowing...

They must do a ton of them, right?

I mean, they complain about being underfunded (which they are), and what better way to make up for the lack of funds than pushing up your sleeves and going to work.

I believe Richard Gentles, making six figures, as the Director of Development (fancy!) is the person on their management team in charge of getting the money flowin'!

And, he shlould have plenty of help, in the form of their impressive roster that is their Board of Directors (After all, this is what BOD of a non-profits is supposed to do - Look at number 4 here)

Speaking of their BOD, they are lucky enough to have not one, but two Wall Street titans on there, Mssrs, John M.B. O'Connor (former partner at Morgan Stanley, now CEO of J.H. Whitney Investment Management) and Bruce Doniger (hedge fund trader). In addition, they have Patrick Nolan on the Board - He is the Director of Marketing at Penguin Books - Surely, he can share his marketing prowess to help, instead of just keeping a seat warm.

Given all of this, I am excited to see how money they have raised due to their collective fundraising efforts...

So, I took a look at their latest Form 990, which are a non-profit's financials, and guess how much they made in their last fiscal year from fundraisers?



Actually, it's even worse than that (believe it or not).

If one takes into account expenses associated with these fundraising "efforts," they raised a total of, are you ready...


That's right, they lost money.

I guess I have to retract my earlier comments - NYC's Animal Care and Control should immediately stop doing fundraisers!

Harris Bloom

Friday, October 7, 2011

Oh, Kilo

Yesterday (and today), I spent my day at work thinking about our dog, Kilo... not cause I missed him, but because thanks to give going after another dog on our morning walk, my right hand is swollen and in pain (not broken).

Thanks Kilo!

Harris Bloom

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NYC Comptroller (Sorta) Audits Animal Care and Control

So, here is the full report, and here it is in brief.

First of all, this isn't a true audit, it was merely a follow-up to an audit they did over five years ago (great that it took them five years to follow up to see if what they deemed important was implemented, huh?).

In other words, they weren't looking for anything new, or even to see if what the AC&C was doing satisfactorily previously was now in disarray; no, they just wanted to see if Farley/Bank et al fixed what the Comptrollers office thought was broken in 2006.

Naturally, they didn't...

How much is still broken is tough to say, say the auditors, because...are you ready?

The AC&C and DOH (Dept of Health) wouldn't  cooperate with the auditors' requests for information and the ability to speak to staff and volunteers (Hmmm... I wonder why)

The AC&C claims it was concerned that their volunteers' privacy would be compromised, even though, not only does the Comptroller's Office have the authority per the City Charter (The DOH isn't big on following the law, are they?) and is required by law to keep them confidential, so, in reality, the AC&C didn't really have to worry about that, and was just stonewalling.

Even funnier is that in the report it states that initially, the AC&C claimed it was "legally entitled" to withhold information. When challenged, AC&C couldn't provide the legal basis for its claims.

I'm picturing Thomas Farley swearing he read it somewhere, while leafing through his copy of the City Charter, knowing he didn't read it anywhere, while several auditors are surrounding him. I can't blame him for trying.

Okay, some points about what the Comptroller's office was able to look into and did find...and my thoughts on it....

1 - Underfunding "plagues" the agency - True, and that's why the DOH has no business being in the animal budiness. They've run it (into the ground) since 1994 with no sign whatsoever that funding will ever be adequate (even with Bill 0655, funding is less than half what is needed per HSUS, and that assumes all the backloaded funding makes its way to the AC&C in 2014 - yeah, right)

2 - Auditors found cleaning procedures to be implemented - Huh? I guess the NYC Comptroller's Dept doesn't know how to google, or they'd find this story, among many others. My guess is that either they announced when they were doing an inspection, OR somehow the AC&C was tipped off.

3 - Sick Animals are Sometimes Separated From Healthy Animals - The AC&C actually disagreed with this, claiming they are always separated - How can they disagree? Either the auditors found it to be true and showed them, or they didn't, in which case, they wouldn't have included it on the report.

4 - Dogs are now being exercised - Huh? Again, looking back at this article, check this section out (Gentiles is Richard Gentiles, Director of Development and Communication)...

We obtained dog-walking schedules that show dogs not getting out for as long as 3 days.
WALLACE: So wait. It's not unusual to have a dog not being walked for three days?INSIDER: Not unusual.
"We want all of the dogs to be walked every day," Gentles said, admitting that it does not happen. "It's not acceptable. That's why we want volunteers to come into the volunteer program."

Again, maybe if they insisted to be able to speak to volunteers and/or staff without threat of termination, the auditors would've reported back differently.

Heck, they didn't even have to worry about speaking to current employees. A quick google search woulda given them someone to speak to who would be more than happy to point them in the right direction. I'm guessing they didn't get a chance to speak to former employees/volunteers like Emily Tanen or Jeff Latzer about that.

5 - Missing animals aren't always being investigated - I'm only bringing this up due to this excerpt -

"Forty four percent of missing animals were cases where foster care adopters did not return the animal to the shelter. AC&C's policy does not discuss procedures for investigating or acting on missing animals not returned by foster caretakers."

Good Lord...

Later, in their response to this point, the AC&C said, "The AC&C ... will update its Foster Care program guidelines to include investigation of missing foster care animals."

I hope this is already implemented as it shouldn't take more than a week, especially with all the new volunteers they claim to have thanks to their "revamped" program.

6 - They had a problem in 2006 with the "Level of Adoption Efforts," recommending that adoption services should be provided at the Queens and The Bronx receiving centers - In this audit, this finding was considered "no longer applicable" because the leases in The Bronx and Queens don't allow for adoptions there.

This is exactly why the DOH shouldn't be running the AC&C (Well, the fact they have sucked at getting funding for their non-profit is really why, but this is a secondary reason)...

God forbid they try other means of getting animals adopted - They refuse to think outside the box  - What about offsite adoption events? Why don't they have long-term partnerships as other rescues do (Why did they let the Petsmart partnership dissolve?). Why not have special events at the shelter (like a pitbull awareness class led by a pro bono trainer) to get people accustomed to the walking in the building. AC&C has to know that there is an element of emotional trauma to walking in a "kill" shelter for most animal loving adopters. 

7 -

That was from 2006, when they had five licensed vets and 25 vet techs.

In 2011, they have two licensed vets and 13 vet techs, and yet, the AC&C argued that this finding was unwarranted, I assume because they now have 14 unlicensed vet staff members, whereas they didn't have any in 2006.

To summarize, they have about the same number of total vet employees - they are just far less qualified than five years ago, when the staff was deemed insufficient. Mmmmkaaaay!!!!

8 - The auditors recommended that the in-house computer system (Chameleon) be changed so that it can distinguish between animals missing and/or lost in the agency's care or in the care of outside sources.

The AC&C's response? We agree that it's needed, but, hey, its not our system, we just lease it - If they wanna upgrade it, it's up to the lessor.

I dunno about you, but judging by their responses, I get the feeling Farley, Bank, et al really aren't into this whole animal saving thing.

I think you guys get the gist -

To summarize, this audit wasn't a real audit, merely a follow-up to an audit done five years ago, and yet, of the 13 recommendations made at that time, only seven were fully implemented (and I'm not sure that I agree that they were - the cages are clean?!? the volunteer program is robust?!?)

Thing is, does it really matter? Any and all deficiencies will continue to get swept under the rug as long as the DOH is in control of the AC&C.

Harris Bloom

btw - If you wanna read more about this joke of an audit, click here.