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article imageComputer glitch at NYC shelter caused cats to be euthanized

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jul 17, 2012 in Environment
New York - Activists allege that at least a dozen cats, including Noble, Max, Rhoda and Tooperina have been euthanized by New York City's Animal Care and Control because of a glitch in the center's new Animal Care and Control database.
The New York Post reports that Animal Care and Control (ACC) has exterminated at least a dozen felines after they had been adopted online and the families that adopted them were coming to claim their pets.
According to NBC New York, the Animal Care & Control of NYC introduced a new public database last month, but it appears that a malfunction in the shelter's new online system is leading to the euthanization of cats that have been requested for adoption.
The New York Post post reports that each night, at about 5 p.m., the agency posts a list of animals scheduled for extermination the next day and allows rescuers until 6 a.m. to adopt them.
A member of a rescue group claims she reserved Max, a 2-year-old black and white cat, who had been adopted by a family in Connecticut. The rescue worker says the shelter's website told her she would soon receive an email confirmation but she never got one. She emailed an inquiry to the shelter. She said: “When you call them, they don’t pick up, and they don’t e-mail you back. You’re sitting in the darkness, never knowing what’s going on there.”
The next day, the rescue worker learned that her request was never received and that Max had been euthanized. Elizabeth McMahon, 48, of Brooklyn says she also lost Tooperina, a 12-year-old tabby in similar circumstances. Her rescue group received a confirmation on screen but none via email. McMahon says her group requested four other cats but they have received no feedback from the shelter after they posted their request. She complains: "It’s not a system, it’s a state of chaos with no one taking responsibility."
According to The New York Post, P.J. McKosky, head of the Empty Cages Collective in Brooklyn, said: "They’re using the animals as guinea pigs. They’re working out the kinks without a safety net, and that’s resulted in deaths.”
Director of ACC, Julie Bank, claims the unfortunate incidents were the result of "user error." She explained: “There’s been three regular [rescue groups] who seem to constantly have problems with the site." She accuses the groups of refusing to “move into the future in technology.” She said: "Every time we are noticing problems, it is user error. They forgot to press the submit button. They walked away, and the computer timed out.”
NBC New York reports they received a statment from ACC that said the objective of the new online system was to decrease euthanasia and increase placement of at-risk animals. The statement said: "Over 75 partner organizations are using the site successfully, saving lives every night. Dedicated AC&C staff members have been communicating with placement partners on a daily basis, working with them to ensure the system works."
But a former employee of the shelter insists there are glitches in the new system the shelter has adopted. She claims that when she drew attention to the fact her supervisors told her to "keep quiet about them." According to the former employee, some animals simply never showed up on the list and were killed without being offered for adoption. Sometimes the web site's pages would freeze and sometimes pets that were already euthanized would appear on the database for adoption.
The former employee turned whistleblower claims she resigned because she could not put up with the agency's negligence. She claims that at least a dozen animals have died because of the negligence. She says: “There are lives counting on this to work properly. I had expected better for New York City’s animals.”
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