Our four-legged friends at city animal care centers suffer from respiratory disease, consume expired food and live in dirty kennels, according to a new audit by Comptroller Scott Stringer.
“Until we find them forever homes, we have an obligation to provide safe conditions, adequate food and medical treatment to the thousands of animals in the city’s care,” Stringer told The Post.
There are over 20,000 abandoned pets and strays housed in city-contracted shelters — over half have breathing problems, some were given food and treats past their “best by” date, and others lived in kennels with peeling paint and dirty water, according to the audit released Wednesday.
Nearly 60 percent of 30 animals inspected during surprise visits last year had respiratory illnesses from stress, crowding and air quality, the report found.
During the unannounced inspections of about 800 animals at all three borough locations, 15 didn’t have clean water, 48 were in dirty kennels, and 63 food items were expired.
“It appeared that shelter operations staff were not consistently adhering to the organization’s unwritten policy to check expiration dates of food and treats every two weeks while ordering supplies,” according to the audit.
Auditors also found expired medication bottles.
Many of the shelter rooms had high humidity levels, conditions that put animals’ health at risk by spreading bacteria, viruses and fungi. There was also peeling paint, cracks and ceiling repairs needed at about 40 percent of the spaces inspected, the report found.
Stringer recommended 21 steps the centers should take to improve care including by installing functional humidity monitors, adding a timeframe for repairs, and formalizing policies to discard of old food and medication.
The city pays the controversial nonprofit Animal Care Centers $20 million a year to operate three shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island and two receiving centers in Queens and The Bronx. They house dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, rats, reptiles and other creatures.
“ACC takes tremendous pride in the work we do to serve the people and pets of New York City. From helping keep families together with their pets throughout the pandemic, to expanding our community of animal welfare advocates, we remain steadfast in our mission to end animal homelessness in NYC,” agency spokeswoman Katy Hansen said.
A spokesman for the city’s Health Department, which oversees the animal shelters, responded to the audit by boasting about the 90 percent placement rate for animals in their care.
“ACC is a national model in animal welfare, taking in more than 30,000 animals each year, and we’ll continue to do everything we can to ensure animals in our city find a loving home,” the rep said.