NYC Animal Shelters Are Unsafe, Poorly Operated: Comptroller

Operators of New York's animal shelters are administering expired drugs to dogs and cats, failing to maintain safe conditions and neglecting their financial records, according to an audit conducted by the city comptroller's office.

"Animal care and control is running an operation that could make your stomach turn," Comptroller Scott Stringer said Sunday in a news release. "We found expired drugs, harmful conditions and vaccines stored next to frozen remains."

Auditors examined conditions at animal shelters from March to November of last year. A records review revealed 499 occasions in which expired drugs were given to animals and that 92 bottles of expired drugs -- some as old as 13 years -- had not been removed from shelves, the auditors reported.

Animal Care & Control, a non-profit corporation, has a five-year, $51.9 million contract with the city to operate animal shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island. It also operates animal receiving centers in the Bronx and Queens.

AC&C officials responded that they have already implemented several improvements recommended by the auditors "and will continue to strengthen our policies and procedures to ensure optimum performance and the best possible care for our animals."

The AC&C took in nearly 29,000 cats and dogs last year and placed more than 21,000 with pet owners or partner organizations, officials said. More than 1,600 lost pets brought to the shelters were returned to their owners.

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