This is the story of the neglect and death of a dog in the overcrowded New York shelter system. Her story is heartbreaking, because it didn’t have to end this way.
Sweet, loving, gentle Goose is dead but she wasn’t killed by the needle, not really. No, her death was much longer and more agonizing than that and it started the minute she walked through the Manhattan Center door.
Goose arrived underweight and neglected and two weeks later she died underweight and neglected, ACC (and the DOH) having failed her at every turn. They failed to give her an extra meal a day, even though each medical checkup (and believe it or not, there were plenty of these) noted that she was underweight.
They failed to keep her safe by housing her above a dog everyone knew was dangerously cage aggressive and who should never have been crammed into a stacked kennel to start with and then they failed her by not being careful enough to make sure Goose’s precious little feet were out of the other dog’s reach. She was alone, scared and to make matters worse-bitten.
Goose was then placed on a 10 day hold by the Department of Health, who then failed to release her hold on time. This left Goose sitting in the sick ward getting more ill by the day. Ten days out from the bite incident Goose was sick but still eating and had she been released for rescue ‘on time’ she would have had a chance at survival.
Finally her hold was released and allegedly not one plea was sent to rescues, no alarm bells rang and no one rushed to Goose’s aid. Now officially diagnosed with pneumonia you would think ACC might send poor Goose to a real hospital for the treatment she so desperately needed. Nope, failed again. Goose spent her last night too sick to even swallow the food she loved, noisily struggling to breathe and not even comfortable enough to lie down.
This may sound like an isolated incident, yet these cases occur every day in the United States shelter system. Whether it’s from the sheer number of pets taken in, or the shortage of volunteers to help care for these animals, or the lack of caring by shelter directors.
Could Goose have recovered, had she had prompt treatment and an extra meal a day? We’ll never know. What most of us do know is that had an individual dog owner allowed a dog to suffer as Goose must have suffered, that person would be charged with animal cruelty and neglect.
Animals shelters are above the law in most cases. More are being brought down as bad shelters are exposed, but there are many, many more out there who fail to treat a treatable condition until it’s far too late.
Goose was a wonderful dog who deserved so much better than for her days to end this way and what happened to her was senseless, preventable and so so wrong. RIP Goose, you will not be forgotten.
For a slideshow of Goose, please click here.