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Shelter dogs being euthanized despite having owners lined up
By Kate Briquelet
The city's shelter system is killing pets that had homes waiting, animal lovers charge.
Desiree Kolb drove from upstate last month to pick up Remy -- a 6-year-old brown-and-white pit bull on death row at Animal Care and Control's Manhattan shelter.
She reserved the dog through ACC's online system, paid a $52 fee with a credit card and printed out her receipt. But when she showed up the next day, staff said Remy was already gone.
"I'm angry," Kolb fumed. "Not because I drove three hours to get this dog, but because I had a receipt in my hand . . . and she was dead anyway."
Workers allegedly told Kolb, "There was a problem with the paperwork" but wouldn't provide more information.
Remy was a playful, child-friendly pooch dumped at ACC on Feb. 8 after her previous owner said his new residence wouldn't allow dogs, records show.
A spokeswoman for ACC declined to comment. Advocates told The Post that ACC is putting down good animals because of frequent computer glitches -- and because "fake" reservations are swamping the online system.
Every night at 6 p.m., the shelter posts a list of "at risk" animals to be euthanized. Rescue groups and members of the public have until noon the following day to reserve them. But the "at risk" list was offline at least one night last week and several times in February due to technical difficulties. And the crashes have tragic consequences.
Lady, a 6-year-old pit bull mix, was reserved by a Brooklyn rescue group on the morning of Feb. 21. But the 48-hour "hold" was never recorded in the computer system and the pooch was euthanized hours later, the rescue group said.
Another rescuer, who asked to remain anonymous, said she calls and sends e-mails to ACC staff after placing holds because she doesn't trust the system.
"Frustrating things happen," she said. "I've pulled two cats and gotten two different ones. I've pulled animals [that were advertised as] 3 years old and were actually 13 years old. "They always say this is because of computer problems," she added.
The shelter says it is facing a flood of "fake" holds -- when someone places a credit-card deposit on a certain pet, hoping to buy it more time, but having no intention of picking it up.
Sometimes fake adopters use false names and contact information, an ACC spokeswoman said.
When the "fake" adopter fails to the show up within the 48-hour hold period, the animal is euthanized. During that time, a real adopter could have stepped in. But the online system doesn't allow for a backup rescue after the deadline.
ACC euthanized 5,471 dogs and cats in 2014, up 12.9 percent from 4,844 in 2013, data shows.