- Associated Press - Sunday, April 19, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - City Comptroller Scott Stringer reported Sunday that New York’s overcrowded animal shelters kill some sick dogs and cats, and refrigerate carcasses near medicines administered to living animals.

Animal remains also have been spotted next to shelter employee lunches, he said.

“How we treat our most vulnerable creatures is a reflection of our decency as a society,” Stringer said as he released findings of an audit of city-funded shelters at a Manhattan news conference.

He said Animal Care & Control, the non-for-profit organization that rescues homeless or abandoned animals, “has failed.”

“We found vaccines and animal remains stored in the same fridge,” he said, adding that “incredibly, we found 499 occasions of expired drugs being given to animals.”

“I haven’t seen anything like it,” Stringer added.

At a Brooklyn facility, a ventilation system linking healthy animals with sick ones increases risks of illness spreading - especially a condition known as “kennel cough.”

Animal Care & Control issued a statement Sunday saying that the organization has cooperated with the comptroller’s office throughout the audit - conducted between December 2013 and March 2014.

“We will continue to strengthen our policies and procedures to ensure optimum performance and the best possible care for our animals,” said Animal Care & Control, which posts an online “kill list” each day.

The organization spends over $100 million taking in more than 30,000 animals each year at shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island, plus drop-off centers in the Bronx and Queens. In 2014, more than 21,000 animals were placed with adopters or partner organizations and more than 1,600 returned to owners.

The comptroller was joined Sunday by animal advocates and New Yorkers with foster pets they had rescued from shelters and are now awaiting adoption.

“The animals come out in horrendous condition,” said Rhonda Glass, a 75-year-old Manhattan resident holding a Shih Tzu named Milo wearing a coat marked “Adopt Me.” Glass is a member of Woof NYC Dog Rescue, which pays for any medical treatment. She and others spend their own money getting treatment for the animals.

Glass also is temporarily keeping a mutt named Moses, while seeking a permanent home for him.

“We got him the first day of Passover,” she said. “So we called him Moses.”

Stringer said he’ll propose a plan under which people could make personal contributions to city animal shelters.

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