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New York City doesn't advertise a civil service title of "executioner,” but its Animal Care Centers, which are under the eyes-closed watch of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, are in the business of animal slaughter on an industrial scale. Euphemisms like "care" and "euthanasia" and "put to sleep" mitigate neither the reality nor the consciences of decent people.
Liquidating many thousands of dogs and cats every year cannot be justified by a shortage of space or funding.
The ACCs are death machines. Most New Yorkers are either ignorant or blasé about the routinized slaughter that overshadows the ACC's legitimate work of spaying, neutering and facilitating adoptions. New York's Broadway shows, museums, iconic structures and sites, parades, festivals and tourist magnets amount to an elaborate facade of culture.
The culture of killing invalidates all other culture.
They used to be called animal care and control centers. The word "control" has become politically incorrect, even when applied to restraint of subway slashers or violent students. Perhaps to sound more contemporary, the city should dispatch its spirit animals through "restorative justice" chimneys.
A few years ago, former New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer concluded "AC & C is running an operation that could make your stomach churn.” He was referring to the long-expired use of controlled substances, improperly stored vaccines, poor ventilation, overcrowding, peeling paint, defective fire alarms, botched financial record-keeping and a generalized malfunction, dysfunction and non-function.
This being all incidental to the core mission of obliterating innocent creatures.
It is urgent and essential that a law be enacted that unconditionally forbids the execution of homeless or abandoned animals unless they are gravely ill and beyond all chance of recovery. The city can requisition land outside the metropolitan area to provide reasonable space for the animals to enjoy at least minimal freedom. Where there is a will, a way can be found to meet a compelling humanitarian need.
It would be better for our city to live on borrowed money than for the animals to live on borrowed time.
Per-capita expenditure for the ACCs must be exponentially increased and scrupulously monitored. The MTA estimates that hundreds of millions of dollars are lost annually to fare-jumpers. I have witnessed absolutely no law enforcement action to stop this. The city is spending far more money than is merited to indulge the migrants. A miniscule diversion from these extravagances would allow for the salvation of every single dog and cat (and others).
Anybody who has been a partner in telepathy with a dog or cat knows that these creatures have a divine purpose and individual spirit that is bound in nature's memory together with that of human souls.
New York City's animal shelters have not fundamentally changed, despite their optics-driven, declared primary mission of rescue and adoption. Their slaughter protocol is intact. Their apparatus of bogus mercy killing may have been fine-tuned and perhaps they keep better track of the expiration date of the lethal drugs.
But the cages on death row have a rapid vacancy rate.
The Mayor's Office of Animal Welfare, according to Chapter 23 of the New York City Charter, interfaces with multiple city agencies in regulation and other matters of animal welfare, including the Animal Care Centers. They tout their landmark banning of the sale of guinea pigs in pet shops and trailblazing plant-powered Fridays and meatless Mondays in the city's public schools.
The Office answers to Mayor Adams. But he isn't asking any questions. And a committee of the New York City Council has authority over the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It too is remiss and delinquent.
My late "Tripper" carried out his ordination as a mackerel tabby perfectly. He made the most of his assigned role. His life was less in vain than many of the folks with whom I've had transactions over the years. He gave me more insight than did a string of therapists and spiritual advisors and delivered solace beyond almost every person in my life.
This cat was the unrealizable ideal of human companionship. In some form and dimension, he is being rewarded. As long as I have cognition, he is immortal. That is not perpetual, but it's the best I can offer.
It's easier for composers to modulate from one musical key to another than it is for a columnist to segue from one topic to another. Unless there is some thematic tissue that connects them.
This is it: reverence for all life; respect to all workers.
"We lack decency.” That should be the slogan of the Sioni Group. This booming property management company has deep pockets for the acquisition of high-rises, but empty pockets for the cleaners at one of their buildings, whom they fired within hours after taking title. They sacked these exemplary, productive and unproblematic employees for only one reason: because they could get away with it.
An SEIU 32BJ executive vice president, Denis Johnston, of whom the workers are members, summed up the arbitrary action: "They kicked the workers to the curb like garbage.” Thanks to their union, the workers have at least a grace period for the continuation of salary payments.
But their employer crowed: "Your group health insurance and other benefits, all of which have been canceled in connection with your termination of your employment, will cease..."
Template corporate poetry!
These employees are not eligible for an extension of health benefits, because their building has less than 100,000 feet and are not entitled to the 90-day transition period otherwise required by the Displaced Building Service Workers Protection Act. This outrage is a practicum in why labor militancy is imperative. The only argument is how selective that militancy must be and what should be its criteria.
I don't know whether Sioni 's abomination could be corrected or alleviated by the City Council. I suspect they could have some influence behind the scenes or apply pressure, even if it is not through statute.
But even the usually labor-friendly Council has a bit of a kerfuffle at the moment. In less than two weeks they will return to collective bargaining with staffers over such issues as salary, job security and telework policy. Daniel Kroop, president of the Association of Legislative Employees, alleges that many workers toil around 600 hours overtime without compensation.
On principle, the City Council is generally pro-labor, and they are practical politicians. Will they maintain a hardline?
In a few weeks, all 51 City Council seats are up for grabs. They are ambitious, self-satisfied and often conscientious public servants. They don't want the wrath of their constituents raining on them.
Like cats and dogs.
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