Sandy, a one-year-old dog, is listed as a favorite among the staff at the Animal Care Center (ACC) in Manhattan on her online adoption profile.
Even so, Sandy and dozens of other adoptable pets had to be relocated to other facilities on Wednesday because of a COVID-19-related staffing shortage at the Manhattan ACC facility.
Sandy and about a half-dozen other animals were sent to the ACC’s location on Staten Island.
Two-year-old Coco was another dog transferred to Staten Island, as was a cat named Twizzler.
ACC’s CEO, Risa Weinstock, told NY1 that with the number of staff at their East Harlem facility currently out with coronavirus or under precautionary quarantine, they had to make a call.
After the decision was made, work began to get as many adoptable animals out to other locations.
“In order to provide the proper care and the welfare of all the animals, we knew we couldn’t sustain that with so few staff in the building and that’s what led to our decision to close to the public, except in emergencies,” said Weinstock.
It was a tough decision for Weinstock.
The Manhattan ACC stayed open, even at the height of the pandemic, as they adopted out animals in record numbers.
Paul Sanders, the manager at the Staten Island Care Center, said his staff is only a quarter of the size of the one at the Manhattan location, but they were ready to help.
Now, Sanders says, the public’s help is needed during these tough times.
“Being a foster really helps, but what we can really use is getting the word out there that our Manhattan facility is temporarily closed, so don’t come to the door,” said Sanders.
The ACC is also asking the public for donations of large crates.
They’re needed to transfer pets to their New Hope partners, many of them local organizations and rescues like the ASPCA and Best Friends Animal Society.
“Best Friends certainly helps us with individuals coming to the shelter to help work there, they help with our transport efforts,” Weinstock said.
“The ASPCA is proud to support ACC as the pandemic continues to impact New York City and the animal welfare community. With ACC currently unable to accommodate incoming animals at its Manhattan Care Center due to staffing challenges, the ASPCA is assisting by accepting ACC animals into our care and providing additional resources to alleviate pressure on their shelter operations,” said an ASPCA spokesperson.
In the meantime, NYCACC volunteers aren’t being barred from the Manhattan facility, but they aren’t required to come because of the situation.
Eleven-year-old Evan Bisnauth, a volunteer who normally comes to the shelter to read to adoptable animals, has already come up with a way he can help the animals from home.
“I basically go on the ACC app and I find their profiles and read about them and then I animate their pictures so I can help them get adopted,” said Bisnauth.
There’s no word on exactly how long the Manhattan Care Center will be close. It will depend on the health of the staff members and when they can return safely.