Woman Says Shelter Fired Her for Photographing Dogs on Death Row

  • Share
  • Read Later
Richard Perry / New York Times / Redux

Pictures are worth a thousand words. That’s what Emily Tanen thought when she decided to take heartwarming photos of adoptable dogs at Animal Care and Control of New York City, where she worked as a liaison between the organization and the rescue groups that take in the animals.

But those pictures — many of which showed pit bulls happily interacting with volunteers – ended up getting Tanen fired.

According to the New York Times City Room blog, the photos were supposed to help attract adopters, as well as draw interest from rescue groups — and they were succeeding. Tanen said that her photos persuaded groups to take animals they might not have originally.

(PHOTOS: The Animals Are Outside Today)

However, what Tanen saw as an effort to get more dogs adopted, ACCNY saw as a violation of their policy, which dictates how animals can be photographed. Basically, Tanen’s beautiful puppy portraits — taken with a $1,500 Nikon camera — were shunned in favor of the ACCNY’s low-quality camera, all because they showed the dogs interacting with volunteers.

“I think they just didn’t want photos of animals that they were about to kill looking cute and adoptable and happy with people, but they said it was because their research showed that photos with people didn’t encourage people to adopt,” Tanen told the Times.

The ACCNY has a euthanasia rate of about 25% so it doesn’t make much sense to fire a volunteer who had the best intentions at heart. And we have to admit, the photos sure do pull at your heartstrings. There’s even a Facebook campaign called Reinstate Emily Tanen, which claims that Tanen was the only employee who was devoted to making sure every death row animal had a stunning image, along with a bio.

NewsFeed thinks this is a no-brainer: The cuter the picture, the more of a chance an animal has to get adopted. And that’s what these animals deserve: A chance to live a happy life alongside their human families.

PHOTOS: Brazil’s Town for Dogs