Opening the steel door brings a rush of cold air, the sound of blasting fans, and the dull smell of animal hair. The room offers no exceptional sights: just three large white bins against one wall and three large blue bins against the other, a couple black metal shelves, and plastic bags in the bins and on the shelves, all in dim lighting and frigid temperatures. These bags hold dead animals.
Nationwide, six to eight million dogs and cats enter animal shelters each year, estimates the Humane Society of the United States. Half of them are killed. New York City’s largest shelter is the Center for Animal Care and Control. The non-profit agency is contracted by the city to take in strays and lost pets, and find home for cats and dogs and a few rabbits. Of the nearly 40,000 cats and dogs brought to the center between September 2006 and August 2007, more than half were adopted. But during the same span 16,000 plus cats and dogs had to be killed. About 110,000 have died by lethal injection since the end of 2002. For these condemned animals, the freezer is their way out.
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