Emily Tanen was working at Animal Care and Control of New York City, as a go-between for the agency and animal rescue groups. She photographed dogs – mainly pit bulls – and sometimes the images included people in them. The agency’s photo policy stipulates animal photos can’t include humans, and there are restrictions on who and how photos can be taken, so she was fired.
Ms. Tanen believed she could created better photos than those the animal shelter was making, due to her art training and owning a much better camera, so she started photographing the dogs on her own. She said, “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”. (Source: New York Times)
Her photographs apparently did result in more adoptions, at least according to the New York Times, and that may have been due to her better talent for photography or working with the dogs in a more sympathetic manner. Time summarized the situation bluntly, “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.” (Source: Time.com) A Facebook page has been created to help get her job back with well over 4,000 Likes.
She isn’t the only photographer to have had difficulties there. A former architectural photographer who had been volunteering there to take animal photos left after a new policy was created making all images the property of the shelter. He said, “I knew I was giving up on the animals, but I couldn’t put up with the humans.” (Source: New York Times)
Image Credit: Public Domain