Woman Fired for Photographing Shelter Dogs

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


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Ken W.
Ken W4 years ago


Winn Adams
Winn A4 years ago

OMG this is just too crazy for words.

Bruce S.
Bruce S4 years ago

I've NEVER heard of such nonsense in my life. This women certainly DIDN'T warrant being fired.....ESPECIALLY if it resulted in MORE animals being adopted.

Isn't the MAIN GOAL getting as many animals adopted as possible?

After reading this, I'm going to have to re-evaluate my donations to this particular "shelter".

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper4 years ago

Hold on - she knew the rules and didn't follow them. Is she not at fault?

Tatiana Velitchkov

Absolutely outrageous... and she should get her job back!

Fi T.
Past Member 4 years ago

How come the good are treated unfairly?

Sharon Barnes
Sharon Barnes4 years ago

How crazy! All she was doing was trying to help the animals and get them rehomed!

Nimue Pendragon
Nimue Michelle P4 years ago

Seems ridiculous.

Nirvana Jaganath
Nirvana Jaganath4 years ago


Bryna Pizzo
Bryna Pizzo4 years ago

Those in charge of the shelter are not only dishonest but also disreputable. They should be fired, and the photographers should be rehired. They need a petition!