This Is All Kinds Of Wrong of the Day: That something as simple as a good photograph can increase the likelihood of an abandoned dog being adopted is well documented.
Emily Tanen had witnessed the effects of a professional photoshoot on an unwanted dog’s chances first hand during her time at the Manhattan branch of Animal Care and Control of New York City, when she took it upon herself to upgrade the shelter operator’s disposable camera to her own $1,500 Nikon, only to see the number of rescued dogs increase.
Hired as a liaison between ACCNYC and the groups that rescue shelter animals, Tanen says she was eventually fired for going out of her way to take better photos of pit bulls in a last-ditch effort to save them from being euthanized.
Tanen was told that she had violated the policy that prohibits photographing the dogs interacting with humans.
“I think they just didn’t want photos of animals that they were about to kill looking cute and adoptable and happy with people,” she says, “but they said it was because their research showed that photos with people didn’t encourage people to adopt.”
Sadly, for many of the dogs in ACCNYC’s care, Tanen was the last line of defense. Rescue groups would often be persuaded by her photos to take animals they would otherwise have passed on.
“I still remember Domino’s photo — the first pit bull we pulled from Manhattan,” Dog Habitat Rescue founder Jay Lombard said. “He was within 12 hours of being destroyed when Emily snapped a photo of him and attached it to an e-mail. That image hit me hard and I couldn’t turn away.”
Above: Compare Tanen’s handiwork with the ACCNYC’s sorry excuse for a snapshot.