There are many reasons to get a dog. Helping you get elected to a city council position isn’t one of them.
But that appears to be the reason why John Mancuso adopted Tiger, a one-year-old Pit Bull, last October. At the time, he was campaigning in the City Council race in Staten Island, New York. One of his platforms was to reform the animal shelter system.
“From sprinklers in pet stores to eliminating kill shelters I will continue to work to protect all animals,” he said in a campaign statement at the time. “I’m a happy owner of a rescue dog ‘Tiger’ that I saved from a kill shelter here on Staten Island, and I am looking forward to assisting shelters expand and promoting pet adoptions to eliminate the killing of innocent animals.”
He talked a good game, and it made a pretty picture: The candidate and his rescue dog, vowing to clean up the shelter system.
“The system currently in place is both inhumane and downright cruel,” he told SILive.com back in September. “Thousands of New Yorkers are willing to adopt these animals, but the city has failed at matching them with a home. This practice is unacceptable, and I will introduce legislation on Day 1 to end this abhorrent treatment of our city’s animals.”
Mancuso also blasted Animal Care & Control, saying it has been mismanaged and fails to properly advertise animals for adoption.
Strong words, to be sure. But that was a long time ago.
OK, it was a few months.
In any case, last week, with the election a distant memory (Mancuso lost) and his future set with a new job working for public advocate Letitia James, our candidate plopped his pal Tiger back into the shelter system. Specifically, the same one he adopted her from, Animal Care & Control, the same one he blasted.
The kill shelter. He dumped her right back into the system he described, just months ago, as “inhumane and downright cruel.”
The chutzpah of this guy.
It didn’t take long before people noticed. Dog lovers, especially, who called him out on social media with harsh words.
“He did sort of use Tiger to his advantage while he was running to gain the public’s vote,” wrote an administrator of the Facebook page Urgent Part 2 – Urgent Death Row Dogs, according to the New York Daily News. “He went against everything he pretended to be for by dumping that dog back into a shelter. It leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths.”
Mancuso, meanwhile, says people have it all wrong. Befitting a politician, he’s blaming his neighbors.
“My landlord was getting complaints from neighbors that Tiger was too loud and too rambunctious,” he told the Daily News.
He’s also blaming animal rescues. He said he contacted a few before returning the dog and they said they couldn’t find him a proper home.
Notably, he said nothing about attempts and training, rehoming, etc. He just said that the local rescues did a bad job helping him get rid of his dog.
But all this Internet outrage had a silver lining: Thanks to the publicity, someone rescued Tiger from the shelter in short order. Hopefully, this time the dog will finally get his forever home.
Of course, a guy like Mancuso can’t let this white knight steal his spotlight. He told the Daily News that after he sent the dog to the shelter, he found a home for the dog on his own. By that point, however, Tiger had already been adopted.
“He’s in a good home and everything’s all good,” said Mancuso. “I have been fighting for animals for a long time.”
Yadda yadda yadda, he might as well have added.
Read more about the bond between humans and dogs on Dogster: