A disabled New Yorker’s emotional support dog was brought to the Big Apple pound when she had a medical emergency — and when she tried to get the pup back, he’d been adopted and already had a new name, The Post has learned.
“I literally dropped to my knees when I heard that,” Denise McCurrie, 51, said of her beloved 6-year-old Miniature Schnauzer previously named Roscoe, who has lived with her since he was a puppy.
“It’s been a nightmare.”
McCurrie, a former Wall Street underwriter who’s been on disability since she left the business in 2008 following the housing market crash, has long suffered from depression and anxiety and on April 16, called 911 while in the throes of a “nervous breakdown,” she told The Post.
McCurrie said she was living alone and when the NYPD and a team of emergency medical workers responded to her Bronx home, she asked them to take Roscoe as she was being transported to the hospital to ensure he’d be cared for while she recovered.
The pooch was brought to the Manhattan arm of the city’s beleaguered Animal Care Center, which has been rocked by a series of scandals including documented neglect, misguided behavioral analyses and decisions to euthanize animals with treatable medical conditions.
McCurrie said that she called ACC numerous times from the hospital, where she stayed for about two weeks, to let them know she was the dog’s owner and was receiving medical care. She was bounced around from person to person and eventually told they’d “look into it” but on April 19, she learned her dog had been adopted to one of ACC’s rescue groups and already had a new name.
“I was told I was not going to get my dog back,” McCurrie said.
“I had to take him off my screensaver because it was just too painful to see him. We were inseparable. My dog and I went everywhere together, we went shopping to the supermarket together, I used to put him in this little carrier. We were always together.”
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), who’s been trying to help McCurrie, said she was “horrified” when she found out what happened.
“It was so sad, it could happen to anyone who is single and living alone and has a medical emergency and has an animal that needs to be taken care of during that time period,” Rosenthal told The Post.
“It’s really a tragic story.”
The ACC said Roscoe “had no identification or microchip” and was transferred to a rescue partner three days after he came in on April 19, which is in violation of state law that requires pounds to hold unidentified dogs for up to five days before they can be adopted or euthanized.
“ACC does not have the dog in its possession. We have reached out to the rescue group with whom the dog was placed, and they are currently conferring with legal counsel regarding the situation,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
It’s not clear what information the NYPD provided to ACC when they dropped off the dog but at the time, Roscoe was being treated for a chronic ear infection and had a tube that was draining fluid from his ear, McCurrie said. But to the responding officers, the dog appeared to be malnourished and in poor condition, police said.
They added there was also a man in McCurrie’s home who told police he intended to hurt Roscoe but McCurrie emphatically and repeatedly denied there was anyone living with her or anyone else present at the time, calling the claim “nonsensical.”
The ACC, which has veterinarians examine each dog upon intake, did not say there was evidence of neglect or cruelty when Roscoe arrived — only that he was in “need of medical care.”
The Post reviewed Roscoe’s medical records that showed he was receiving regular veterinary care and aside from the ear infection, was in good health.
McCurrie said she is willing to do “anything” to get Roscoe back, who is her “primary reason to live.” She said she’ll pay any fees to the rescue who adopted him to cover any expenses and is even willing to submit to home visits if there’s any concerns about how she’s caring for him.
“The only thing I do all day is make phone calls and try to get somewhere, somehow,” the heartbroken dog mom explained.
“I’m still fighting for this little dog, it’s the only thing I do.”