12 January

Will Red And I Be Banned From Helping The Mansion Refugees?

by Jon Katz

So yesterday I was told that the New York Department of Health, which oversees assisted care facilities like the Mansion and the Danforth, is proposing barring Red and me from visiting the Danforth Adult Care Center, where the evacuated Mansion refugees are waiting to come home.

They are suggesting that I don’t have permission to come into the Danforth as a visitor or take any photographs there.(For the record, I don’t photograph anyone ever or anywhere without permission, and I’ve never taken a photo of any of the Danforth residents, only the Mansion residents, all of whom have given me signed permission to take their photos.)

I am simply going where they go, and I believe it is very important now that Red and I get access to them. The Mansion staff is totally supportive of this.

I don’t know if it matters much if they try to kick me out, but if they kick Red out, they will have a good sized shitstorm on their hands. Tossing a therapy dog out of an adult care center is not the best public relations in the world. And Red has a lot more fans than I do.

As to writers,  who cares?

Obviously, someone is reading my blog and not loving what they see. How else would they even know I’m going there?

I think I have a good sense of what is going on.

Some people don’t like what I’ve been writing  this week. I’ve urged the bureaucracy to move quickly and have drawn a contrast between the Mansion and other adult care centers.

The Mansion is a loving and special place, for all the leaks. The residents plead every day to go home. It’s important to make sure the Mansion is safe for them, it’s also important to see the disruption and dislocation is taking on them. They are the victims here.

I got a supportive message this morning from George Scala, one of the Mansion owners. He said he was sorry I was getting flak from the Department of Health and offered to help in any way he can.

I appreciate the support, but he has enough on his plate, I can take care of myself. And I have a great dog behind me.

George says the work on the Mansion is proceeding rapidly, he hopes the residents can return soon.

This is all familiar to me, I was a reporter a long time, and I can’t help but telling the truth about what I see, even when I don’t realize what I’m doing. I don’t wish to add to anyone else’s troubles, but I’m not backing down.

In any case, and as you can imagine, Red and I will get right over to the Danforth this morning. If anyone tries to kick out us, they will have to carry us out. I wonder if the Army Of Good does bail money? (Just kidding, I don’t anticipate getting arrested.)

I have every right to be there, and I will be there.


  1. Bravo to you, Jon. So sad people have lost their core of humanity and compassion. Thankfully, yours is in place.
    Good luck today. We’ve got your back if you need bail!!

    1. I would honestly think the Department of Health might have more important issues to deal with than that of a man and a dog visiting a home and doing nothing but distributing kindness. Their time might be better spent on giving the OK for the Mansion residents to return.

  2. Keep doing what you are doing! My Mom had dementia and anytime her surroundings were changed, it would send her into a tailspin of anxiety! They need you. This other place, if they truly believe in their mission to help these people, should welcome you with arms wide open!

  3. Righteous anger at its best! Is is outrageous what the New York Health Department is trying to do. They should be thanking you. Stay strong, stay good, stay inspiring!

  4. keep on doing what you are doing..government, no matter what country we live, has far too much say in the ordinary lives of regular people and do not do enough where it is important and of course costs money..

  5. It’s so disheartening to see the lack of compassion and humanity that is prevalent in just about every level of bureaucracy. The state doesn’t give a damn about the well-being of the residents from the Mansion or Danforth. It seems like they just want to punish you, which in turn would punish the residents. “Oh, boo hoo, the mean man is making a state agency look bad.” Apparently they don’t need your help to look bad. Wow.

  6. Sounds so much like the attitude of our so-called President, who thrives on creating fear and angst and difficulty among everyone. Shame on them.

  7. I am so sorry you have to put up with this. You and Red are doing the right thing. You have plenty of people behind you if you need bail. Please put me first in line to call.

  8. Throughout history writers have always been dangerous people because they write the truth and call attention to things. In the past, perhaps arrest, torture, death. Hopefully, now is different.

  9. When my elderly friend that called me her daughter was in the Hoosick Falls Health Center i took my yellow lab Silverado to see her. All the people just came rolling in to see him. They all loved him and that made their day. When i left they ALWAYS ask when Silverado would be back. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!! THEY NEED RED!!!

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