Adopt-a-palooza Returns to Washington Square Park Saturday, May 19th — Interview with head of Alliance for NYC’s Animals

Adoptapalooza

It turns out we have an animal-friendly Village neighbor to thank for Adopt-a-palooza’s presence this Saturday at Washington Square Park for the third year in a row. The neighbor, who runs an entertainment company, reached out to Jane Hoffman, President of the Alliance for NYC’s Animals, indicating that he’d like to help produce an event at the Park for animal adoptions. That started the wheels turning. The first event happened at WSP in 2010.

This Saturday, May 19th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. makes year number 3! There will be more than 100 animals available for adoption. In addition, people are invited to bring their own cat or dog for portraits, other events, and the opportunity to “ask an expert” a question you may have about your animal’s health or behavior. It will be “family friendly” with activities for children.

The last two events at Washington Square have had about a 75% successful adoption rate. Let’s make it higher this year – please consider adopting – so these animals do not have to return to the shelter.

I interviewed Alliance for NYC’s Animals President Jane Hoffman recently who said the atmosphere at the event is “a very happy environment.” Her organization works with the ACC – Animal Care and Control, the city’s shelter system – and NYC rescue groups who “bring animals that show well in this environment.” She added, “We are trying to drive traffic to the ACC. Almost all animals [at the event] from the ACC get adopted. Some go that day. Some [people] find out later [that the adoption has gone through] after a 24 hour wait.”

As far as whether people seek out an animal or do it on the spot, she said, “Some people adopt on impulse, some come with a carrier. The groups and the public really like these large events.”

Adopt Me!

In addition to adopting animals, the other goal of the event is to raise awareness of the city’s shelter and rescue groups as well as the ACC(Animal Care and Control). Still to this day, the kill rate is way too high at the city’s shelter system. Hoffman says that in 2002, 74 out of every 100 animals brought to the ACC were killed; in 2010, that amount was reduced to 30 out of 100. That is still about 1/3. Most of the animals available for adoption at the event come from the ACC so they can free up room at the shelter, meaning more animals’ lives are spared (animals are euthanized typically due to lack of space at the shelters – whether that is the stated reason or not).

The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals was created out of the Animal Law Committee, part of the New York City Bar Association. Hoffman, who was on the committee, became aware of Maddie’s Fund, “a big family foundation giving community grants, encouraging cities to be ‘no-kill.'” And then, “It was a confluence of events when Bloomberg came into office. We said to the Administration, we think we have an idea to improve animal welfare and we can get this multi-million dollar grant.”

With Hoffman’s help and the Alliance, the city got the Maddie’s Fund grant. The grant was for $23.5 million over seven years and ended last year. As with many things related to animals in this big city, that has not been without controversy. The year by which NYC is supposed to be “no-kill” has continued to move further away.

Yet, the goals of Hoffman’s group and the coordination involved are laudable. Although it is called “Mayor’s Alliance,” the organization is run independently. It gets no money from the government, working to assist the existing city structure. Hoffman says the Alliance is “basically a large marketing and distribution network which works with rescue groups.” (Over 150.) There is “Wheels of Hope” for which the Alliance has “5 vans we run 7 days a week going from the ACC to groups that save them [the animals]. There’s a huge effort to increase adoptions. We have spay/neuter programs working with outdoor cats.” Some of the Alliance’s core objectives are ” to increase adoptions, decrease homelessness, raising awareness about shelter groups and shelters – Adopt Don’t Buy – and to strengthen resources of the rescue groups and educational groups.”

People who read this blog regularly know that I am not a fan of the Bloomberg Administration. Hoffman told me when she first reached out to the Administration, they said “we didn’t create this problem.” I couldn’t help thinking, fine, but they have not done enough to make it better on their watch over the last ten years.

I asked Hoffman how the city’s shelter system could be improved. And she responded bluntly, “More money.” She then explained that the budget for the shelter had been $14 million (which wasn’t enough) and it had gone down to $7 Million. She said, “The ACC staff was decimated. They lost 1/2 of their staff. Now they will be able to add back 100 people.” Some of the funding was recently restored in a bill passed recently by the City Council (also a bit controversial – will add in link) which will require the Department of Health to increase the ACC budget to $12.5 million by the end of 2014. That is obviously still too little and too late.

Let’s be thankful for the people working hard to help the city’s animals, the individuals and rescue and shelter groups that work on their own and with the Alliance for NYC’s Animals as well as Hoffman herself.

Stop by Washington Square Park Saturday, May 19th between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to adopt a cat or dog that would love a new home, learn more about the city’s rescue groups, or bring yourself and possibly your cat or dog to get advice and have some fun.

Let’s rally for the city’s animals and truly work to make New York City a No-Kill city.

(I’ve written previously here about the situation at the ACC. Note: I always thought the Mayor’s Alliance existed during the Giuliani years but I didn’t get clarification on that.)

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Jinx at Manhattan Animal Care & Control Shelter Needs Home ASAP

Jinx Needs Home

From Animal Care & Control Volunteer:  Jinx – super sweet 2yr old cat DECLAWED front paws. Hard to take a pic of him he loves to be petted!  Neutered male, black Bombay mix.

About Jinx: The shelter staff think I am about 2 years old. I weigh 10 pounds. May be FeLV positive. Found in NY 10461. I have been at the shelter since Jun 14, 2011.

JINX – ID#A900436   http://www.petharbor.com/pet.asp?uaid=NWYK.A900436

What a sweetie! Not on Death Row YET but will be soon. See more here on Facebook.

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The ACC is the city’s shelter system. I’ve written about it here before. Tho’ it is a quasi non-profit, its small Board of Directors is comprised mainly of heads of NYC governmental agencies. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe is on the Board of Directors; it is overseen by the NYC Department of Health.

This is the latest: A list of demands for ACC shelter reform from activists (it would be about time):

This declaration is addressed to Julie Bank, Executive Director of the NY ACC, Mayor Bloomberg, the entire City Council and the Department of Health:

We Will No Longer Tolerate the Slaughter of Innocent Defenseless Dogs & Cats in the City of New York. We Declare That Tax Dollars Must Be Allocated For:

1) Free Spay Neuter for Dogs & Cats for Citizens of NYC

2) Superior Veterinary Care Given to All Animals at the NYACC

3) **No** Animal is Killed Unless Terminally Ill

4) Behavior and Training Specialists Rehab For All Dogs & Cats

5) Solid and Continuous Volunteer & Adoption Program Staff

6) Immediate Queens and Bronx Shelters in High Visibility Locations

7) A Better Communications Center for Adoptions So Animals are Not KILLED Because of Mistakes in Phone Calls and Messages.

8 ) Demand From The NYC Housing Authority the Rescission of the Weight Limit in Public Housing

Animals of the Week : Nilly and Goldie at the City’s ACC Need Help Now

Update June 3rd — I’ve written before about Animal Care & Control, the city’s non-profit, hi-kill shelter system which is truly in need of a total overhaul. Every night on Facebook, an “e-list” – a list of animals to be killed the next day – is posted to a group called Pets on Death Row. People from around the world work on rescuing these animals from death. For tomorrow, June 1st, there are 42 cats. (Sometimes they get an extra day or so reprieve so please try even if you read this late.) Too many to contemplate but not too many to help.

I’ve picked out two, Nilly and Goldie, which I’ve profiled here. The photos clearly do not do them total justice – wish ACC would work on that – but they still look extremely sweet and are deserving of another chance to live. If you can help, go to the Facebook page for information and someone will assist you there!

Nilly is a female brown tiger colored cat who is about 5 years old. She was “surrendered” just 3 days ago to the Manhattan ACC by her owner/guardian because of “cost.” It’s clear this photo does not do her justice! She has a small wound on her face which is healing and yet she is being “e-listed” as if she is ill. (See link below for why this happens even tho’ the ACC gets money from Maddie’s Fund for allegedly striving to be “no-kill.”)

According to her previous guardians, Nilly is “Very friendly and affectionate. Extremely active and playful as well. Loves women, loves men, loves children, loves dogs, loves cats.

** Who wouldn’t want to save Nilly and have her in your life? Go here to do so. Thank you!**

Then there is gorgeous Goldie who is around 14 years old, a male cat, may have been a stray (tho’ that is questionable), and has something very special about him. He’s in Brooklyn, rated “no concern” which means he is approachable and friendly. He has some health issues but people will likely help out if you need help with those expenses. He deserves to live out his life without being killed at this city facility.

** Rescue Goldie here. It can only be wonderful. **

There are also 40 other cats that can use your help at this Facebook page.

NOTE: Yes, it’s time sensitive but sometimes animals get a reprieve and many of the rescue groups will assist late into the night.

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See here for more on the ACC. Please write to your City Council person and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio about necessary reforms, advocating for a true No-Kill system. It can be done.

Coming Saturday, June 4th at Washington Square Park is Adoptalooza — you can hold your own Adoptalooza and help one of these animals out now!

Please consider adopting Nilly and Goldie and then come back and read TODAY’S New York Post article, “Doggie Death Row” about the ACC featuring an interview with a former staffer.

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June 3rd — Nilly was rescued. Goldie’s fate is unknown right now. Please visit the Facebook page to adopt others. This happens every day. If you have ideas how to change the entire system, write to me at the Contact page above.

Today, Saturday, November 6th 12-5:30 p.m. – Support NYC Shelter Reform/Learn More at Washington Square Park

Updated with AC&C links!

I’ve long thought the New York City shelter system, Animal Care & Control (AC&C), wasn’t going far enough to spare animals’ lives – it’s reported that 13,000 cats and dogs were killed last year in the New York City shelter system.

13 THOUSAND KILLED.

There are only three shelters – which cover all FIVE boroughs in a city with 8 MILLION people – and all are placed in locations that are not easily accessible for most. (The Brooklyn location is in East New York.) Shouldn’t our animals be given the best chance for their lives to be saved by being easily adoptable and every chance that can be given explored ?

The “system” has always been problematic but budget cuts have made the problem more glaring. People are rallying, after too long a silence, to reform the system. A few years ago, it was stated NYC was going No-Kill. This seems further away than ever.

One of the members of Board of Directors of the AC&C is NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

The first gathering of a new independent coalition to reform the AC&C will be held today, Saturday, November 6th at Washington Square Park, 12 noon to 5:30 p.m. near the Holley Plaza (to west of the Fountain). Join in and find out more.

From the press release at the Vintage Cats blog:

Concerned New Yorkers are coming together on November 6th at Washington Square Park to educate the public about what is happening to the homeless pets of NYC. The goal is to force the NY ACC to reform so that the needless killings of adoptable pets can be stopped.

This year significant funding was cut from New York City’s Animal Shelter system’s (NYACC – New York Animal Care and Control) budget. Food and supplies have run out over the last few weeks. New Yorkers have been donating food and supplies to keep the cats and dogs fed. The shelters are severely under funded. In fact, there are only three shelters for all five boroughs.

On November 4th phone lines at the ACC were turned off. The public can no longer call in to inquire, or to adopt a cat and dog.

WSP Blog note: This is a particularly important piece of information:

The NY ACC is considered a private charity organization, but its board is made up of city officials. Several of them are from the Department of Health, as it is this agency that provides most of the funding for the shelters. Current board members must be replaced by caring, innovative, and experienced leaders in animal rescue, rather then civil servants with no experience in working for animal welfare and city bureaucrats.

Board members employed by the City of New York cannot challenge the Department of Health’s lack of funding. The NY ACC must start anew as a true charity organization without any ties to a city agency, except for funding.

And this is shocking and sad:

The board purposely hides the fact that the reason the animals are destroyed is because of lack of space and resources. A bulk of their funding comes from an organization called Maddie’s Fund. This organization (more…)