September 29, 2009
Judge Rules: NYC Must Create More Animal Shelters
The ASPCA applauds a decision by the New York State Supreme Court to uphold a 2000 law mandating the existence of full-service animal shelters in all five New York City boroughs. In last week’s ruling, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Shafer gave the City 60 days to come up with a plan to implement the law(PDF) which will ultimately allow for more animals to be adopted and fewer to be euthanized.
While the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island are each outfitted with New York City Animal Care and Control shelters, the Bronx and Queens have only part-time animal receiving centers. Animals in these two boroughs are routinely sent to Manhattan and Brooklyn, where shelters quickly reach capacity, resulting in the euthanasia of healthy pets. Although funds were allocated for a full-service shelter in each borough, the City has not yet taken steps to purchase sites in the Bronx and Queens.
“Each New York City borough, by law, was required to have a full-service animal shelter by July 1, 2006,” states Michelle Villagomez, ASPCA Senior Manager of Advocacy & Campaigns. "The ASPCA has been urging New York City for years to fulfill its mandate and provide the people and animals of Queens and the Bronx with these shelters."
In January 2009, the nonprofit group Stray from the Heart sued the City, reasoning that its failure to set up animal shelters in the Bronx and Queens resulted in the “needless suffering and death of homeless cats and dogs." In its lawsuit, the group charged: “Homeless dogs have been dying in unconscionable numbers because the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has not provided the shelter space required by statute.”
Notes Villagomez, “Not only are healthy, innocent animals being euthanized before getting a chance at adoption, but residents of these boroughs are tax-paying New Yorkers and deserve the same services that residents in the other three boroughs receive.”
The City of New York plans to appeal the court's decision.
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