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ASPCA to Open New Facility to Care for NYC’s Most Vulnerable Animals

Groundbreaking initiative expands ASPCA’s commitment to New York City animals; includes NYC’s first high-volume kitten nursery and specialized ward for canine cruelty victims seized by NYPD
May 27, 2014

NEW YORK—Expanding an already deep commitment to saving the lives of New York City’s homeless and abused cats and dogs, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced plans to open a new facility dedicated to the care and treatment of two of the city’s most vulnerable animal populations. The new space will include a high-volume kitten nursery to provide life-saving care for kittens too young to survive on their own, as well as a specialized recovery ward to care for the increased number of canine cruelty victims rescued by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). This expansion of services is slated to begin at the end of this summer, advancing the ASPCA’s mission to save more animals’ lives in New York City. 

“We have reached a milestone in the city with more than 80 percent of homeless dogs and cats leaving the shelter system alive thanks to our partnership with the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Animal Care & Control of New York City (“AC&C”) and local rescue groups,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO. “We’re now zeroing in on some of the remaining in-need populations -- abandoned kittens and dogs rescued from neglect and cruelty as a result of our successful partnership with the NYPD.”

The ASPCA kitten ward, which is not intended for use by the general public, will serve both nursing cats with litters and orphaned kittens that are taken in by AC&C throughout the five boroughs on a daily basis. The ward is designed to contain over 200 adjustable cages, each with the ability to accommodate a combination of orphaned kittens or a litter and nursing mother. At full capacity, up to 2,300 kittens could be admitted to the nursery over the course of a full feline breeding season (April through September).

Kittens will receive care from specially-trained ASPCA staff until they are old enough to be microchipped, vaccinated and spayed/neutered. At eight weeks of age, they will be made available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center or through local rescue groups.

“Approximately 4,500 kittens entered AC&C last year, overwhelming an already overpopulated shelter system, but it’s a problem we can thankfully address,” said Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of the ASPCA Adoption Center. “When we open our 24/7 ASPCA Kitten Nursery, we will be supporting a very vulnerable population of animals and bringing New York City one step closer to being a community in which every animal has the best possible chance.”

“The ASPCA has been an invaluable partner in our efforts to help New York City’s homeless pets, and caring for underage kittens is an area of particular need and urgency,” said Risa Weinstock, executive director of AC&C. “In the past few months we have already seen the number of kittens entering the shelter system spike. We are excited about this initiative so that together we can continue to save more lives.”

“We’re thrilled the ASPCA has stepped in to relieve some of the burden New York City rescue groups have been shouldering to care for these vulnerable animals,” said Jane Hoffman, president of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals. “This proves once again how collaboration makes a critical difference when it comes to saving lives, and the Mayor’s Alliance will be doing everything we can to help support this initiative, including working with AC&C to transport kittens to the ASPCA Nursery through our Wheels of Hope Program.”

In addition to the feline nursery, the new ASPCA Gloria Gurney Canine Annex for Recovery & Enrichment (CARE) – made possible by the estate of generous benefactor, Gloria Gurney – will house up to 60 dogs seized by the NYPD as part of animal cruelty investigations. As a result of the breakthrough partnership between the ASPCA and the NYPD, more animal abuse complaints are being addressed and more New York City cruelty victims are being rescued by law enforcement and brought to the ASPCA for medical treatment and eventual placement.

At the current pace, the NYPD will make three times as many arrests and – together with the ASPCA – save five times as many victims of animal cruelty in New York City this year than the ASPCA alone was able to do during any year in recent history.

The two new programs at this facility add to the heavy investment toward at-risk animals the ASPCA has already made in New York City. The ASPCA intervenes on behalf of animals in critical need through its innovative partnership with the NYPD, a full-service adoption center and animal hospital, and a targeted spay/neuter program that includes mobile and stationary low-cost spay/neuter clinics. In the past decade, and through its work in the five boroughs, the ASPCA has positively impacted hundreds of thousands of animals at risk. As a founding member of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, the ASPCA has been a driving force in reducing needless euthanasia and increasing the city’s live release rate from 26 percent in 2003 to more than 80 percent year-to-date, giving New York City the lowest per capita euthanasia rate in the country.

In New York City, the ASPCA has provided partially and fully-subsidized spay/neuter services to residents and the rescue community since 1997. In 2013, the ASPCA completed nearly 36,000 surgeries in New York City through mobile and stationary clinics and nearly 250,000 spay/neuter surgeries in the past decade.

The organization also engages in advocacy and grassroots efforts to secure the strongest possible protections for animals through passage of humane legislation. For cases outside of the criminal justice system, the ASPCA Cruelty Intervention Advocacy (CIA) program intervenes in cases involving hoarding and provides critical resources to pet owners who find themselves and their animals in unstable situations.

For more information on the ASPCA’s life-saving work in NYC, visit www.aspca.org. To report animal cruelty in any of the five boroughs, the public is encouraged to call 311 or submit an online complaint. For crimes in progress, individuals should call 911.