Guest Blog by Michelle Villagomez, ASPCA NYC Legislative Director.
We have some exciting news! After months of talking with representatives from the New York City government, the City has agreed to support legislation to improve conditions in our city’s shelters. A bill has been introduced in the City Council that would not only restore programs and services to our animal shelters, but increase funding for our animal care and control programs. The City has already agreed to raise funding so that by July 2014 the annual budget for Animal Care & Control will exceed $12 million—a 77 percent increase over the current budget!
Intro. 655, sponsored by Councilmember Jessica Lappin, would improve New York City’s animal shelter system by:
- Requiring animal receiving centers in the Bronx and Queens, as well as field services, to operate seven days a week, 12 hours per day. (Currently the receiving centers are only open one and two days, and the field services program has been cut);
- Ensuring the maintenance of full-service animal shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island;
- Requiring owners to spay or neuter any cats they own who are free-roaming outdoors;
- Implementing trap-neuter-return (TNR) rules; and
- Requiring the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to provide a report providing key data on trends on the progress and quality of care at each full-service animal shelter and animal receiving center.
This legislation, in conjunction with the increase in funding over the next few years, will allow the shelters hire as many as 100 additional staffers. If you’re a New Yorker, visit aspca.org/NYC_ACC to see how you can help make this happen!