Each of New York City's five boroughs is proudly unique, but given the strong bond between people and pets across the city, one thing they should share is a firm commitment to protecting the lives of homeless dogs and cats. Yet while Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island have their own vital full-service municipal shelters, Queens and the Bronx only have inadequate "animal receiving centers."
These centers do not provide shelter, medical, or adoption services for homeless animals. Instead, dogs and cats brought to these centers are transported to already overtaxed shelters in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Besides putting available animals out of reach for prospective Queens and Bronx adopters, this also dramatically reduces the likelihood that owners of lost pets will ever reconnect with them.
The current set-up is not just inefficient; it is life-threatening, and long overdue for correction. Making this service available and accessible to the community is an essential function of municipal government.
Intro 485, introduced by New York City Councilmember Paul Vallone, would put compassion and common sense into this process by requiring the establishment and maintenance of a full-service animal shelter in every New York City borough, giving homeless animals across the city the same fighting chance to find loving homes.
This legislation is vital when you consider that the key to saving lives is not just housing homeless animals, but more importantly, re-homing them. Even though the combined populations of Queens and the Bronx—nearly 3.6 million people—is more than that of every American city except Los Angeles and New York City itself, their animal receiving centers in no way serve the goal of adoption.
The need for this investment is so obvious that nearly every City Council member representing Queens and the Bronx supports dedicating city budget dollars toward the construction and on-going operation of these full-service shelters.
When you put this bill together with the Health Department's recent announcement to invest millions of dollars to optimize Animal Care & Control, as well as the Council's passage in January of a law to stop the country's worst puppy mills from supplying city pet stores, you can clearly see a city striving to rise above—and lead—when it comes to animal compassion and welfare.
Committing to shelters in each of these communities is a long overdue investment in animal lives, and core to the morals we hold as New Yorkers, no matter what borough we call home.
Welcome to The Paw Print! In this new recurring feature, we’ll be highlighting the latest news affecting animals and animal-lovers around the country. Here are some of the top stories right now:
Purina® Under Fire: A lawsuit filed in California last week claims that Beneful®—one of Purina’s most popular dog food brands—is responsible for the death of thousands of dogs. The lawsuit claims that a specific ingredient called propylene glycol is the suspected cause of canine illness and death, though a spokesperson for Purina has called the suit “without merit.” Do you feed your pets Purina? Share your thoughts below!
Missing Dog Goes Viral: When a New York City woman’s pit bull mix, Sugar, went missing last week, she turned to the Internet for help. The hashtag #FindSugarNYC went viral as thousands of people shared the story. If you have any information about Sugar, call (917)-796-0171.
Duggar Clan Causes Outrage: The Duggar family—from the popular TV show 19 Kids and Counting—outraged animal-lovers this week when they published an Instagram video that appeared to show cruelty toward a cat. Derick Dillard, the husband of Jill Duggar, was sledding down a hill when he allegedly steered into the unsuspecting feline.
Humane Pet Food Headed to US: Pet food brand Open Farm® has partnered with nonprofit Humane Farm Animal Care® to bring Certified Humane pet food to the U.S for the first time. To receive this certification, Open Farm will use only meat and poultry products in its pet foods that come from Certified Humane farms. Are humane practices something you factor into your own pet food purchases?
The Future of Zoos: A story published by Fast Company® delves into the future of zoos—with an emphasis placed on the wellbeing of the animals over the experience of visitors. Do you think it’s time for zoos to get a makeover?
By Matt Bershadker, President & CEO, ASPCA; and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA)
In America, one out of four women experiences domestic violence in her lifetime, and a woman is abused every nine seconds. Many of these women survive by courageously leaving their homes and finding safety in area shelters. But for some, the decision to save their own lives becomes much more difficult when pets are involved.
M. a domestic violence survivor, chose her life over her home, but says she “would have left much sooner” if she knew she could protect her pets. M.’s abuser killed her dog and cat, and used the act to threaten her daughter’s life and prevent M. from leaving.
K., a 34-year-old mother of two, delayed leaving her abusive husband because none of the domestic violence shelters in her area would allow her to bring her dog, to whom her children had become very attached.
Another survivor, P., said her boyfriend dangled her beloved cat out the window and threatened to kill the cat if she upset him. The abuser set fire to the victim’s apartment and her cat perished from severe smoke inhalation. P. eventually found protection for herself and three new cats in a pet-friendly shelter.
These stories are not unique. As many as 25% of domestic violence survivors have reported returning to an abusive partner out of concern for their pet. And that fear is often justified. Studies demonstrate that abusers intentionally target pets to exert control over their intimate partners—71% of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abuser threatened, harmed, or killed a family pet.
This point bears repeating: victims ready to escape from abuse are instead risking their lives to protect beloved family pets. No one should have to make the impossible choice between leaving an abusive situation and ensuring a pet’s safety. Yet despite the urgent need, only 3% of domestic violence shelters nationwide are able to accommodate victims’ pets.
That’s where the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act comes in. Reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today, this bipartisan bill criminalizes the intentional targeting of a domestic partner’s pet with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate.
It also establishes a federal grant program to help victims safely house their pets, and adds veterinary care to the list of costs that victims can recover. Additionally, the PAWS Act strongly asserts the need for states to expand their legal protections for the pets of domestic violence victims.
To date, more than half of U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have taken similar legislative action to protect the pets of domestic violence victims, but no federal legislation has addressed this issue before now. The federal protections offered by the PAWS Act will help victims and their pets escape abusive environments and seek the safety and shelter they need, across state lines if necessary.
Encourage your representative to join the nation’s leading domestic violence and animal welfare advocates in supporting the PAWS Act. As is true in many instances, when we protect pets, we protect people.
Bill is an outgoing and energetic pup—he knows playtime is the best time! He would be thrilled to go home with an adopter who can give him plenty of exercise to keep him happy and healthy. Just bring out his favorite toys and this funny guy will keep you laughing for hours.
Bill enjoys the company of other dogs and makes canine friends easily. He would make a great companion to your resident dog! This sweet boy has a couple of medical conditions that flare up during the summer months, but our Adoptions team can give you tips to help manage his health needs. Bill would do best with an experienced pet parent in a household with teens-and-up. Adopt Bill today!
Bill is available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting, please call our Adoptions Department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about Bill, please visit his profile page.
Watch Bill in action at our Adoption Center—check out the video below!
Both owners of the facility were detained Wednesday morning and cruelty charges are expected to follow. Law enforcement also discovered illegal drugs and nearly $20,000 in cash on the property. This operation is the result of an investigation prompted by numerous complaints about conditions at the breeding facility. Several dogs acquired from the facility were discovered to be severely ill soon after purchase.
We’ve established a temporary shelter where the dogs will receive veterinary exams and care along with behavioral enrichment from the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior team. The ASPCA forensics team is also collecting and analyzing forensic evidence. Our new Medical Animal Surgical Hospital (MASH)—a custom-built, mobile medical unit—will allow veterinarians to provide critical care to dogs on-site.