Animal Welfare Groups Commend New York Lawmakers for Including Critical Funding for Animal Shelters in State Budget

$5 million for capital improvements at animal shelters included in FY 2017-2018 budget
April 10, 2017

NEW YORK— The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the New York State Animal Protection Federation (NYSAPF) commend New York lawmakers and Gov. Cuomo for including the Companion Animal Capital Fund in the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 state budget to help shelters across the state with much-needed structural repairs and improvements. Championed by Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Suffolk) and Assemblymember Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan), this fund includes $5 million to address the critical infrastructure needs of animal shelters throughout New York State.

“New York law requires every municipality to maintain an animal shelter for homeless and abandoned animals, but local shelters receive little to no state funding to help offset their often substantial operating costs,” said Bill Ketzer, senior director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Northeast region. “Thanks to a strong grassroots effort by the NYS Animal Protection Federation and the leadership of Senator Phil Boyle and Assemblymember Deborah Glick, this much-needed funding will ensure that animal shelters have the resources they need to continue their life-saving work for many years to come, and we are grateful to Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for including this in the state’s final budget.”

The cost of a municipal sheltering contract costs far less than establishing and maintaining a government-operated animal facility. Not-for-profits, SPCAs, humane societies, and other animal organizations provide this vital service to local governments under contract, often saving them both time and money. They not only care for homeless animals, but also offer “safe harbor” pet retention programs for victims of domestic violence, conduct agility and training programs, and hold animals as evidence in criminal animal abuse cases, which is ultimately a public, not private charge. Animal abuse cases can be prohibitively expensive for shelters, yet shelters voluntarily step in to care for animals in need because they are committed to helping their localities and law enforcement provide this service.

Shelters have traditionally performed these functions with very little state support and many of these facilities haven’t had building renovations in several decades.

While this funding will clearly help address the challenging history behind this need, the total capital required for these shelters may exceed the $5 million allotted in the budget.

“The New York State Animal Protection Federation proposed the Companion Animal Capital Fund and greatly appreciates the work of the ASPCA to help us get $5 million included in New York’s 2017-2018 budget,” said Libby Post, executive director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation. “There is a $50 million need for capital improvements at fifteen shelters across New York. This funding is a step in the right direction and we couldn’t have done it without the leadership of Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and State Senator Phil Boyle.”

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