‘Operation Gimme Shelter’ Provides Free Dog Houses to Protect At-Risk Pets

ASPCA, NY Cares partner with NYPD Community Affairs Office to help pets and pet owners in Queens
March 1, 2014

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) Cruelty Intervention Advocacy (CIA) program is partnering with New York Cares and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) Community Affairs Office to launch ‘Operation Gimme Shelter,’ a pilot program to provide free dog houses to at-risk pets.

New York City’s recent frigid temperatures and record-breaking snowfall has increased the number of reports to NYPD about dogs left outside without proper shelter. Working on such cases together, the ASPCA has learned from the NYPD that many pet owners lack the resources or knowledge to provide appropriate housing for their pets. In a proactive measure to help animals in need, the ASPCA is partnering with New York Cares and the NYPD Community Affairs Office to launch Operation Gimme Shelter, a program designed to connect at-risk pets in the 113th Precinct in Jamaica, Queens with appropriate dog houses.

“The ASPCA recognizes that providing free dog houses and support can be an effective means of creating a better environment for these animals,” said Allison Cardona, director of the ASPCA Cruelty Intervention Advocacy program. “Much of what we do involves building trust so pet owners understand that our goal is to help both them and their animals. This is exactly the type of situation that the CIA program was built for—helping animals in need by providing critical resources to the people in charge of their care.”

“New York Cares is excited to team up with the ASPCA and NYPD to provide these important shelters to Queens residents,” said Gary Bagley, Executive Director at New York Cares. “This partnership will help us continue to provide holistic and innovative support to communities throughout the five boroughs.”

In addition to a free dog house, pet owners will receive ID tags, one bag of free dog food, behavioral support for their dogs, and educational materials. The CIA program will also be providing pet owners with information on the ASPCA’s free and low-cost spay/neuter and veterinary services.

Earlier this year, the ASPCA announced the full citywide rollout of its strategic and pioneering collaboration with the NYPD to provide enhanced protection to New York City’s animals. With this partnership, the NYPD takes the lead role in responding to all animal cruelty complaints in the five boroughs, while the ASPCA expands its direct care support for animal cruelty victims, including medical treatment, behavior assessments and rehabilitation, and housing and placement. For cases outside of the criminal justice system, the ASPCA continues to leverage its innovative CIA program that gets to the root causes of suffering, including intervention in cases involving hoarding and the provision of critical resources to pet owners who find themselves and their animals in unstable situations. Since its launch in 2010, the CIA program has assisted over 4,000 animals that would likely have otherwise become victims of neglect.

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. For more information on the ASPCA, please visit www.aspca.org. For more information on New York Cares, please visit www.nycares.org