ASPCA Celebrates Earth Day with Community Outreach Event
Isadora Peraza-Martinez, Community Engagement Coordinator for the ASPCA’s CIA program, with Tori, an eight-year-old NYPD K9.
While demonstrators nationwide gathered in support of the sciences, and some cities celebrated by going car-free or sprucing up gardens and parks, the ASPCA celebrated the 47th Earth Day in New York City with the NYPD’s Patrol Borough of Staten Island (PBSI) at Corporal Thompson Park, promoting health and wellness for people, pets and the earth.
Despite scattered drizzle that at times threatened heavy rain, the event proceeded on Saturday, April 22, with more than 20 human, animal and earth-friendly organizations offering information about their products and services.
From left: ASPCA Law Enforcement Liaison James Dean; Colleen Doherty, Senior Director of the ASPCA’s CIA program; NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, Special Projects Inspector PBSI; Erin Earley, Senior Manager of Community Services and Engagement for the ASPCA; NYPD Deputy Chief Donna Jones, Executive Officer for PBSI.
“This event speaks to the ongoing efforts of the ASPCA-NYPD Partnership to impact New York City communities through grassroot events that bring together pets and people,” said David Little, Senior Law Enforcement Liaison for the ASPCA.
NYPD Deputy Chief Donna Jones, Executive Officer for PBSI, had visited the ASPCA’s first-ever East New York Pet Fair in 2016 and wanted to carry out a similar event in Staten Island.
“We wanted to do something fun,” she said. “We strive to ensure the community sees our soft side, and we want the people to know that we care about pets, too.”
Isadora Peraza-Martinez, Community Engagement Coordinator for the ASPCA’s CIA program, with Tori, an eight-year-old NYPD K9, and Tori’s handler, Officer Charles Murphy.
Mascots like Tori, an eight-year-old black Labrador and certified police K9, walked the grounds with her handler, Police Officer Charles Murphy, readily performing high-fives and other commands. Carmine, a six-year-old yellow Labrador owned by Detective Jennifer Torino of PBSI, took a front row spot with representatives from all the participating agencies during a photo shoot prior to the start of the event.
Lauren Hecht, with son Jonah, watches her daughter Samantha give the FDNY’s life safety mascot, EMT Siren, a high-five.
Humans dressed like animals, including McGruff the Crime Dog and FDNY mascots Hotdog and EMT Siren, also posed for photos. An ASPCA kids booth and pet photo booth, as well as an NYPD rock wall for climbing, a pet costume contest and giveaways of earth-friendly biodegradable products were among the many offerings.
Julia Holmes and Sarah Ritchie, two of the first attendees, brought their gray-and-white Shih Tzu, Teddy, and one-year-old tabby cat, Marty. Both animals were once strays—Teddy was found on the streets of Philadelphia, and Marty in a backyard at just four weeks old—and their owners wanted vaccines for Marty and a behavior consult for Teddy, which ASPCA staff and volunteers provided. Marty also received a free nail trim courtesy of Amy’s Pet Palace, a local cat and dog grooming service.
Julia Holmes’ Shih Tzu Teddy received a new ID tag.
Despite the ambiance of barking dogs, Marty, who was secure in a harness or in his carrier, didn’t seem to mind. NYPD Traffic Officer Carmen Pena, a cat-rescuer and foster herself, recounted the many cats she’s rescued while stroking Marty’s soft fur.
NYPD Traffic Officer Carmen Pena, right, with Sarah Ritchie and her cat, Marty.
Yesenia Garcia, a college student, brought her one-year-old pit bull, Michael, for a license and behavior advice. “He pulls a lot,” she said of Michael, whom she and her boyfriend found abandoned beside a trash can on Coney Island. Katherine Good, an ASPCA Community Engagement Coordinator, fitted Michael with a harness to give him a more comfortable walk and Yesenia better control.
The ASPCA’s Katherine Good, Community Engagement Coordinator, adjusts a new harness for Michael, Yesenia Garcia’s one-year-old pit bull.
Nilsa and Gumersindo Cruz, local residents who saw the event advertised on a flyer, brought Prince, their four-year-old Shih Tzu, for a license. Dr. Danielle Delfino, an ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH) veterinarian, examined Prince before Nilsa purchased a license for him from the NYC Department of Health.
The ASPCA’s Isadora Peraza-Martinez, Community Engagement Coordinator for the Cruelty Intervention Advocacy program, and Brian Fitzpatrick, an IT Project Manager, manned the ID tag station, creating free name tags for many of the pets.
At lunchtime, a line of would-be adopters congregated at the ASPCA Mobile Adoptions Vehicle, waiting to meet adoptable cats and dogs. Eileen Hanavan, Senior Manager of Offsite Adoptions and Foster Programs, reported that three cats and two dogs, including Tigger, a pit bull rescued by the NYPD, were adopted by late afternoon.
Tigger, a pit bull rescued by the NYPD, was one of two dogs adopted at PBSI and ASPCA’s Earth Day celebration.
“Events like this help us connect with the community,” said Erin Earley, the ASPCA’s Senior Manager of Community Services and Engagement. “We chose Earth Day to celebrate wellness for people, pets, and the earth—a triple bang!”
The ASPCA and NYPD PBSI wish to thank the following for their participation: Administration for Children’s Services, Amy’s Pet Palace, Animal Care Centers of NYC, Bikers Against Child Abuse, Community Agency for Senior Citizens, CompleteCare Veterinary Center, Department of Sanitation, Family Justice Center, FDNY Recruitment, Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, National Agency for Mental Illness, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, NYC Parks Department, NYPD Recruitment, Orangetheory Fitness, Project Hospitality, Safe Horizon, and the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office.