August 9, 2018

ASPCA Helps People and Pets at National Night Out

Susan Villa, Miguel Torres with Cindy Birchell and her dog
Left to Right: The ASPCA’s Susana Villa and Miguel Torres with Cindy Birchall and her dog, Blanche, at the East L.A. National Night Out event.

For the third straight year, ASPCA representatives joined police officers to celebrate National Night Out on Tuesday, August 7. ASPCA staff and volunteers participated in a total of 16 events in New York City’s five boroughs, as well as in Los Angeles, California, and Miami, Florida.

Established in 1984, National Night Out is an event observed annually around the country to promote positive police-community relationships in order to reduce crime and make neighborhoods safer.

In New York, L.A. and Miami, the ASPCA’s Community Engagement (CE) teams work every day in neighborhoods with limited resources for pets to ensure that residents have access to supplies and services for their furry friends. Their work is often referred to them by local police officers.

In New York City, the ASPCA’s official partnership with the NYPD dates back to 2014, with the NYPD taking the lead role in responding to all animal cruelty complaints in NYC, while the ASPCA provides direct care for animal cruelty victims. 

Despite hot temperatures in all three cities, residents lined up for pet care information and free supplies at local parks and police precincts across the country. Police and elected officials were also present to show support.

the ASPCA with NYPD officer in the south bronx
Police Officer Sanjay Gidarisingh, Neighborhood Coordination Officer, with The ASPCA’s Paul Mayr, Erin Satterthwaite and Mo Khaled at National Night Out in the South Bronx’s 40th Precinct.

“This precinct always does a great job,” said Mohamed (Mo) Khaled, an ASPCA Community Engagement Caseworker in the Bronx, where streets in the 40th Precinct were transformed into a summer block party, teeming with bounce houses, musical performances, food vendors and non-profits distributing information services for children, families, seniors, and thanks to the ASPCA—pets.  

“Everyone knows about the ASPCA, but at this event people can find out where to get the services they need for their pets,” added Mo.

National Night out in Jackson Heights
Left: The ASPCA’s Amie Saladis with Officer Timothy Hepworth of the 120 Precinct in Staten Island during National Night Out; Right: Marisol Andino and her dog, Dexter, visit the ASPCA in the South Bronx.

After just two hours, Mo, along with the ASPCA’s Erin Satterthwaite, Legal Advocacy Counsel; Brian Fitzpatrick, IT Project Manager; and Destiny Rivera, Benefits Coordinator, had signed up nearly 60 pets for veterinary services and two dozen for spay/neuter surgeries.

ASPCA and NYPD in the 40th precinct
Police Officers in the Bronx’s 40th Precinct with (L to R) the ASPCA’s Brian Fitzpatrick, Mo Khaled, Destiny Rivera and Paul Mayr.

Kemani and Quinyjah Rivers, sisters who live in East Harlem with their Yorkshire Terrier, Jamie, and cat, Mickey, visit their National Night Out event in the 25th Precinct every year.

“It’s educational and offers a lot of opportunities to get involved in our community,” explained Kemani.

At Miami’s Liberty City event, Community Engagement Manager Marlan Roberts reported that residents were very receptive to the ASPCA. Jose Rivera, a resident who attended National Night Out with his family, took home free pet supplies. “Our dog loves toys, so these will be put to good use,” said Jose.

In East L.A.’s Salazar Park, Cindy Birchall visited the ASPCA with her three-year-old Chihuahua, Blanche, whom she recently acquired from a relative who is terminally ill and could no longer care for Blanche.

National Night out in LA
The ASPCA participated in two National Night Out Events in L.A., including this one in Baldwin Park.

Community Engagement Manager Miguel Torres offered Cindy assistance with basic veterinary care as well as pet supplies, making it possible for Cindy to keep Blanche as she transitions to becoming a new pet owner. 

More than 500 adults and children attended the L.A. County event at a Target store in Baldwin Park, where ASPCA staff and volunteers interacted with nearly 100 residents and provided food for just as many pets. 

“We spoke to people about the importance of spaying and neutering and handed out flyers to our free spay/neuter clinic,” said Community Engagement Senior Manager Erica Macias. 

National Night out in Jackson Heights
At the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights, Queens, Lilliana Ortiz with her mom Carolina Valdez stop by the ASPCA table for pet supplies.

The success of the ASPCA’s Community Engagement program enabled the organization to participate in 16 events nationwide this year—an increase from 12 in 2017. 

At the 42nd precinct in New York, where the ASPCA was present for the first time, residents signed up their pets for wellness visits and spay/neuter appointments, and the ASPCA’s Mobile Adoptions team found homes for five cats.

In Miami, the City of Miami Police Department upped its events to three from just one last year, and the ASPCA attended all three in Shenandoah Park, Liberty Square and the Northside District.

National Night out Miami
Left to Right: ASPCA Corporate Counsel Lauren Brunswick, City of Miami Chief of Police Jorge Colina and Community Engagement Director Susan Cardoso at the City of Miami PD’s National Night Out event in Shenandoah Park.

“Our team has done an incredible job building relationships with police departments in these cities,” said Colleen Doherty, Senior Director of ASPCA Community Engagement. “The stronger our relationships, the more doors that open for opportunities to help people and pets in communities where we work.” 

“We could not have this level of participation without the support of our volunteers as well as staff,” emphasized Colleen.

“This is what creating safe, healthy and happy communities is all about,” added Marlan Roberts, Community Engagement Manager in Miami. “To see the community come together with law enforcement and other key stakeholders for a good cause couldn’t lead to a better outcome.”