ASPCA Supports ACC and Other Agencies to Assist Pet Parents Affected by Queens Fire

April 16, 2021


As part of the NYC Animal Planning Task Force, the ASPCA recently assisted local agencies, including NYC Emergency Management and Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), with the aftermath of an 8-alarm fire that occurred in a Jackson Heights Queens apartment building on April 6. The following day, we received an update from The Red Cross that there were approximately 25 families with pets impacted in this tragedy.


After receiving this information, we quickly activated our temporary disaster hotline for impacted residents and sent members of the ASPCA Community Engagement (CE) team to the building to begin assisting residents with supplies, information and connecting them to veterinary care. So far, members of the CE team have provided nearly 40 pets with necessary supplies. This included pet food, leashes, collars, toys, bowls, litter, training pads and other critical items.

a photo of the building from the outside

Photo of scene above provided by ACC.

“We’ve been able to help those displaced by the fire with essential supplies and veterinary care,” says Mo Khaled, ASPCA Community Engagement Manager. “There’s been a number of guardians concerned about smoke inhalation and other medical concerns in their pets, who we’ve been able to set up with appointments with our vet partners. This includes helping with transportation and costs.”


Lisa Kisiel, Casework Manager for the Community Engagement team, and Mo Khaled with a dog impacted by the fire. Mo and Lisa helped the dog’s guardian by providing supplies and scheduling a veterinary appointment for the dog to receive care.

"As a member of the Hispanic community and son to immigrant parents, this disaster and response were personal to me. After remaining on standby throughout the night, ACC’s field team entered the severely damaged building the minute we were given access,” says Sebastian Bolanos, LVT and Director of Animal Health for ACC. “The team was grateful for the opportunity to reunite many families with pets they thought they had lost forever. It was a sliver of happiness in such a heartbreaking environment, and it was incredible to witness first-hand how willing to help the community both the ACC and ASPCA teams were." 


ACC staff were on-site to assist residents and their pets.

As we continue to work with other agencies to ensure that these residents and their pets get the care they need, we are continuing to provide information for pet resources to the residents directly. 

“The ASPCA is helping to meet the urgent needs of pet owners displaced by this devastating fire by providing supplies, pet food and other vital services,” said Colleen Doherty, Senior Director of ASPCA Community Engagement. “We are proud to be among the collaboration of New York City agencies connecting critical resources to the people and animals who need them most so that pets can remain with their families following this emergency.”   


The Animal Planning Task Force was created by New York City Emergency Management to develop plans and assist pet owners during disasters—both natural and otherwise. The task force includes representatives from the ASPCA, Animal Care Centers of NYC, Animal Haven, Best Friends, Bideawee, Humane Society of the U.S., NYC Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare, Mayor’s Alliance for Animals, NYC Veterinary Emergency Response Team, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Paws NY, New York State Animal Protection Federation, American Red Cross of Greater New York and more.


“Partnerships like these make it possible for New Yorkers, their pets and assistance animals to receive the attention and care they deserve. NYC Emergency Management plans for the whole community, and that includes our pets and assistance animals,” said Andrew Perlman, NYC Emergency Management.