Developing: Two New Animal Recovery Facilities for Victims of Cruelty and Neglect

July 15, 2021

Man with brown dog

We’re excited to announce the development of two new animal rehabilitation and recovery centers to add to our current facilities providing much-needed care for abused and neglected cats and dogs. The facilities, which will open in Columbus, OH, and Pawling, NY, will significantly improve the quality of life for some of the country’s most vulnerable animals, including those rescued from hoarding, animal fighting, puppy mills, cruelty, and abandonment, and improve their chances for adoption.

In Pawling, NY, we’re building the ASPCA Recovery & Rehabilitation Center, an approximately 50,000 sq. ft. facility that will provide advanced behavioral and medical interventions to effectively shelter, rehabilitate and rehome canine victims of cruelty and neglect. The Recovery & Rehabilitation Center, which is slated to open in 2023, will work in conjunction with the ASPCA’s existing Gloria Gurney Canine Annex for Recovery & Enrichment and the Animal Recovery Center in New York City, which provide care for animals rescued through the ASPCA’s partnership with the New York City Police Department. Many of the cats and dogs who are rescued through the partnership exhibit behavior and medical challenges as a result of the abuse and neglect they’ve suffered, which can make it challenging for them to be adopted into homes. The Recovery & Rehabilitation Center, which will focus on treating dogs with severe stress, hyperarousal and reactivity, will allow the ASPCA to more than double our current capacity to care for the animals rescued through the NYPD partnership as well as victims of cruelty and neglect from across the country.

And in Columbus, OH, we will open a permanent Cruelty Recovery Center later this year—a more than 100,000 sq. ft. space dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of animals rescued from large-scale cruelty situations across the country. The Cruelty Recovery Center will support the ASPCA’s national field response work, which has resulted in the rescue of more than 35,000 animal victims of cruelty and disasters across 38 states in the past 12 years. When the ASPCA deploys to assist local agencies with cases involving animal cruelty or neglect it often provides support with operational planning, field operation expertise, evidence collection, veterinary forensic exams, forensic behavior evaluations, medical care, sheltering and enrichment, and behavioral treatment for the animals, as well as legal and investigative support in criminal cases to ensure the best outcome for the cases and the rescued animals. Facilities such as the Cruelty Recovery Center, and in some cases temporary field shelters, are needed to provide the expertise, time and space for animals to heal and recover during the pendency of criminal cases. The Cruelty Recovery Center also ensures that regional brick-and-mortar shelters that may not have the capacity to take in a large population of animals are able to focus on their lifesaving work for other animals in their communities while the ASPCA provides ongoing sheltering, medical and behavioral care for victims of cruelty and neglect until disposition is determined by the court.

“The behavioral and psychological impact of cruelty and neglect on dogs and cats is both devastating and complex, and the ASPCA is responding to this multifaceted challenge by expanding our programs to address behavior-related barriers to adoption,” says Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO. 

Building on the strong foundation created by the success of our existing rehabilitation centers in North Carolina and New York City, these new facilities will increase the organization’s capacity to care for victims of animal cruelty, conduct research and develop diagnostic and treatment protocols to advance the animal welfare field. We will share new knowledge through publication, professional and academic conferences, and the Learning Lab, our interactive, educational program focused on integrating science-based behavioral care into all aspects of animal sheltering.

Bershadker says, “Rescuing animal victims from horrible conditions is only the first step. We also strive to give them the greatest chance for recovery. These specialized programs will help us learn how to be even more effective in preparing these vulnerable animals for life in a loving home, and we look forward to sharing our learnings with the animal welfare field.”