February 27, 2019

Third Time’s a Charm: ASPCA Donates Dog Coats at Bronx Events


ASPCA Community Engagement Caseworker Mohamed Khaled with Anthony M. and his dog, Princess.

For the third year in a row, the ASPCA’s Community Engagement and Community Medicine teams held a coat giveaway for dogs during Winterfest 2019 at St. James Park in the Bronx’s Highbridge neighborhood on Saturday, February 23.

In addition, the National Latino Peace Officers Association’s (NLPOA) Bronx County Chapter and the NYPD’s 40th Precinct Community Council held a concurrent event at The Church of St. Anselm and St. Roch, where ASPCA staff and volunteers distributed dog coats, as well as cat toys and other pet supplies. Coats were also distributed to local human residents.

“We ran out of dog coats during the first 30 minutes,” explains Ana Hernandez, ASPCA Community Engagement Coordinator who helped staff the church event. “We lost count after 100!”


ASPCA staff and volunteers gather with officials from the NYPDs 40th Precinct during Saturday’s coat drive at The Church of St. Anselm and St. Roch in the Bronx. 

At the Winterfest event, Victoria R.’s one-year-old Dachshund, Wally, proudly posed for photos in a preppy new plaid coat, one of more than 90 distributed there. Maribel M. and her nephews chose a sweater for Dory, their 18-month-old Maltese-mix, while Jose S. and his daughter, Sarai, chose a similar coat for their four-year old terrier-mix, Max. ASPCA Community Engagement Coordinator Caitlin Byrne fitted Sampson, a brown and white Bulldog-mix, with an olive-green coat.


Victoria R. her Dachshund, Wally, with ASPCA Community Engagement Caseworker Mohamed Khaled.


Left: ASPCA Community Engagement Coordinator, Caitlin Byrne with Sampson and his pet parent, Ramone S. Right: Jose S. and his daughter Sarai with their four-year-old terrier, Max.

“Collaborating with agencies like the NYC Parks Department—host of Saturday’s Winterfest—allows us to highlight our partnership with the NYPD, now in its sixth year, and enable us to engage directly with pet owners so we can offer resources and schedule appointments for cats and dogs that need spaying or neutering or wellness services,” explains Dara Ruiz, Senior Manager of Community Engagement in New York. 

She adds that the ASPCA’s partnerships with city agencies offer the Community Engagement and Community Medicine teams a chance to meet social service providers who often refer pet owners who may need services for their animals. 

At least 30 clients visiting Saturday’s events made spay/neuter and wellness appointments for their pets, including Anthony M., whose three-year-old pit bull, Princess, will soon be spayed at an ASPCA Mobile Clinic. Princess walked home wearing a new quilted coat, an appropriate choice for the 40-degree temperatures. 

In 2018, the ASPCA assisted more than 1,100 pets in the Bronx, according to Jessica Sweeney, Manager of Community Engagement.

“We want the community and pets alike to enjoy the outdoors,” explains Cathy Mitchell, Deputy Center Manager at Hunts Point Recreation Center. “Winterfest is just one of many special events inspiring residents to be active. With organizations like the ASPCA, we’re able to introduce sports, fitness and educational programs and other resources to the community.”

The coat giveaway idea was conceived by Community Medicine’s Administrative Coordinator, Selena Edwards and Erin Earley, Director Community Services and Engagement for New York, during a community council meeting at NYPD’s 44th Precinct in 2017. 

“Our partnerships are crucial to helping the ASPCA connect with local residents and their animals,” explains Erin. “We’re grateful for the chance to provide free resources and information so people can keep their pets healthy and happy.”


Left to Right: ASPCA volunteer Calvin Prashad, ASPCA Community Engagement Caseworker Mohamed Khaled, and Maribel M. with nephews Liam and Dylan, and their dog Dory.