There have been horror stories about the state of New York’s Animal Control shelter, but an agreement reached today might turn everything in a much better direction, as reported in a press release on the Let Ella Live Facebook page.
An agreement between Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn, Council Member Lappin, Health Commissioner Farley, Animal Care and Control of NYC, the ASPCA, and the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals will result in the addition of staff, receiving hours, and stray pickup, as well as reduction of the feral cat population in the city.
The agreement focuses on increasing adoption rates for shelter animals while simultaneously reducing euthanasia rates. Spay and neuter programs will also diminish the overall rate of animals needing shelter, because of less unwanted pregnancies resulting in strays entering the shelter system. Trap-neuter-return programs for cats will reduce the feral cat population, and dog licensing requirements will not only add revenue to the city but also assist owners in relocating lost pets. With approximately 500,000 dogs in the city, the Health Department estimates that only 20 percent of them are licensed.
The city has agreed, over the next three years, to increase its investment in the shelter system by approximately 10 million dollars. In 2011 alone, they will invest an additional one million dollars, with a 2014 goal to exceed 12 million, allowing for a possible hiring of 100 new staff members.
According to Bloomberg in the press release, despite the majority of New York pet owners’ pet care and compassion, 40,000 animals enter the shelter system annually due to owner surrender or negligence.
Another component of the agreement will include Lappin’s sponsorship of a fall bill that would:
- Accept dogs and cats in Queens and the Bronx 12 hours a day, seven days a week, up from 8 hours a day, one or two days a week;
- Pick up stray, injured or abandoned dogs and cats 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with a particular focus on Queens and the Bronx where there are no full service shelters. Vans will be available around the clock to respond to situations that threaten public health;
- Issue rules to register trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs for the control and eventual reduction of feral cat populations;
- Require that all owned free-roaming cats be spayed or neutered to reduce the number of unwanted and feral cats; and
- Require the Health Department to issue a report 24 months from the day the bill is signed that will provide key data on trends on the progress at each full service animal shelter and receiving center.
Any efforts that are made to increase adoption and reduce euthanasia in a high-intake city shelter should be applauded, and we can only hope that with success in New York, other city animal control shelters will follow suit.
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