Help and Homes Wanted: Animal Care & Control (AC&C) of New York City
In a city of eight million people, a shelter is required to take in all animals that come. No wonder it has the most animals in need. It’s likely the first place to which a found, lost, stray or abandoned animal is brought, and it’s the place many people come to relinquish their pets.
New York City ’s shelter operation, Animal Care & Control, accepts nearly 40,000 animals each year. Since 1995 it has functioned as a non-profit organization, yet it bears responsibility for the municipal shelter system by rescuing and finding homes for the abandoned and homeless animals in all five New York City boroughs. It runs three full-service adoption sites, seven days a week, in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
Community initiatives such as adoption events and a liaison with outreach groups have increased the survival rate for the animals. Yet AC&C acknowledges that there is much work to be done to reach the highest possible adoption success rate.
The task is prodigious. At any given time, there are 1,000 cats, dogs, and rabbits in the AC&C system. Most of them will be adopted. Not all are available for adoption at once, but many are ready to be taken home right now.
Why AC&C Matters to Friends of Animals
Our pioneering low-cost spay-neuter project began when Friends of Animals did, in 1957. It’s always been a central feature of our work. We’re committed to ending the epidemic of homeless cats and dogs that dooms millions. We work at the root of the problem: enabling sterilizations.
And even as we explain to our members why it’s not a good idea to support breeders and pet shops, businesses continue to churn out dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals. Their activities place a heavy burden on the people who work in municipal pounds and rescue groups.
We hope to support the goal of increasing adoptions and ensuring the word “shelter” is meaningful. An important part of that is advising the public about the situation at Animal Care & Control of New York City.
If you live in New York, you might have noticed the exciting new AC&C website. It’s designed to make crucial information easy to find, and to facilitate searches of the animals available for adoption. It has information on volunteering. Friends of Animals’ nationwide low-cost spay-neuter network is linked there too.
Many new AC&C positions are opening — new staff will be hired within the year, and 60 openings are planned for next year. Adoption counsel will comprise nine posts; an adoption supervisor will be hired to increase both on-site and off-site adoptions.
Perhaps some of our readers will apply for the new posts; we encourage your interest and look forward to supporting you. But everyone, whether we live in New York or not, can change the world for homeless pets. I met with AC&C Executive Director Julie Bank to learn how. What I have found so far through our discussions is good advice for an entire society to follow.
How Everyone Can Help Animals in Need
1. Take personal responsibility. Understand, and encourage others to understand, that adopting an animal is a lifetime commitment. Sterilize your animal (and work with a trap-neuter-return group to do the same for any feral cats around your property). Take the time and maintain the patience to actively care for animals, so the burden is not shifted to others.
2. Support the shelter. Improve the lives of the shelter animals and help them to get adopted. Becoming a dog-walker; volunteer for lifesaving adoption counsel work. Foster homes are needed now. To apply to be a volunteer in these or many other ways, visit www.nycacc.org
3. Adopt an animal into your home. About the animals in search of homes through the AC&C sites of Manhattan, Brooklyn or Staten Island. Julie says, “Some people think these animals are broken, but it’s the situation that brought them here that is broken. It’s a human problem that brought them here, and by adopting an animal, you are saving a life.”
I can vouch for Julie’s statement, having toured the Manhattan shelter extensively as I wrote this article. I wanted to spend time with each cat, dog and rabbit. From babies to mature cats and dogs, from purebreds to mutts, there’s an incredible array of gorgeous animals waiting to be adopted!
Benefits of Adopting From AC&C
Each adopted pet at AC&C goes to their new home having been spayed or neutered, and provided with initial vaccines, including a rabies vaccine, licensing and microchips for cats and dogs. Cat have had their virus tests and are microchipped. Cats are place in a case and dogs on a lead, to facilitate the journey home.
All adopted animals get one free month of pet health insurance. Each animal gets a free wellness exam by a community veterinarian; this is valid for 10 days after adoption.
Adoptable Pets Flyer—Weekly Action You Can Take
Encouraging friends and family, co-workers and acquaintances to adopt from AC&C can help to change the inaccurate negative perceptions that keep adopters and volunteers from helping the animals there. A wonderful grassroots initiative that’s had great success in increasing adoptions and public awareness is the Adoptable Pets Flyer that AC&C issues. Visit www.nycacc.org and sign up for this weekly flyer; each features three animals available for adoption, with adorable photos of each animal, along with the name and adoption number for each.
Julie Bank says promoting the weekly adoption flyer to family and friends is a simple thing every New Yorker can do. “Blast it out to everyone in the universe,” Bank urges.
You can print out the flyer from your computer and post it up anywhere and everywhere: your laundry room, on a school, salon or supermarket bulletin board, at work, at a health club…anywhere it will be seen.
You can also post and send out the weekly adoption flyer though online social media and show people pictures of the beautiful animals ready to be adopted right now. Julie ponders the amazing possible results in regards to increasing adoptions in NYC if “eight million people sent that flyer around.” So sign up today!
Let’s help make New York City’s shelter work for animals who need it. Let’s spread the good word about the efforts being made by AC&C to reach their goal of finding loving homes for each and every animal they accept. And if you’re looking for the dog, cat or rabbit of your dreams, you can be sure that special someone is waiting for you in New York City. Visit the AC&C website right now and see: www.nycacc.org.
AC&C is open seven days a week, from 12pm-7pm.
AC&C — Manhattan Animal Care Center
326 East 110 th Street
New York , NY 10029
(between 1 st and 2 nd Avenues)
AC&C — Brooklyn Animal Care Center
2336 Linden Boulevard
Brooklyn, NY 11208
AC&C — Staten Island Animal Care Center
3139 Veterans Road West
Staten Island , NY 10309
Go to the AC&C’s website at www.nycacc.org to view adoptable animals, apply to be a volunteer or job position, and for other important information.