Three Good Reasons to Adopt A Little New Yorker Today®!

Three Good Reasons to Adopt A Little New Yorker Today®!

1. November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month.

Although any time of the year is a good time to open your home to a senior pet, National Senior Pet Month might be a particularly good time because it’s the month of Thanksgiving. And what could make an older dog, cat, or rabbit waiting in a shelter more thankful than to be welcomed into a new home?

Sadly, many senior pets are waiting in shelters for a loving home. And while shelter life can be hard on any animal, it can take a greater toll on seniors, who might have spent their entire life with a loving owner who died or, because of health or financial circumstances, no longer can care for their loyal companion. These older animals, who still have so much life and love to share, often are overlooked by adopters hoping to adopt a puppy or kitten.

But making a case for adopting an older pet is easy! For starters, senior pets are likely to be more mellow and relaxed than youngsters. Their personalities are fully developed, so you generally know exactly who you’re bringing home with a senior pet. Older pets generally are more adaptable to their new home. They can be great stress relievers, enjoying leisurely walks and gentle play. And they usually demand far less attention than a puppy or kitten, adapting to their new owner’s lifestyle instead of the other way around.

So if you’re considering adopting, do yourself (and some lucky older pet) a favor and consider adopting a senior. If you’re not looking to adopt but want to do something positive for senior pets, you might consider supporting the Grey Muzzle Organization. This organization improves the lives of at-risk senior dogs by providing funding and resources to animal shelters, rescue organizations, sanctuaries, and other non-profit groups nationwide.

2. Give a Shelter Pet a Home for the Holidays.

With the holiday season just around the corner, you have the opportunity to give the greatest gift of all – a loving home! – to a rescue dog, cat, or rabbit. For many households, the holidays provide an ideal time to introduce a new member to the family. The kids are home from school, parents often have more time off from work, and with more people working from home these days, a newly adopted pet can get lots of attention to help acclimate to a new home.

Whenever you plan to adopt, be sure you include the whole family in the decision. Ideally, take the kids and any other members of the household who will be involved in your new pet’s care when you go to meet your new family member. While surprising a spouse or child with a new pet might sound like a good idea, it’s not! For everyone’s sake, including the new pet, you’ll want to make sure everyone in the household is on board with the decision and prepared to give your new pet the best and most devoted family possible.

If the holidays aren’t the right time for you to adopt, you can always wait until after the first of the year, when life for some people settles down after a hectic holiday. A gift certificate from a shelter or rescue group can make a wonderful gift, followed by a family visit to the shelter after the holidays to meet all the great animals awaiting new homes.

3. Adopting a Pet is a Win-Win Proposition.

We’ve been through a punishing pandemic. We’re not across the finishing line yet. And if you’ve made it this far without the comfort and companionship of a furry, four-footed friend, then you deserve to reward yourself. You’ve probably heard the term “pandemic pets,” referring to the pets people acquired during times of isolation and stress over the past 18 months. Companion animals can shine a light in our lives during the darkest of times. When we make the lifetime commitment to adopt a homeless pet, we can reciprocate by shining a light into their life. The result? We both enjoy a brighter future!

Read more about adopting a pet.

Locate a shelter or rescue group in the New York City area. 

Not ready to adopt? Then consider fostering a pet instead.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we offer our sincere thanks to the thousands of people who have heeded our call to Adopt A Little New Yorker Today®, and to our many supporters who have helped sustain us in our mission to make New York City a better place for animals. We invite you to support our efforts as we continue to work to improve the lives of NYC’s animals and the people who care for them.

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Pet Adoption, Pet Fostering, Rabbits | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Global Cat Day 2021: Killing Cats is Not the Answer

Cats worldwide are under attack. Governments and lawmakers continue to enact legislation that supports animal control practices that trap and kill thousands of cats around the globe.

Last week on Global Cat Day 2021,  Becky Robinson, Alley Cat Allies’ President and Founder, and a globally recognized defender of cats, called for an end to the killing of cats, and a shift to the sustainable, nonlethal neutering and returning of cats to their outdoor homes.

“While many civic leaders have applied scientifically-proven, humane and nonlethal approaches for managing cats, it is urgent for all municipalities to embrace this successful model,” says Becky. Her message on Global Cat Day is a call to action for compassionate approaches for cats and all animals around the world.

To underscore that message, Alley Cat Allies produced an informative video that debuted on Global Cat Day 2021. In the video, Becky exposes flawed excuses and assumptions being used to kill cats as “immoral, cruel, and with malicious intent.” Emma Hurst, a member of the Australian Animal Justice Party and a member of the New South Wales Parliament, joined Becky in the video for a discussion that highlights the global nature of the war on cats. 

An Effective and Humane Solution: Trap-Neuter-Return 

We prioritize the sterilization of cats to benefit them and our communities. And the most effective and humane method of reducing their numbers is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)

With TNR, concerned cat enthusiasts toil daily to get community cats spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and returned to their outdoor home. Here they are fed and provided medical care. Over time, the number of cats diminish through attrition. Further, friendly cats who are candidates for adoption are removed and prepared for a new life indoors. 

Long-term studies across the country show that TNR not only reduces cat populations, but also allows the cats to live out their lives healthily. What’s more, these programs save taxpayers money by reducing animal service calls and relieving the burden on shelters. And neighborhoods become quieter as mating behavior decreases. Moreover, TNR is the humane and sustainable option for managing cat populations.

Reducing the number of free-roaming cats through TNR is a part of a much larger solution for protecting our environment and the countless species with which we share our planet. Such proactive efforts, often paid for by TNR volunteers out of their own pockets, should be encouraged and emulated, not thwarted by restrictive and unrealistic laws and regulations. Their efforts not only provide a humane solution for the cats, but also benefit public health and safety. They serve as an example to our fellow citizens and lawmakers of how humans, the most powerful stewards of our planet, can take responsibility for creating a more humane and sustainable world for all species.

Posted in Feral Cats & TNR, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Are Your Pets Prepared for Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season is far from over, which creates a season that demands greater awareness and preparation for people with pets.

Hurricane Ida roared through New York City and surrounding areas just as September, aka National Preparedness Month, began. Sadly, more than 50 people were killed by the heavy rains and flooding in the Northeast, including 13 people in New York City.

Hurricane season is far from over, and threats from more deadly storms remain. Those threats, combined with lingering risks from the COVID-19 pandemic, create a potentially complicated season that demands greater awareness and preparation for everyone, including – and perhaps especially – people with pets.

To raise awareness about emergency preparedness, NYC Emergency Management held its annual Protecting One Another: Pets and Service Animal Preparedness Fair on September 9th in Union Square Park. As a member of the Animal Planning Task Force of NYC Emergency Management since 2006, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals has worked with the City of New York and numerous task force partners over the years to create and implement a comprehensive plan to keep New Yorkers and their pets safe when disaster strikes. 

We encourage you to read the informative Ready New York: My Pet’s Emergency Plan, (also available in other languages and audio format) on the NYC.gov website. You’ll find a great deal of useful information to help you:

• Make an emergency plan that includes all members of your family, including your pets;
• Provide your pets with adequate identification (including microchips for dogs and cats and licenses for dogs) to help reunite them with you should you become separated;
• Prepare a “go bag” that contains the supplies and information you’ll need to have close at hand should you and your pets need to evacuate your home; and
• Discover other helpful tips, which you might not have considered.

In the event that the City’s emergency shelter system is opened, and you cannot shelter your pets at a kennel or with friends or relatives outside the evacuation area, pets are allowed at all City evacuation centers.

Check out the Alliance’s Prepare Your Pets for Emergencies page for additional links to information from a range of emergency preparedness expert sources, including American Red Cross, American Veterinary Medical Association, ASPCA, Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), RedRover, and others.

The HSUS video, Evacuate your pets safely during disasters, provides some useful preparedness tips.

Are Your Pets Microchipped?

Having your pets microchipped is one of the best ways to increase their chances of being reunited with you if you become separated. Check out our website and also the Michelson Found Animals website for important information. Read about why the most important step in microchipping your pet is to register the microchip with a microchip registry, and to update the information whenever you change your address or phone number. And when you register the microchip, it’s always a good idea to provide a secondary contact, such as a trusted friend or family member, in case you cannot be reached.

A registered microchip is extremely important as a permanent means of identifying your dog or cat. But we also recommend having a dog tag affixed to your dog’s collar that displays your current phone number. If your dog is found running loose, a Good Samaritan can quickly call you and let you know your dog has been found and make arrangements to be reunited with you.  

Posted in Microchipping, Safety/Emergency, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Domestic Violence Victims with Pets Face Increased Risk During Pandemic

For victims of domestic violence (DV), the pandemic created an added level of danger. Studies showed that incidents of DV increased dramatically as COVID-related lockdowns were instituted around the world. The pandemic created a perfect storm for the often-silent epidemic of intimate partner violence. Isolation, stresses resulting from job loss, financial insecurity, housing and food insecurity, and lack of availability of resources to assist DV victims all contributed to an increased rise in DV activity. 

Domestic violence victims who decide to leave abusive situations can face many difficult choices. But for DV victims with pets, these choices can be even more distressing if they don’t have options for their pets. Fifty percent of DV survivors say that they would not consider shelter for themselves if they could not take their pets.*

A Pathway to Safety

Fortunately, today in New York City there is a pathway for pet owners to seek safety with their animals. But it wasn’t always that way.

In 2006, the Mayor’s Alliance created Helping Pets and People in Crisis (HPPC), a pilot initiative exploring the reasons why so many pet owners were surrendering their animals because of domestic violence and other crises. At the Mayor’s Alliance, the early phase of the program helped to highlight the new concept of surrender prevention support and raise awareness of new ways animal welfare programs could collaborate effectively with human service agencies. By engaging with traditional social services, the program responded to more than 1,500 different cases and facilitated creative solutions aimed at keeping pets with their families as an alternative to animal relinquishment. Now based at Animal Haven, HPPC continues to aid the most marginalized pet owners experiencing crises.

Under the management of Jenny Coffey, a social worker with a decade of animal welfare experience, HPPC has developed strategies and best practices for keeping pets and their families together. She is quick to say there isn’t one solution for every situation and each case must be managed uniquely. 

“Building partnerships with human service agencies is critical,” says Jenny. “These solutions take time, resources, community support, and a universal understanding that people love their pets and they will do anything for them. If human service providers fail to see their clients’ bond with their animals, they will miss an opportunity to help and potentially create an added barrier for families to access safety.”

One collaboration in particular is worth noting. In 2013, the Alliance began its most impactful partnership with Urban Resource Institute (URI), the largest provider of services for DV victims in New York City. Sharing essential support to URI in the form of crucial expertise and technical assistance, the Alliance helped URI create its People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) pilot program. 

PALS was the first program for victims of domestic violence in New York City — and one of the few offered nationwide — that offers co-sheltering for families and their pets. The program allows families and their pets to shelter in the emergency facility, preserving the welfare and safety of all. Since its creation, the PALS program has assisted hundreds of pet owners, and today is offered in at least seven of URI’s shelters throughout New York City. The program serves as a model that can be extended to more shelters across the state and country and has awakened funders of both social service and animal welfare to their important role in creating new responses for these at-risk pet owners. Today, more funders, including PurinaPetSmart CharitiesRed Rover, and others, have joined the crusade.

Challenges Remain

While tremendous progress has been made in the provision of services to DV victims with pets, challenges and gaps remain. For example, the PALS program has more units that accommodate families, leaving single pet-owners with fewer options. Also, the program limits emergency sheltering to six month, which presents challenges to many families when their time in the shelter is up. Moreover, New York City homeless shelters, which often are sought out by DV victims seeking safety, do not accept pets, leaving individuals and families with the heartbreaking choice of remaining in a dangerous situation or leaving their pets behind.

Update: On August 26, 2021, the New York City Council passed Intro 1483/1484, legislation that expands shelter access for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness with pets.

Fortunately, today in New York City, even in the wake of the pandemic, DV survivors have more resources available to them than ever before. If you or someone you know is living with domestic violence, help is available. For information, please visit http://www.animalalliancenyc.org/needhelp/domesticviolence.htm.

*According to the Urban Resource Institute website.

Posted in Helping Pets and People in Crisis | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Maddie’s Fund Awards Dr. Lila Miller 2021 Avanzino Leadership Award

On Saturday, July 10, 2021, Maddie’s Fund honored Lila Miller, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), with a presentation of the 2021 Avanzino Leadership Award at the ASPCA Cornell Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Conference. The award recognizes significant achievement and courage to look beyond the status quo and make bold decisions to improve the lives of pets and their people. 

Considered the mother of shelter medicine, Dr. Miller is a pioneer and leading voice in veterinary shelter medicine. She transformed the lives of countless pets, educated a generation of students, and paved the way for women of color in veterinary medicine. She blazed a trail that broke barriers, as she was one of the first two African American women to graduate from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1977. 

 A longtime resident of New York City, Dr. Miller developed the first veterinary-written guidelines for shelter animal care, which are now used across the country. She wrote and taught the first course in shelter medicine in the US and co-founded the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV)

Dr. Miller spent 40 years trailblazing in the animal welfare field. She spent a majority of her career working for the ASPCA as the head and director of the ASPCA’s Brooklyn Clinic for 15 years before transitioning to her roles as veterinary advisor, Vice President of Veterinary Outreach, followed by the Vice President of Shelter Medicine. Dr. Miller retired in 2019. Her career at the ASPCA began when the ASPCA held the contract with the City of New York to operate the city’s municipal shelter system. In 1995, that contract was transferred to the Center for Animal Care and Control of NYC (CACC), which later was renamed Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC).

Maddie’s Fund is the national family foundation established by Dave & Cheryl Duffield to revolutionize the status and well being of companion animals. The Avanzino Leadership Award was first presented in 2016, and is named after Rich Avanzino, widely recognized as the father of the no-kill movement and the President of Maddie’s Fund from 1999 – 2015. 

multi-million-dollar, multi-year grant from Maddie’s Fund to the Alliance and New York City that began in 2005 powered the Alliance’s collaborative success in transforming New York City into a no-kill city.  It helped to elevate ACC into the thriving animal care organization it is today.

Mary Ippoliti-Smith, Executive Leadership Team member at Maddie’s Fund, opened the virtual award ceremony by announcing Dr. Miller as this year’s Avanzino Leadership Award winner. She introduced Elizabeth Wanaselja, representing the NYC Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare, who read a letter of commendation from Mayor Bill de Blasio recognizing Dr. Miller’s outstanding contributions to shelter medicine.   

Mary enumerated the kudos bestowed upon Dr. Miller by numerous other political dignitaries. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s office issued a Proclamation that proclaimed July 10 as Dr. Lila Miller Shelter Medicine Day in New York City. Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick presented a Proclamation via video that also designated July 10 as Dr. Lila Miller Shelter Medicine Day in Ithaca.

Commendations also were received from U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Representative Tom Reed, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and New York State Assemblywoman Deborah Glick. Mary announced that Dr. Miller would be honored further on Monday, July 12, when NYC’s Times Square jumbotron would feature Dr. Lila Miller Shelter Medicine Day.

Mary offered special thanks to Mayor’s Alliance President, Jane Hoffman, Maddie’s Fund Director of Marketing & Communications, Sharon Fletcher, and Executive Director of the NYS Animal Protection Federation, Libby Post. Jane was instrumental in connecting Maddie’s Fund with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare’s Director, Christine Kim, and to Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Dr. Miller appeared understandably surprised and awed by the tremendous accolades bestowed upon her. She made an eloquent acknowledgement speech in which she thanked Maddie’s Fund for the award and named many of the individuals who influenced her success over the years. Perhaps her most moving acknowledgement came when she spoke of her longtime friend and colleague, the late Julie Morris, whose visionary leadership at the ASPCA played a critical role in some of the most important developments in the animal welfare field. Dr. Miller dedicated her most recent shelter medicine textbook to Julie.

The award is presented with a $25,000 grant to be designated by its recipient. Dr. Miller designated ACC as the recipient of this year’s grant.

Jane and Alliance Director of Communications Steve Gruber were on hand for the virtual ceremony. Says Jane: “I have known Lila for years and she is one of my heroes. Steve and I were thrilled to be able to attend the presentation. 

“Moreover, we are beyond grateful for the critical support the Alliance and our 150 shelter and rescue partners received from Maddie’s Fund over the years,” Jane continued. “We owe much of our success in saving the lives of more than 350,000 dogs and cats in New York City to Maddie’s Fund’s generous support and resolute belief in our mission to transform New York City into a no-kill community.”

Jane wanted to acknowledge two individuals from the Manhattan Borough President’s Office who worked behind the scenes to produce the Proclamation: Twilla Duncan and Tyrone Bowman, who handle Proclamation requests for the office. As an interesting side note, Twila adopted her dog Chase from ACC in 2008.  Chase is an unofficial community affairs staffer for Manhattan Borough President Brewer. 

Chase

Addendum August 31 2021:
Maddie’s Candid Conversation with Dr. Lila Miller
Watch the recording of Maddie’s Fund’s recent conversation with Dr. Miller, where she talks not only about her amazing achievements, but also her unique perspective on the role of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in animal welfare.  Watch now >

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment