2019 Wheels of Hope Transport Program Update

Wheels of Hope (Photo by Krista Menzel)

It has recently come to our attention that there is some confusion and misinformation circulating via social media and email regarding our Wheels of Hope program. We have been sharing details since earlier this year with the animal shelters and rescue groups that utilize Wheels of Hope services. We’d now like to take this opportunity to provide the public with a greater sense of clarity about the future of the program and the transition ahead.

First, a little background: The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals was created more than 16 years ago as an umbrella organization of animal welfare in New York City, with the express mission to make NYC a no-kill city. Before the Mayor’s Alliance’s founding in 2003, the live release rate at NYC’s municipal shelter system, Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), was less than 25%. Today, thanks to the programs and services created by the Mayor’s Alliance, coupled with the work and dedication of the more than 150 Alliance Participating Organizations, ACC’s live release rate is now above 90% for the third year in a row. We are proud of this tremendous success and the ecosystem of animal welfare we have created and sustained in NYC.

Each year since our ten-year strategic plan was completed in 2013, and since we accomplished our mission to make NYC a no-kill city, the Mayor’s Alliance has reevaluated our programs and how they serve the always-evolving landscape of animal welfare in NYC. Our most recent evaluation of our Wheels of Hope transport program and how it meets the current needs of our community revealed that transitioning this program to new administration now would be the best way to continue to serve NYC’s animals and the organizations that help save their lives.

Since 2005, the Mayor’s Alliance has provided free transport service via Wheels of Hope. This unique program has moved more than 100,000 animals to no-kill animal shelters and rescue groups over the years. As our number of transports has continued to decline each year due to the success in increasing adoption rates and decreasing shelter intake rates at ACC, and as ACC has garnered support to create its own in-house transport program, we feel the time is right to evolve Wheels of Hope. We have been thoughtfully and carefully arranging this transition over the past several months.

The Mayor’s Alliance, ACC, and Best Friends Animal Society are currently working side-by-side to develop solutions. Best Friends will be offering some short-term out-of-state transport for rescue partners, with the goal of supporting the transition time needed to build a long-term plan. In the meantime, the Mayor’s Alliance will continue to provide transport services outside of ACC’s programs, such as trap delivery and spay/neuter transportation for Certified TNR Caretakers.

We hope this information clarifies any inaccuracies you may have read recently in other online forums. We truly appreciate receiving so many messages of support and incredibly kind words about what Wheels of Hope has meant to the NYC-area animal rescue and shelter community for the past 14 years. It has been an honor and a joy to transport so many homeless NYC shelter pets to bright, happy futures.

Posted in Alliance Participating Organizations, Animal Care & Control of NYC, Press Release, Wheels of Hope | Leave a comment

Rock & Rawhide to Present Adoptapalooza Union Square on May 19

Sean-Patrick Hillman of Rock & Rawide and Jane Hoffman of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals at Adoptapalooza Union Square on May 31, 2015. (Photo by PawPrintsByDave)

Sean-Patrick Hillman of Rock & Rawide and Jane Hoffman of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals at Adoptapalooza Union Square on May 31, 2015. (Photo by PawPrintsByDave)

New York Animal Advocacy Non-Profit Assumes the Helm of the Largest Adoption Event in New York City

Thursday, April 11, 2019 – New York, NY – Adoptapalooza, New York City’s Original Mega Pet Adoption Event, which has found homes for more than 17,000 homeless pets since it was first presented by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals (“the Alliance”) in 2010, will make its 2019 debut under new leadership — that of the New York-based animal advocacy and awareness organization, Rock & Rawhide.

This widely anticipated bi-annual, family-friendly event, which features more than 500 dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, and rabbits for adoption from over 30 animal shelters and rescue groups, is the preeminent pet adoption event in the New York metropolitan area. For the past nine years, Adoptapalooza has been one of the Alliance’s key lifesaving initiatives that have helped Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) achieve its current live release rate of more than 90 percent.

“As the landscape of animal welfare in New York City has evolved and the rescue groups and shelters have increased their capacity in lifesaving, the Alliance has continued to reevaluate its programming,” said Jane Hoffman, the Alliance President. “We feel that the time is right to pass the mantle of Adoptapalooza to Rock & Rawhide, an organization that we have worked with over the years to build the event into the tremendously successful pet adoption venue it has become. We are excited to see what they will do with this incredible platform.”

Sean-Patrick M. Hillman, Rock & Rawhide’s chairman and co-founder, and his wife and co-founder, Kylie Edmond, are uniquely suited to assume management of the event, having assisted with promotion and logistics for Adoptapalooza since the Alliance moved the event from Washington Square Park to Union Square in September 2012.

“As the emcee and co-host of Adoptapalooza, I have had the honor of standing on that stage every May and September over the last seven years, keeping the crowd rocking and adopting all day,” said Hillman. “Now that we are taking charge of this platform, we are going to put our best paw forward to continue in the spirit the Alliance set forth while growing this pawesome bi-annual event to new heights.”

Adoptapalooza Spring 2019 will take place on Sunday, May 19, 12–5:00 p.m. in the North Plaza of Union Square Park, across from Petco Union Square.

Learn More

Rock & RawhideAbout Rock & Rawhide
Rock & Rawhide aims to increase adoptions and quality of life for dogs and cats in shelters, by providing distraction therapy and noise/stress reduction through the donations of toys, tough chew items, Kongs, Nylabones, bones, rawhides, blankets and more. If a dog is chewing, it’s not barking! If a cat is playing, it’s not meowing! Less noise = less stress. In turn, dogs and cats can pass their evaluations at shelters, and show more of their personality, making them more adoptable. We collect items through regular donations, music gigs, visual art shows, culinary events, DJ events, drop box programs, and more. Rock & Rawhide also helps to produce adoption events in major markets across the country. rockandrawhide.org

Media Contact

Sean-Patrick M. Hillman
Co-Founder, Rock & Rawhide/CEO, hillSTORY Marketing
Phone: (917) 440-4448
E-mail: Sean-Patrick@hillstory.com

Posted in Alliance Participating Organizations, Cats, Dogs, Events & Campaigns, Pet Adoption, Press Release | Leave a comment

Wheels of Hope Saves Bella, the Wheelchair Pug!


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but sadly, Bella found herself without a place to call home this week.

On December 18, Bella — a sweet, wheelchair-toting, 10-year-old Pug — was surrendered to Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), New York City’s open-admission municipal shelter. Her elderly owners loved her dearly, but due to financial challenges, were unable to care for her any longer.

Thankfully, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s AnimalsWheels of Hope transport program was able to pick up Bella the morning after she was surrendered.

After some snuggles, we brought Bella to our friends at Little Shelter Animal Rescue & Adoption Center, who were eager to meet her and help her find her next home.

So many shelter pets like Bella need your help before the year is over.

Please give generously this holiday season to make sure NYC’s neediest shelter pets can catch a ride to a happy new year!


Save a Life. Donate Now.

Thank you, and happy holidays to you and your two-footed and four-footed family members!

The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity.
All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Posted in Alliance Participating Organizations, Animal Care & Control of NYC, Dogs, Fundraising, Pet Adoption, Wheels of Hope | Leave a comment

2018 Was a Great Year for Community Cats and TNR in NYC!


2018 was an extremely productive year for the NYC Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI) of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. As we reflect on this year’s accomplishments, we are pleased to share details with you on how we were able to continue to help countless community cats by educating and supporting Certified TNR Caretakers, collaborating with government and private organizations and individuals, and spreading the word about Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) via the media and events.

First, though, we have exciting news about our upcoming TNR workshops…

(Photo by Marc Birnbach)

TNR Workshop Locations to Expand in 2019!

You asked, we listened! Beginning in January 2019, the NYCFCI will offer all of our TNR specialty training workshops in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs! And we’ll continue to offer our TNR certification workshops in locations outside of Midtown Manhattan.

Also starting in 2019, TNR certification workshops hosted at the ASPCA’s Midtown office will be taught and managed by the ASPCA. Further information about registering for the ASPCA’s courses will be available soon.

(Photo by Krista Menzel)

2018: A Banner Year for the NYCFCI

We certified more than 900 TNR caretakers and taught 12 specialty workshops on our most requested topics — taming kittens, building winter shelters, bottle-feeding kittens, and more.

Did you know that we have a Petfinder page where we post courtesy listings of adoptable cats and kittens for Certified TNR Caretakers who don’t have their own Petfinder pages? In 2018, 91 cats found homes through the NYCFCI Petfinder page.

Through our TNR colony registry, we helped hundreds of caretakers network with each other and work together to help their cats. Our Certified TNR Caretaker email help desk has helped hundreds of caretakers — from novices to advanced colony caretakers — work through tough situations with injured cats, difficulties with property owners, and other TNR challenges.

The Alliance’s Wheels of Hope transport program continued in 2018 to be a reliable and valuable resource for TNR caretakers needing to get cats to and from spay/neuter clinics. Wheels of Hope also provided support for our workshops, transporting training materials to our many workshop locations throughout the five boroughs.

We are extremely gratified that we were able to strengthen our community collaborations in 2018, working with the New York Police Department, Fire Department of New York, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and a host of other city agencies, Precinct Community Councils, and Community Boards, as well as private landowners and developers.

The NYCFCI continued in 2018 to be a resource for reporters and other media specialists interested in reporting on the myriad aspects of community cats and TNR. Media coverage for 2018 included The New York Times, New York Post, Brooklyn Daily, and Scientific American; and Channel 7 Eyewitness News, PIX11 News, and WKCR-FM. The NYCFCI is featured in the 2018 documentary, The Cat Rescuers. We published three community cat-focused articles in Pet Lifestyles Magazine. Kathleen O’Malley, the NYCFCI’s Director of Education, presented at Jackson Galaxy’s Cat Camp in May and spread the TNR message at numerous tabling events throughout the year.

Many thanks to each and every one of you who has helped to make New York City a more humane home for our community cats! We look forward to 2019, and the many opportunities that await to continue to support your TNR efforts!

(Photo by Maggie O'Neill)

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

Hundreds of Dogs, Cats & Rabbits Find New Homes at Union Square Pet Adoption Event

Garfield from NYC Teens for Animals was just one of hundreds of animals who found new homes at Adoptapalooza in Union Square Park, Manhattan, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. (Photo by Joe Galka)

Garfield from NYC Teens for Animals was just one of hundreds of animals who found new homes at Adoptapalooza in Union Square Park, Manhattan, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. (Photo by Joe Galka)

500 homeless dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, and rabbits seeking forever homes appeared at NYC’s largest pet adoption event hosted by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.

Sunday, September 16, 2018 – New York, NY – New York City’s largest annual pet adoption event — Adoptapalooza — took place today in Manhattan’s Union Square Park, where more than 500 homeless animals put their best paws forward to impress the hundreds of potential adopters who attended the popular annual fall event.

Presented by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals in partnership with the Petco Foundation, Adoptapalooza offered fun for the entire family — two- and four-legged alike.

The wonderful pets looking for new families at Adoptapalooza — all spayed/neutered and vaccinated — were presented for adoption by 40 local shelters and rescue groups that participate in the Alliance.

Alliance President Jane Hoffman offered good reasons for adopting a family pet from a shelter or rescue group instead of purchasing from a pet store or irresponsible breeder:

  1. Shelters and rescue groups know their animals’ personalities and are great at matching pets with prospective owners.
  2. Adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue group avoids supporting puppy mills, which breed animals under cruel and deplorable conditions.
  3. Shelters and rescue groups offer a wide variety of breeds and mixes, including many pure breeds.
  4. Rescue pets have already been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and many have been microchipped; and adoption fees generally are considerably lower than fees charged by pet stores and breeders.
Among the 40 shelters and rescue groups that attended Adoptapalooza, AMA Animal Rescue brought Chow Chow mix, Fluffy, and other wonderful pets looking for forever homes. (Photo by Joe Galka)

Among the 40 shelters and rescue groups that attended Adoptapalooza, AMA Animal Rescue brought Chow Chow mix, Fluffy, and other wonderful pets looking for forever homes. (Photo by Joe Galka)

Hoffman, who was on hand for the event, said, “Adoptapalooza is a wonderful opportunity for New Yorkers to meet hundreds of animals and find the perfect fit for themselves and their families. And by choosing adoption, you’re able to consult with individuals who have spent time with and know the animals, to help you make the most appropriate choice for your family.”

Hoffman thanked the event’s title sponsor, the Petco Foundation, other sponsors, and the army of volunteers and participating rescue organizations that participated in today’s event. She expressed a special thank-you to “all the wonderful adopters who came out today and offered these animals loving new homes.”

In addition to pet adoptions, today’s event featured free microchipping for dogs and cats by Vetco; tricks and training tips from a Petco certified trainer on the dog training field; dog licensing by the NYC Department of Health; emergency preparedness information from New York City Emergency Management/ Ready New York and American Red Cross Greater New York Region; face painting and fun temporary tattoos for kids by The Cheeky Chipmunk; caricature portraits of people and pets by Lorelei Arts; personalized illustrations by the Society of Illustrators; giveaways by the NYC Department of Sanitation; free pet photos by PetTrakr and Pet Lifestyles Magazine; free personalized pet ID tags courtesy of the Alliance; and giveaways and information from event sponsors, including the Petco Foundation, Animal Medical Center – Usdan Institute for Animal Health Education, Blue Buffalo, Merrick, Weruva, and WholeHearted.

Rock & Rawhide, a non-profit organization that distributes donated supplies to shelters and rescue groups, collected clean blankets, towels, and pet toys to distribute to NYC-area shelters. Representatives from the NYC Feral Cat Initiative of the Alliance, Pets for Vets, Wild Bird Fund, Wild Dog Foundation, and AmbuVet were on hand to provide information about their life-saving activities.

The event was emceed by Stephanie Mattera, Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals Spokesperson, and Sean-Patrick M. Hillman, Chairman, President & Co-Founder of Rock & Rawhide.

Learn More View Event Photos

Mayor's Alliance for NYC's AnimalsAbout the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals®
The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that works with more than 150 partner rescue groups and shelters to offer important programs and services that save the lives of NYC’s homeless animals. The Alliance is supported entirely by donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals and receives no government funding. Since its founding in 2003, the Alliance has remained committed to transforming New York City into a community where no dogs or cats of reasonable health and temperament will be killed merely because they do not have homes. AnimalAllianceNYC.org

Media Contact

Steve Gruber, Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals
Phone: (917) 359-6003
E-mail: steve@AnimalAllianceNYC.org

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Posted in Alliance Participating Organizations, Animal Care & Control of NYC, Cats, Dog Licensing, Dogs, Events & Campaigns, Feral Cats & TNR, Microchipping, Pet Adoption, Pet Care & Training, Press Release, Rabbits | Leave a comment