Agreement with City Also Calls for Expansion of AC&C Board
New York, NY – Wednesday, September 21, 2011 – Following many months of intense negotiations, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, and NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable & Safe Streets) expressed support for a legislative package (Intro. 655) being voted on today by City Council. In addition, the negotiations resulted in a commitment to expand the Animal Care & Control (AC&C) board.
The legislation would improve New York City’s animal shelter by:
- Requiring animal receiving centers in the Bronx and Queens, as well as field services, to operate seven days a week, 12 hours per day (up from one and two days a week, respectively, and limited field services);
- Ensuring the maintenance of full-service animal shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island;
- Requiring owners to spay or neuter any owned cats who are free roaming outdoors (or face a fine; such cats would not be seized under the new legislation);
- Implementing rules that support trap-neuter-return (TNR); and
- Requiring the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to provide a report 24 months from the day the bill is signed that will provide key data on trends on the progress and quality of care at each full-service animal shelter and animal receiving center.
In addition to the legislation and funding increase, this agreement also provides for the expansion of the board of AC&C by two public members (for a total of six public members), with the goal of appointing individuals who not only have a passion for New York City’s animals but also operational and fundraising expertise.
The legislation specifically articulates authority for expansion of services and facilities. The language states, “Nothing contained in this chapter shall be deemed to limit the department’s authority to offer additional services or facilities to facilitate the decline in numbers of unwanted and uncared for animals in New York City.”
As a result of this legislation, an additional $1 million will be invested into NYC AC&C this year, and by July 2014 the City’s annual budget for sheltering and services will exceed $12 million, a 77 percent increase over current funding.
“We cannot stand by and let animals suffer in our city,” said Ed Sayres, president and CEO of the ASPCA. “Intro. 655 is an immediate solution in the midst of this crisis. We absolutely believe that there must be animal shelters in all five boroughs, but we need urgent support now! We are particularly pleased by the hallmark aspect of this agreement, which is the expansion of the AC&C board. We call on the City to expand the board by year’s end.”
“Providing these additional funds now will allow AC&C to hire new staff, including management positions, kennel technicians, adoption counselors, dog walkers, canine and feline assessors and veterinary staff,” Sayres added. “Additionally, quality control coordinators, staff trainers and New Hope staff are needed to help facilitate quality of care and placement of more animals.”
“In these tough fiscal times, access to increased monies for programs and services that have been stretched so thin is a welcome change,” added Jane Hoffman, president of the Mayor’s Alliance. “Providing this infusion of critical resources will help save more lives and prevent animal suffering. We applaud Council Member Lappin, Speaker Quinn, and the Mayor’s Office for addressing these issues.”
“Restoring such key services is essential to not only saving more lives of dogs and cats, but also improving public safety for New York City’s residents,” said Steve Nislick, co-president of NYCLASS, a non-profit animal welfare and advocacy organization devoted to improving the quality of life for residents and animals of the City of New York. “The Mayor’s office, Speaker Quinn, Council Member Lappin, as well as the Health Department should be commended for tackling these critical concerns for New Yorkers.”
“We look forward to continued dialogue with the Administration, the Council, and Speaker Quinn on how we can work to make long term improvements to AC&C so that we can improve the lives of New York City’s two- and four-legged residents,” said Sayres. “This means revisiting the issue of board composition and enhancing it to have a compliment of members with operational expertise as well as the ability to fundraise. A well-funded animal control program decreases potential threats to public health and safety. It’s good for everybody.”
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animal welfare. One million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. www.aspca.org
About the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals®
The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Inc., founded in 2002 and powered by Maddie’s Fund, The Pet Rescue Foundation, with support from the ASPCA, is a coalition of more than 150 animal rescue groups and shelters working with Animal Care & Control of New York City (AC&C) to end the killing of healthy and treatable cats and dogs at AC&C shelters. To achieve that goal, the Alliance, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, helps its Alliance Participating Organizations (APOs) work to their highest potential to increase pet adoptions and spay/neuter rates, with the goal of transforming New York City into a no-kill community by 2015. www.AnimalAllianceNYC.org
New Yorkers for Clean, Livable & Safe Streets is a 501(c)(4) non-profit animal welfare and advocacy organization devoted to improving the quality of life for residents and animals of the City of New York. NYCLASS works to end the inhumane practice of the carriage horse industry and promote a clean and safe alternative to this outdated tradition. In addition, NYCLASS actively participates in other animal-related issues of importance in New York City. NYCLASS seeks to improve the city’s civic fabric and raise the level of public discourse on these issues by building public support for our initiatives. www.ny-class.org
Anita K. Edson, ASPCA
Phone: (646) 522-5056
Steve Gruber, Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals
Phone: (917) 359-6003
Scott Levenson, NYCLASS
Phone: (212) 239-7323