Alliance Helps NYCEM Launch NYC COVID-19 Pet Hotline

ALERT: As part of the NYC Emergency Management Animal Planning Task Force, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals helped launch the NYC COVID-19 Pet Hotline to provide NYC residents with the emergency resources, support, and information needed to care for their pets during the COVID-19 crisis. If you need assistance, please call the NYC COVID-19 Pet Hotline at (877) 204-8821.

Posted in Animal Care & Control of NYC, Helping Pets and People in Crisis, Safety/Emergency | Leave a comment

Creative Animal Lover Turns Difficult Times Into an Opportunity to Help

Photo by Susanna Fitzgerald

Susanna Fitzgerald is making a difference for NYC’s homeless pets despite the upheavals caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. She recently wrote to the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals about her plans to make cage comforters “during the current craziness. I just ordered some fabric today to support my local sewing shop.” She asked the Alliance to help direct her donations to animal rescue organizations that can use them.

Susanna’s proactive plan demonstrates a sensitive and generous approach to transforming tough times into an opportunity to further the greater good. Not only are her efforts providing much-needed comfort for animals awaiting adoption in local shelters, but also supporting businesses facing extreme financial challenges during these uncertain times. 

We applaud Susanna’s generous and creative initiative, and are excited to be the connector to get the cage comforters into the hands of shelters and rescue organizations that can use them in their shelters and adoption centers now, and on their adoption vans when public adoptions and group events are once again permitted.

If you’d like to take a page from Susanna’s playbook and use some of your down time as you shelter in place on a creative sewing project for for shelter animals, visit our website for step-by-step instructions for sewing cage comforters. Then contact the Alliance at, and we’ll work with you to ensure that your creations reach the animals who need them most.

Update (May 8, 2020): Donated Cage Comforters Ease Transition for Cats Left Homeless by COVID-19

Photos by Susanna Fitzgerald
Posted in Cats, Dogs, Pet Adoption | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Animal-Friendly Legislation Moves NYC Toward a More Humane Future

Editor’s note: Although we realize this article isn’t immediately relevant to the current COVID-19 emergency gripping the headlines, we wanted to share the information with our readers because we believe it demonstrates the promise of a positive future.

In November 2019, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed Int. 1478 into law, establishing an Office of Animal Welfare. The local law goes into effect on March 25, 2020, giving the Office the power to advise and assist the Mayor in the coordination and cooperation between agencies relating to animal welfare administration, regulation, management, and programs. This is the first office of its kind in the United States, and only second in the world, following Mexico City. As it is currently planned, the Office’s work will address four main areas: companion animals, working animals, wildlife, and the animal advocacy and animal care community.

In February 2020, Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals President Jane Hoffman met with Christine Kim, Senior Community Liaison for Animal Welfare in the Community Affairs Unit of the NYC Mayor’s Office. Mayor de Blasio created this position in 2015, in response to a white paper titled New York City Animal Welfare Priorities 2014, delivered to the new administration by NYCLASS, the Alliance, and the ASPCA. The first item identified in the proposal was the establishment of an office to oversee policy related to the care of domestic and wild animals.

“It’s exciting to see a single liaison position evolve into a municipal office with its own staff,” says Jane. “This is an important step forward for New York City’s animals.”

On February 28, Alliance Director of Communications Steve Gruber delivered testimony before the New York City Council’s Committee on General Welfare in favor of Int. 1483 and Int. 1484, which address the need to accommodate pets of NYC’s homeless population who are barred from the city’s homeless shelters if they are accompanied by their pet(s). He cited successful models of co-sheltering of pets with their people by Urban Resource Institute (URI), the largest provider of sheltering for families experiencing domestic violence in NYC, and also the co-sheltering of pets at NYC’s emergency shelters during declared disasters.

“We feel strongly that the human-animal bond is critical during times of crisis or stress,” said Steve. “For many people facing homelessness, their pet may be their only source of comfort and stability.”

Steve continues to represent the Alliance on the Animal Planning Task Force (APTF) of NYC Emergency Management (NYCEM). NYCEM created the APTF to develop and help implement plans for disasters — both natural and otherwise. Steve has sat on the APTF since 2006. The task force also includes representatives from Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), the ASPCA, NYC Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT), the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), and other non-profit organizations and City agencies.

Posted in From the President, Helping Pets and People in Crisis, Policy & Legal, Press Release, Safety/Emergency | Leave a comment

Alliance President Mentors Students in Animal Law

In keeping with the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals’ new focus in 2020 — particularly in mentoring individuals and organizations — Alliance President Jane Hoffman guest lectured a law class at NYU School of Law on February 5, 2020, at the invitation of Professor Mariann Sullivan. The class discussion focused on policy. Jane described how lawyers can help shape policy for the benefit of animals and further, how lawyers can go beyond creating and advocating for animal-friendly laws and help shape public opinion.

Jane presented examples of policies that began with the Alliance’s strategic plan and the initiatives outlined in the plan that fueled the steady decrease in euthanasia at NYC’s animal control shelters and the resulting rise in the live release rate since 2003. One of the Alliance’s core programs examined by the class was the NYC Feral Cat Initiative. That program helped to usher in policy changes in the way stray and community cats are treated in New York City and contributed to the passage of Local Law 59, which provides protections for community cats and their human caretakers.

For many years, Jane has encouraged young lawyers to become members of Animal Law Committees in their communities and, where no Animal Law Committee exists, to start one with their local Bar Association. As early as 2002, Jane presented a lecture on The Role of Bar Associations in the Development of Animal Law at the UCLA School of Law. She is a Founding Member and former Secretary and Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee, the first of its kind in the United States, and was awarded the inaugural Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award from the American Bar Association (ABA) TIPS section at the ABA Annual Conference held in San Francisco in 2007. Earlier this year, Jane was awarded the SEEDS Award by the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR). This newly created award honors individuals and not-for-profit entities that have made exceptional contributions to the important and burgeoning field of Animal Law.

As a result of Jane’s class lecture in February, she subsequently met with one of the law students from the class and encouraged her to become a student member of the Animal Law Committee. Additionally, Jane will introduce her to other leaders in the field of animal welfare who can continue to act as mentors.

Posted in From the President, Policy & Legal, Press Release | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alliance Shares Lifesaving Experience with Saint Louis Petlover Coalition

Photo by Steve Gruber

In keeping with the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals’ new direction for 2020, Alliance President Jane Hoffman met with the Saint Louis Petlover Coalition in St. Louis, MO, on January 15, at the invitation of the Coalition’s host, Nestlé Purina PetCare Company. The Alliance’s Director of Communications, Steve Gruber, also participated in the meeting.

Catherine “Cat” Small, Shelter Program Lead for the Nestlé Purina, based in St. Louis, and a guiding force behind the Coalition for the past several years, invited the Alliance to share with the Coalition — represented by leaders of local shelters, rescue groups, and animal control agencies — strategies that proved successful in the Alliance’s efforts to move New York City’s live release rate from 26% in 2003 to a sustained 90%-plus live release rate for the past three years.

Jane presented a PowerPoint to the group at their bi-monthly breakfast meeting. Following her presentation, individual discussions with some of the group’s participants opened the door to future follow-up discussions and meetings with group members.

In 2019, the Alliance redefined its core initiatives. One of those initiatives is to act as a consultant, advisor, and mentor to communities nationally — sharing our knowledge and proven best practices to communities seeking to increase live release rates of shelter animals.

Posted in From the President, Pet Adoption | Leave a comment