Meet the NYC Feral Cat Initiative Team: Megan Wisdom

NYCFCI volunteer, Megan Wisdom, helps community cats in New York City, but she recently had a chance to share some love with a kangaroo in Australia.

NYCFCI volunteer, Megan Wisdom, helps community cats in New York City, but she recently had a chance to share some love with a kangaroo in Australia.

Since the Fall of 2014, NYC Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI) volunteer Megan Wisdom has been sending participants in NYCFCI’s Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) certification workshops a follow-up survey. Megan compiles the information she receives and shares it with the rest of the NYCFCI team. “The main focus of the survey,” says Megan, “is to get Certified TNR Caretakers in communities to connect, so they can work together and share resources.” The results of the survey also inform the NYCFCI team better about the needs of the TNR community.

Megan’s background in technology support for the financial sector makes her an ideal person to handle the important, confidential data collection on Certified TNR Caretakers. So does her intense love of cats. And Megan’s love of animals extends to those she encounters during her travels around the world. The last time she was in Australia, she had the “amazing experience” of holding and bottle-feeding — and being kissed by! — a baby kangaroo.

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

Online Toolkit Provides Social Workers with Resources to Help Pet Owners in Crisis

   

PRPhoto-HPPCToolkit04-FullComprehensive guide, launched today by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, covers topics including domestic violence, homelessness, hoarding, illness, among others

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 – New York, NY – A mentally challenged woman is evicted from her apartment but refuses to enter a shelter because it won’t allow her three cats. An elderly man refuses urgent medical care because he has no one to look after his dog. A domestic violence victim returns to her abuser because he threatens to kill the family pet if she does not.

These are just a few of the many heartbreaking and complex situations faced by New York’s pet owners and by the social workers and human services organizations that help them.

Today, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, a coalition of more than 150 New York City non-profit animal shelters and rescue groups, has launched the Helping People and Pets in Crisis Toolkit, a first-of-its-kind online resource for these front-line professionals.

Divided into six sections covering domestic violence, illness and hospitalization, homelessness, animal hoarding, pet relinquishment, and animal-assisted therapy, the Toolkit offers a comprehensive set of resources, assessment tools, and promising intervention techniques for virtually every type of crisis involving pets and their owners.

PRPhoto-HPPCToolkit03-FullThe Toolkit is an outgrowth of the Alliance’s Helping Pets and People in Crisis program, spearheaded by social worker Jenny Coffey, LMSW. Created in 2008, the program has helped in more than 1,000 individual cases in which New Yorkers faced life-challenging situations involving pets. Coffey assembled the Toolkit from her years of experience combining animal welfare and human welfare in New York City.

“This one-of-a-kind initiative extends the reach of one of the Alliance’s flagship programs,” said Jane Hoffman, President of the Alliance. “Every year, the number of calls we get about pet owners in crisis has grown exponentially, and we don’t foresee any let-up. With the launch of the Helping Pets and People in Crisis Toolkit, we’re able to share what we’ve learned, through our collaboration with dozens of other dedicated animal and human services organizations, about how to help pet owners deal with difficult and often unforeseen circumstances.”

In the Helping People and Pets in Crisis Toolkit, human services professionals will find a wide range of suggestions, intervention strategies and resources to help them assist pet owners in crisis. Each section identifies a problem, explains how to recognize it and suggests ways to address it.

Domestic Violence and PetsDescribes the role pets play in such situations and how to extricate domestic violence victims and their pets from them. Special Features: How to help clients develop a pet-safety plan, request an order of protection, or petition to have a pet registered as a therapy animal.

Homelessness and PetsExplains how to assist the 5 to 10 percent of homeless people who own pets and who are precluded from entering homeless shelters because of the prohibitions against them. Special Features: Links to helpful organizations like the Animal Relief Fund, Feeding Pets of the Homeless, Seer Farms, and Collide; information on Americans with Disabilities Act regulations and on New York City housing programs that allow pets.

Hospitalization and Illness and PetsExplains how to arrange temporary or permanent care of pets for infirm or elderly patients without family or friends. Special Features: Information about temporary care, re-homing, and requesting help from Animal Care & Control of NYC.

Animal HoardingExplains how to recognize and address animal hoarding. Special Features: Animal Hoarding Assessment tool.

Pet RelinquishmentExplains how to help clients deal with life events that may require giving up a pet. Special Features: Tips on re-homing animals.

PRPhoto-HPPCToolkit05-FullAnimal-Assisted TherapyExplains how to identify situations in which pets might play a therapeutic role, helping clients improve their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Special Features: An explanation of the differences among Service, Assistance, and Therapy Animals; links to animal-therapy organizations.

ResourcesProvides a recap of all of the resources mentioned throughout the site. Special Features: Hyperlinks and complete contact information.

Tips & ToolsProvides suggestions for social workers preparing to meet with individuals and families with pets, including tips on how pets can be used to engage otherwise reluctant clients, and what can be learned about an owner’s situation based on the condition of her pets. Special Features: Colorful, easy-to-read charts; links to local pet services for every possible need.

The Helping People and Pets in Crisis Toolkit is just one of the many resources available through the Alliance. To see all of them, visit www.AnimalAllianceNYC.org.

Learn More


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. We are supported entirely by donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals and receive no government funding. Since our founding in 2003, we have remained committed to transforming New York City into a no-kill community by 2015, meaning that no dogs or cats of reasonable health and temperament will be killed merely because they do not have homes. www.AnimalAllianceNYC.org

Media Contacts

Colleen Roche or Courtney Savoia, LAK Public Relations, Inc.
Phone: (212) 575-4545
E-mail: croche@lakpr.com or csavoia@lakpr.com

Posted in Animal Care & Control of NYC, Cats, Dogs, Helping Pets and People in Crisis, Press Release | 1 Comment

Spring Donations Fund Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Clinics in NYC

Because of the generosity of our donors, this young cat was spayed at our April 26 clinic and will not become a 'teen mom' this summer. (Photo by PawPrintsbyDave)

Because of the generosity of our donors, this young cat was spayed at our April 26 clinic and will not become a “teen mom” this summer. (Photo by PawPrintsbyDave)

Thanks to your generosity last month we have raised $7,845 toward spay/neuter clinics for NYC’s feral and stray community cats.

Your response to this crucial campaign was overwhelming, and, in just 11 days, we exceeded our initial goal to fund two clinics (and help 50 cats). As a result, we have hit the ground running. On March 27, the NYC Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI) of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, in partnership with The Toby Project, sponsored a clinic that spayed or neutered and vaccinated 27 cats from high-need areas of NYC in just one day. At this time of year, when Certified TNR Caretakers are continually coming across pregnant cats and litters of kittens, this project has already made an impact toward reducing the number of kittens that will be born this year!

“It’s tremendously helpful to get these services done for rescuers such as myself, thanks to the Alliance and its NYC Feral Cat Initiative,” said Beth, a community cat caretaker, who brought two cats to the clinic on March 27. Beth has been managing multiple community cat colonies and has TNRed more than 225 cats in the last six years. “I am retired now,” she said, “and I have a certain amount of money I can spend. Therefore, clinics like this one really help me help the cats.”

53 cats have been spayed or neutered and vaccinated so far this spring, with more clinics scheduled in the coming months. (Photo by PawPrintsbyDave)

53 cats have been spayed or neutered and vaccinated so far this spring, with more clinics scheduled in the coming months. (Photo by PawPrintsbyDave)

This past Sunday, April 26, we sponsored a second clinic that spayed or neutered and vaccinated 26 cats, and these two successful clinics are only the beginning! The NYCFCI has a third clinic scheduled for May, and thanks to your contributions we will continue to sponsor clinics for targeted communities into the summer months.

More spay/neuter means fewer litters, fewer cats living on the streets, and less euthanasia. Thank you for supporting this life-saving program!

Save a Life. Donate Now.

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

Posted in Cats, Events & Campaigns, Feral Cats & TNR, Fundraising, Spay/Neuter | Leave a comment

A Tale of Two Sisters

Liz Keller of Glen Wild Animal Rescue trained Farrell and her sister Starr to work in the Dog Assisted Therapy Program for inmates at Rikers Island.

Liz Keller of Glen Wild Animal Rescue trained Farrell and her sister Starr to work in the Dog Assisted Therapy Program for inmates at Rikers Island.

by Liz Keller, Glen Wild Animal Rescue

In February 2013 I received a call from Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C) asking if I could take three Pit Bull mix puppies. Glen Wild Animal Rescue normally works with adult dogs, but I had recently founded Rescue Dogs Rescue Soldiers and thought this would be a great time to start training some pups.

The three pups arrived — thanks to transport arranged by AC&C’s New Hope Department and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s AnimalsWheels of Hope program. Looking back over their arrival and their time here with me, it’s obvious they were sent here to fulfill a purpose.

As part of our program we name our dogs in training after fallen soldiers, with the families’ blessings. With great honor, we named one of the pups Farrell (after Sgt. Shawn Farrell), and the second pup was named in honor of Don Starr (the deceased father of one of our trainers who had served in the military).

The third pup was a beautiful male with blue eyes, tall and strong. I had a feeling he would be a good match for Manny — a young college student who works in my Shelter Dog Training Program. In fact, the pup, now named Rocky, has found a great permanent home with Manny.

Back at the sanctuary, I began training Farrell and Starr — who I called “the sisters.” Soon, they started to accompany me and my adult dogs to two upstate juvenile detention centers. The pups loved these visits, and what amazed me is how they instinctively knew what to do. Once at the facilities they would jump out of the van and run and play with the young men we were visiting. At the same time they were being socialized and receiving basic training. I did not realize at the time that all this was preparing them for a very important job!

Pit Bull mix puppies, Starr, Farrell, and brother Rocky, were taken in from AC&C by Liz Keller for training.

Pit Bull mix puppies, Starr, Farrell, and brother Rocky, were taken in from AC&C by Liz Keller for training.

The training with the pups was going very well and I knew that Farrell would make a great service dog, as she loved to retrieve. Starr was very sensitive and was looking good as a therapy dog. I knew that these pups were special and, when the time was right, I would know what to do in regard to their placement.

A few months into their training, I was contacted by a Deputy Commissioner at Rikers Island (part of the New York City Department of Correction). She had heard about my Dog Assisted Therapy Program and was hoping I could bring it to Rikers.

I agreed to meet with her and her staff at the jail. I must admit I was a bit nervous. Accompanied by one of my therapy dogs, Tasha, we were welcomed with open arms. I am proud to say it was an historic day. Tasha was the first therapy dog to step “paws” on the Island, and she even got to visit one of the juvenile boys’ units, which was a great success. I was thrilled. I was invited to bring the program to Rikers.

As I drove home, I began to plan for this incredibly important initiative. I needed dogs who would be comfortable with large numbers of people in a busy environment, the many checkpoints, and the loud noises as the gate opened and closed (pretty much like the noise you hear on Law & Order).

Then the proverbial light bulb went on in my head — the sisters, Farrell and Starr!

Their first visit was unforgettable. The sisters slept most of the way on the drive from Glen Wild to Queens. But, as we approached the jail’s security gate, I asked them, “Are you Rikers ready?” And although they had never been to a jail before, they instinctively knew it was time to go to work.

Farrell, Starr, and their Glen Wild Animal Rescue handlers visit Rikers Island, 'Home of New York's Boldest,' every week to work with the inmates.

Farrell, Starr, and their Glen Wild Animal Rescue handlers visit Rikers Island, ‘Home of New York’s Boldest,’ every week to work with the inmates.

They forged ahead, marching right up to the front door. The “PISSSSHHHHHHHHHHH” noise of the lock popping open did not faze them one bit. They stormed the hallway — chests out front as if to say, “We are here!”

Our first unit was the adult male mental health unit. One by one, with Correction Officers close by, the residents came up to the dogs and were visibly happy to meet them. We heard stories of how many of them missed their dogs at home; one resident even ran and got a picture of his dog.

There was one inmate who, according to his clinician, never came out of his cell. Yet, he did for Starr and he even touched her! My nervousness subsided and I saw how much love and happiness Farrell and Starr were bringing to these men who really needed it.

Then we went on to visit the juvenile boys and girls, and the women’s jails. Farrell and Starr’s tails never stopped wagging, and the residents participated and totally enjoyed the experience.

After our first visit, weekly visits were set up and we have continued to see more and more involvement by the residents we visit. They appreciate what we do and they love our dogs.

As I drove off Rikers Island, I noticed the large sign at the entrance. It stated “Home of New York’s Boldest,” and I thought, yes, these sisters are bold and they are doing a job that they were put on this earth to do.

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

Just in Time for Easter: Rabbit Adoptions & FREE Spay/Neuter

(Photo by PawPrintsbyDave)

(Photo by PawPrintsbyDave)

Back by popular demand, a free spay/neuter clinic for rabbits will be held in Manhattan on March 28, and rabbits will be available for adoption from New York City shelters and rescue groups all spring.

Rabbits can make wonderful pets for people who are ready to meet their unique care needs, but many people who impulse-purchase bunnies as Easter gifts are ill-prepared to meet the challenge. When their maturing new pets’ care demands and prolific breeding habits become evident, many end up releasing their bunnies outdoors, unaware that domestic rabbits cannot survive in the wild. Others give up their pets to animal shelters like Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C) or its rabbit adoption partner, NYC Metro Rabbit, the adoption program of Rabbit Rescue & Rehab. These organizations alone take in roughly 600 rabbits each year, making rabbits the third-largest animal shelter population after cats and dogs.

In December, the New York City Council passed a law banning the sale of rabbits in pet stores. The measure, signed into law by Mayor de Blasio, goes into effect on June 17, 2015. This law will help reduce the number of unwanted rabbits who are brought to shelters or released outdoors. Starting on June 17, any New York City resident interested in getting a rabbit as a new pet must adopt from a shelter or rescue group. Even before that date, we encourage New Yorkers who are prepared to add a rabbit to their family to adopt rather than purchase a bunny from a pet store. All pet rabbits should be spayed or neutered to prevent nuisance behaviors, overpopulation, and displacement.

Oscar was neutered at last year's free rabbit spay/neuter clinic at the Humane Society of New York. (Photo by Sandra DeFeo, The Humane Society of New York)

Oscar was neutered at last year’s free rabbit spay/neuter clinic at the Humane Society of New York. (Photo by Sandra DeFeo, The Humane Society of New York)

Have Your Rabbit Spayed or Neutered for Free on March 28!

The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, in conjunction with the Humane Society of New York, will once again offer a free spay/neuter clinic for rabbits — just in time for Easter!

Saturday, March 28, 2015
The Humane Society of New York, 306 East 59th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues), NYC

Appointments must be made in advance by calling (212) 752-4842. Rabbit owners may be asked to bring their rabbits in for a free check-up a few days before the surgery.

   

(Photo by PawPrintsbyDave)

(Photo by PawPrintsbyDave)

Don’t Shop. Adopt a Rabbit This Spring!

Jane Hoffman, president of the Alliance, encouraged New Yorkers who are considering adding a bunny to their families to adopt from rescue groups and shelters instead of buying rabbits from pet stores.

“Adopting provides many benefits,” explains Hoffman. “Like all New York City shelter animals, shelter rabbits are spayed or neutered before they are given to their adopters to take home. Also, adoption counselors are expert matchmakers, and they can provide guidance on how to care for rabbits, which is very different from caring for cats and dogs.”

Among the many places New Yorkers can adopt rabbits are the Humane Society of New York; the Manhattan location of Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C); Petco’s East 86th Street and Union Square stores and some Petland Discounts locations, which have rabbits and adoption counselors from NYC Metro Rabbit; Brooklyn’s Sean Casey Animal Rescue, and Long Island Rabbit Rescue Group.

If you see a rabbit below who you would like to meet, please contact his/her shelter or rescue group for more information.

   

   

Posted in Alliance Participating Organizations, Events & Campaigns, Pet Adoption, Rabbits, Spay/Neuter | 2 Comments