Within the next year, the New York City Animal Care and Control department will create an adoptions department as part of an initiative to help more New York City animals find homes.
AC&C experienced severe budget cuts a few years ago, causing the department to lose half of its workforce. In order to help animals find homes, they were forced to rely on volunteers and other rescue groups such as the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals and the American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
With the help of AC&C’s New Hope department, over 15,000 animals were pulled out of the AC&C to be adopted and transferred to other shelters.
“Funding is an important component to any adoption and outreach program,” said Brian Shapiro, New York state director for the Humane Society in the United States.
Increased funding from the city enabled AC&C to hire back some staff and build up the adoptions department. They hope that with a new $13 million budget they will be able to expand the agency staff from 150 to 250, make adoption counselors available, better use social media and hold more adoption events.
“It’s wise that the AC&C is utilizing these resources and partnering with groups in the community,” Shapiro said.
In 2003, 74 out of 100 animals that went to the AC&C were euthanized, but at the end of last year, only 30 out of 100 were euthanized, saving 230,000 cats and dogs. With the growth of social media, more people are seeing that there are more animals in need of homes.
“We welcome these changes,” said Jane Hoffman, president of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. “We can keep euthanasia down because of transfers, but it’s always good to have people adopt directly. We can look for an increase in adoptions in AC&C.”
Hoffman also noticed an increase in people who want to adopt rather than buy a pet, to spay and neuter their animals and to provide a lifetime of care to their pets. Owners are also becoming more responsible in vaccinating, licensing and microchipping their pets, which allows the city to help owners find their pets again, especially after Hurricane Sandy.
Other shelters greatly aid the adoption process, but the AC&C has one of the only open adoptions programs in the city, since they allow all types of animals.
“There are always disagreements on the best way to adopt animals out to the public, but we all have the same goals in mind,” Shapiro said.
For SCPS freshman Katharina Gadow, who recently adopted a kitten from Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn, care and knowledge of the animals was key in picking a shelter.
“If I wanted to adopt from NYC Animal Care and Control, I would like to see them offer benefits such as a veterinary check-up, shots and a microchip for free, otherwise I don’t think I would adopt from them,” Gadow said.
Jacqueline Hsia is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.