Major Turning Point in Efforts to Improve NYC's Animal Shelters

We've reached a major turning point in our efforts to revamp the City's animal shelter system.


12 August 2011

We've reached a major turning point in our efforts to revamp the City's animal shelter system.

This past month, the Administration, the City Council, Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals announced a major new plan that will fundamentally improve the way the City cares for abandoned and homeless animals.

A key part of this plan is the Administration and City Council's commitment to add nearly $10 million to the City's shelter system over the next three years, including $1 million this fiscal year. This badly-needed boost in funding will help restore and expand critical services, bettering the lives of animals in the shelter system and increasing their chance of being placed in loving and supporting homes.

In light of our current fiscal situation, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) will no longer be obligated to build shelters in the Bronx and Queens as required as part of an earlier five borough shelter requirement. Instead, the department will work with AC&C to improve services in the Bronx and Queens by expanding the hours of operations that dogs and cats can be accepted from 8 hours a day, 1 or 2 days a week, to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week; and by increasing van service to rescue stray, injured and abandoned animals. The existing shelters in Staten Island, Manhattan and Brooklyn will also receive additional staffing to strengthen their operations.

The City will also be required to issue a report providing key data on trends and the progress and quality of care at each full-service animal shelter and animal receiving center - data that will help us analyze and track the progress of these enhanced services.

The plan will be codified through legislation sponsored by Council Member Jessica Lappin, which will be introduced later this month. As part of this legislation, free-roaming cats will be required to be neutered and DOHMH will issue rules regarding trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs to help control the City's feral cat population.

Finally, the City Council and DOHMH will work together to increase dog licensing in all five boroughs. This will make it easier for owners to find lost pets while raising additional revenue to help support the continued enhancement of the City's animal services.

We want to thank the Mayor, Health Commissioner Dr. Farley, and the folks at AC&C, ASPCA, the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, and NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable & Safe Streets) for all of their hard work and input in developing this plan. Special thanks as well to all of the advocates and activists who have continued to fight and advocate for these animals. With this plan, we will be better able to provide abandoned and homeless animals in our city the quality care and support that they need and rightfully deserve.

The City Council will be holding a public hearing on the legislation this fall. At that time, folks will have an opportunity to officially comment and weigh in on the new shelter plan. We will be sure to notify you once the hearing has been set.

In the meantime, you can read more about this plan by clicking on the links below:

Also, if you have any questions about the plan, please feel free to contact Joe Mancino in the Council's Human Services Division at (212) 341-0357 or [email protected].

We look forward to working with you to help better serve and save the lives of animals in New York City. Thank you.


Christine C. Quinn
NYC Council

Maria del Carmen Arroyo
Chair, Health Committee
NYC Council

Jessica S. Lappin
Council Member
NYC Council

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