Today Borough President Stringer held a press conference with Assemblymembers Linda Rosenthal and Micah Kellner and animal advocates, urging New York City to completely restructure NYC Animal Care and Control (AC&C)--and to honor its promise to build full-service animal shelters in all five boroughs. These goals were outlined in a popular online petition the Borough President sent out earlier this week, and which has received more than 2,500 signatures in two and a half days.
Standing in front of the Riverside Park Dog Run, the Borough President and others said that AC&C is not working and needs to be overhauled from top to bottom. He explained that there have been reports of “shameful, unacceptable conditions” in shelters, including overcrowding, animals living in their own waste, and otherwise healthy animals being put down.
The Borough President said AC&C’s problems are due to the fact that the division is part of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which focuses its energy on human needs rather than animal safety. He also noted that most of the members of its Mayoral-appointed board do not have a background in animal welfare or fundraising. Borough President Stringer said the strong response to his petition showed that many New Yorkers want the animal shelter system to be better funded and more effective. In two and a half days, more than 2,500 people have signed the petition, which can be found at http://mbpo.org/paws, and over 800 people have shared it on Facebook.
Speakers at the press conference called for the City to reconfigure AC&C as a quasi-independent, not-for-profit entity focused on quality animal care and greater fundraising capabilities. This model has worked in New York before: In the late 1970s Central Park was in a state of disrepair and neglect, but today it is the nation’s premier urban oasis, thanks in large part to the dedicated efforts of the Central Park Conservancy. Formed in 1980, the Conservancy has raised $390 million in private funds to maintain the park, and 85% of the park’s annual budget is raised by Conservancy and its 60-member Board. “This is the model our city needs for animal care,” Borough President Stringer said, adding: “New York’s animal-loving community is large, diverse and unbelievably passionate about the humane treatment of animals, and we should leverage this human capital, to provide badly-needed care.”
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