Death took a holiday for many New York City shelter animals
in early February. The New York Animal Care & Control
centers held mass adoptions on February 1 and 2 to counteract
the overpopulation in city shelters.
"Our weekend goal was to adopt (out) 100 pets. The final count is 246 adoptions and 40 placements, for a grand total of 286 placements," said Ed Boks, executive director of AC&C, who credited the New York Daily News for helping get the message out.
The weekend events signaled a significant step toward the AC&C's goal of no kill in New York City by 2008. If achieved, New York will be the first major metropolitan "no kill" community in the U.S.
"If we do it in New York, we will rob every other community in the United States of their excuses," Boks said.
Animal Care & Control's three facilities took in over 50,000 stray animals last year. Fewer than 10 percent of these animals were adopted.
A "no kill" community would mean life for every adoptable animal in New York City shelters.
Ed Boks shares his vision with other influential New Yorkers. Mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg and lawyer Jane Hoffman formed the Mayor's Alliance for New York City Animals in 2002.
"Our hope is that at some point we can save them all," said Hoffman, now president of the Mayor's Alliance.
There are currently 50 organizations in the alliance, all working to increase shelter animal adoptions and spay/neutering, and decrease euthanasia.
The Mayor's Alliance held five adoption events at city parks last year where over 300 shelter animals were adopted. Dates for the 2004 park adoptions are already planned:
§ Central Park (May 23)
§ Clove Lake Park (Sept. 25)
§ Prospect Park (June 20, Oct. 24)
Edwin Sayres, president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), hopes to help New York become a "no kill" city by reducing its animal euthanasia rate by 10 percent every year.
"With Ed Boks here and with what Jane Hoffman is creating with the Mayor's Alliance, and with what I bring to the table, it feels like the planets are all in their right alignment," said Sayres.
The ASPCA has increased its spending in the city from $12.5 million last year to $15.5 million this year. These funds will be aimed at increasing adoptions and providing animal behavior training lessons to pet owners.
Dr. Jay Kuhlman, a veterinarian for over 30 years, stresses low-cost spay/neutering as imperative for a long-term solution to high euthanasia rates.
"We, the people, have done this. And we can decrease it," said Dr. Kuhlman.
Ed Boks sees hope in the future for New York City shelter animals because he has faith in New Yorkers.
"This was a historic weekend in New York City animal welfare and demonstrates what a community can do when challenged to end the killing," Boks said.
© 2004 Animal News Center, Inc.