Animals in need of a home in New York City will in a few years be able to get care and help finding forever families in two boroughs which lacked full-service shelters.
As part of the city’s executive budget, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that a total of $10 million in capital funding will go toward two new shelters in Queens and the Bronx.
The funding includes $8 million in Fiscal Year 2018 for land acquisition and a total of $2 million in Fiscal Year 2017 for the designing of the new shelters. The earliest the shelters could open is 2019.
“These two new shelters in Queens and in the Bronx — boroughs that combined see more than 14,000 cats and dogs — will increase the city’s bandwidth to ensure that all missing, homeless and abandoned animals within the city receive the care they need,” de Blasio said. “These shelters also will offer direct adoption, because we know how much New Yorkers love their pets, especially those in need of a home.”
According to the mayor’s office, the two new shelters are considered to be the largest investment in the shelter system since the city took ownership and started operating the shelters in the 1990s.
At the moment, the city has a contract with the nonprofit Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) to run three full-service animals shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island; and two animal admission centers in the Bronx and Queens.
Operating in just the three centers, the city offers services to up to 35,000 animals and in 2014 ACC received 5,834 dogs and 9,238 cats from the Bronx and Queens.
In 2014, a bill was introduced to the City Council calling for full-service animals shelters to be built in Queens and the Bronx.
A full-service animal shelter offers medical treatment for abandoned animals, housing for missing animals and also offers direct animal adoptions.
Previous investments made by the city include an additional $258,000 in 2015 and 2016 to expand the ACC’s communications and fundraising capacity; added $1.2 million in 2016 for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to scope out the two new shelters; and also an added $5 million in capital fund for the Manhattan shelter to turn a underutilized garage into an adoption center.
The ASPCA — which has granted over $8.2 million in funding over the last five years to both the ACC and the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals — voiced its gratitude to the mayor for including the shelters in the budget.
“This important funding will go a long way toward helping ACC deliver a level of care and protection that New York City animals both need and deserve,” said Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA. “In particular, this money may finally bring full-service shelters to the Bronx and Queens, dramatically improving the chances for local animals to get adopted and find safe and loving homes.”