animal shelter in nyc
There will be an animal shelter in every NYC borough, per a new bill passed by City Council. Photo: Mayor's Office

Homeless animals in New York City will have a new resource with a city animal shelter coming to the Bronx.

 

A 47,000-square-foot Animal Care Centers (ACC) of NYC facility is projected to open in the East Bronx in 2024, city officials announced this week.

 

The full-service shelter is expected to cost $60 million and will have space for 70 dogs, 140 cats, 30 rabbits and 20 animals from other species. The shelter will provide adoption and veterinary services.

 

The ACC location in Brooklyn will also undergo renovations, the city announced, and will receive about $27.3 million in funds to expand the facility and increase its adoption capacity. Those renovations are expected to be completed by 2022.

 

Animal Care Centers of NYC is a nonprofit contracted by the city to run the city’s shelters. Mayor Bill de Blasio aims to have a fully operational animal shelter in all five boroughs.

 

“Our animal shelters deliver services to upwards of 30,000 animals. These two new facilities in the Bronx and Brooklyn will build upon the City’s record 93 percent placement rate to ensure that all missing, homeless and abandoned animals within the city receive the care they need,” de Blasio said in a statement. “These shelters also will offer direct adoption because we know how much New Yorkers love their pets, especially those in need of a home.”

ACC, which was formerly known as Animal Care & Control, has previously faced criticisms for its euthanasia rates. The city shelters do not bill themselves as “no-kill” facilities — the cause of protests from members of the volunteer vigilante group Guardian Angels back in September — but that label is more complicated than many think, experts say.

“There is actually no such a thing as a no-kill shelter,” Katy Hansen, communications director at ACC, previously told QNS.

The most common understanding of the “no-kill” label, according to the Washington Post, is a shelter “with a 90 percent ‘live release rate’ — meaning that nine of every 10 animals admitted leaves alive.”

In 2017, more than 93 percent of all dogs and cats at city-operated shelters were placed either through adoptions to the public or through the adoption partner program, officials said.

In 2003, ACC shelters did kill more than 60 percent of the dogs and the cats they took in, according to the New York Times.

But those euthanasia rates have plummeted and adoption rates rose as the ACC received new funding (its budget from the city has more than doubled from $7 million to $13 million since 2007, the Times reports) and with the plans to build new shelters that can ease the strain on existing facilities.

“We are a completely different organization than we were even five years ago. We have become the go-to resource for NYC animal-related issues – from pet adoption to rescue to help with keeping pets and families together,” ACC President and CEO Risa Weinstock said in a statement. “We are excited to bring that level of service to the Bronx, with the addition of a new facility.”

The ASPCA has also applauded the announcement of the new Bronx shelter, calling it “a critical, life-saving resource for pets and their owners in the Bronx.”