As the world’s top purebred dogs descend on the Big Apple for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals is working to shine a spotlight on the city’s homeless pets.
The Mayor’s Alliance, a coalition of more than 160 animal rescue groups and shelters in New York City, is once again holding its annual I Love NYC Pets adoption campaign throughout the month of February. The campaign includes city-wide pet adoption events and extended shelters hours.
“I think a lot of people feel that animals that end up in shelters are somehow damaged goods,’’ said Jane Hoffman, Mayor’s Alliance president. “But in fact what we’ve learned is they’re what we call victims of circumstance. It’s the circumstances surrounding their humans more so than any fault of their own in most cases.”
Adopting a pet has many benefits, Hoffman said, most notably the rewarding experience of saving an animal’s life. In addition, animal shelters and rescue staff strive to fill your particular pet interests and needs.
“Not only will you be saving a life, but you’ll be working with people whose whole goal is to make the right match for you,” she said. “They don’t want a bad experience for the pet or for you. They don’t want a failed adoption.”
You can get a great Mixed Breed or purebred dog by adopting. About 20 percent of cats and dogs in U.S. shelters are pure bred, and many rescues, including members of the Mayor’s Alliance, specialize in a specific breed, Hoffman said.
But, as with love of the human kind, those looking for a four-legged mate might be pleasantly surprised to find that it’s often the pet that finds them.
“I think a lot of people go into adoption with a very specific animal breed in mind, but the beauty of being exposed to the whole panoply of animals in a shelter is that you may come out with something you never knew you wanted,” Hoffman said.
This year’s 4th Annual I Love NYC Pets campaign kicked off Feb. 3 with an event hosted by TD Bank. As the campaign’s first-ever corporate sponsor, TD Bank is hosting eight pet adoption events featuring dogs and cats from some of the rescue organizations that make up the Mayor’s Alliance. In all, 36 adoption events are scheduled throughout the month.
Last year’s campaign resulted in 2,283 pet adoptions.
The ultimate goal is to find homes for all healthy and treatable dogs and cats in city shelters by 2015.
According to the nonprofit alliance, more than 40,000 animals enter New York City’s shelter system each year. Of those, only about 14,000 were euthanized last year, thanks to adoption efforts.
As adoption rates rise, another key is to focus on spay and neuter programs, to help keep animals out of the shelters.
“We want to get to the place where there are no unwanted pets,” Hoffman said.
Founded in 2002, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals is a nonprofit organization that receives the majority of its funding from Maddie’s Fund, The Pet Rescue Foundation, with support from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Stephanie Brown is Associate News Editor for DogChannel.com.