The city's animal shelters are still flooded with homeless cats and dogs - and with Labor Day behind us, animal advocates are urging all to come out and adopt.
"It's the perfect time now that people are back from vacation and back to their routines," said Jane Hoffman, president of the Mayor's Alliance for New York City's Animals.
Tomorrow, the Alliance will host an adoption event at Central Park, East Drive (enter at E. 59th St.) from noon to 5 p.m. In addition to dozens of adorable cats and dogs from various shelters and rescue groups, the event will also feature vet experts, cat therapist Carole Wilbourn and low-cost microchipping.
This summer, big-hearted readers pitched in to adopt after The News' Lisa Colangelo reported that 85 cats a day were being taken in by the Animal Care & Control shelters. Lack of room in the three ACC shelters and with few people adopting meant many of the animals were in danger of being euthanized.
Despite kitten season ending, the situation remains dire.
"It's gotten better, but we still need people to adopt more cats and kittens," Hoffman said.
And, while adorable puppies and small breed dogs are in demand, pit bull mixes and other large breeds dogs, like Rottweilers and shepherds, are often left behind in the shelters.
Brooklynite Jon Bozak is one pit bull lover who hopes that more people would give the underdogs a second chance.
"I only wish that more people understood that there is no breed of dog more capable or deserving of love than a pit bull," he said. His two rescued pit bulls, Brinks, 3, and Demo, 14, were the inspiration for Bozak's new graphic novel, "Demo: The Story of a Junkyard Dog" ($17.95, demo-dog.com) about a junkyard dog that endures abuse to save a town from destruction.
Adoptions are up, and the number of unwanted animals euthanized at city shelters has dropped dramatically in recent years, thanks to the many rescue groups that take cats and dogs out of the city shelter. Still, nearly 50% of animals that land in the ACC shelters are euthanized.
In August, a total of 2,092 cats and dogs were adopted from the ACC shelters, but 1,981 animals were put down. Unlike the ASPCA, Humane Society and other "no-kill" shelters, the ACC is required to take in any animal brought into its three shelters or left on the street.
It is the only nonprofit organization that holds a contract with the city to handle its stray and unwanted animals, an estimated 44,000 animals a year.
The operating budget to run three shelters is about $8 million, a number that Hoffman says just isn't enough.
"We need about $20 million," said Hoffman, noting the desperate need to fund low-cost spay/neuter clinics and to achieve the city's "no-kill" initiative.
To find an animal shelter or rescue group near you, pick up the brand new 2007 Trails to Tails Map, a glossy, foldout guide created by Rational Animal. The map can be found at adoption events, in pet supply stores, the New York Public Library and YMCA branches, and at dog-runs. To get a free copy of the guide, go to trailstotails.com, or send a business-sized SASE to: Rational Animal, Trails to Tails, 7 Cornelia St., #1E, N.Y., N.Y. 10014.
Pet calendar: On Saturday, Sept. 29, from noon to 6 p.m., Animal Care & Control will host the Brooklyn Top Dog and Kitty Karnival Adoption Event, located at J.J. Byrne Park at Fourth St. and Fifth Ave. in Park Slope.
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