“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be determined by the way it treats its animals” –Gandhi
Did you know that there are people working to make New York City a no-kill city by 2010? Well, in terms of animals anyway. Most of us know there are those shelters that put animals down, and those that don’t. And, sadly, many believe that a world (or at least this city) without “kill” shelters is an impossibility. Not so. A coalition of animal rescue organizations across the city, aided by a few national organizations, is hard at work to place homeless animals in both foster and “forever” homes, to spay and neuter greater and greater numbers of dogs, and to promote humane education and a broader awareness of the plight of homeless animals.
Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg for forming the Mayor’s Alliance for New York Animals, an umbrella organization that supports and coordinates animal care groups around the city so that they may operate more efficiently and share resources to improve the lives of this city’s four-footed citizens. On their website you can find information on animal adoption festivals, low-cost neutering and spaying and micro-chipping, and a complete list of groups, sortable by borough, which offer animals for adoption.
The Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition, aka BARC, is a founding member of the Mayor’s Alliance, and a remarkable no-kill shelter funded entirely from the proceeds of their own pet store. If you’re already a pet owner (and you live in North Brooklyn) you can help homeless animals just by buying your pet’s food, toys, litter and grooming items from them: food and treats can be delivered to your Greenpoint/Williamsburg home in a flash.
Another fine Brooklyn group, Brooklyn Animal Foster Network takes adoptable animals out of City shelters and places them in foster homes, buying them time to get permanent homes (City shelters often euthanize their charges within 48 hours of their arrival at the shelters). In the past year they have been able to rescue 650-plus animals from near-certain death. But many of those cats and dogs have health problems requiring a vet’s attention, and funds are desperately needed. If you don’t have much cash, but you DO have a car, they’re always looking for help transporting the wee beasties to and from adoption events and vet appointments. If you’re more interested in cocktails than canines, join BAFN for a four-hour booze cruise benefit on October 8 at 1pm: for only $25 you can help animals, and enjoy a lovely afternoon on the water.
Another great group, Earth Angels, rescues dogs from all manner of terrible situations, and also places them in foster homes around the city. Emelinda Narvaez, Earth Angels founder and a tireless advocate for homeless canines, can often be found at Petco on Union Square (17th Street and Broadway) drumming up funds and showing her charges to the public. She too needs cash donations and help with transportation, and she’s also always happy to accept donations of old towels, sheets and rags (clean please!) to keep the pups warm, comfy, and clean in their cages. Clean your closets and help animals at the same time!
I still haven’t decided exactly where I’m going to start helping out, but it’s somehow comforting to know that behind the day-to-day work of rescuing and rehabilitating, a larger goal is being pursued. As Paul Gaugin famously asked in one of his last paintings, “Where are we going?” and the answer happily, appears to be towards a better, more humane New York City. Chip in and we’ll get there before 2010.
For more info, visit: animalalliancenyc.org