Bronx eyed for new animal shelter

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A new full-service animal shelter could be coming to the Bronx.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed $10 million in this year’s city budget toward finding and breaking ground on animal shelters in this borough and in Queens.

The new locations could make it easier for Bronx and Queens residents to find and adopt pets and increase the number of adoptions at city shelters.

New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS), an animal rights group, advocated for the new shelters. The group was subpoenaed as part of a federal probe into Mr. de Blasio’s fundraising in late April (see Political arena).

“For the longest time, there were only three full-service shelters in New York City,” said John Collins, a spokesman for NYCLASS. “If you lived in the Bronx and you wanted to adopt a dog, you would have to go into Manhattan and adopt the dog, but then you can’t take the bus or train back, so you either have to take a cab or walk.”

According to NYCLASS projections, the new shelters would nearly double the total amount of pet adoptions from city shelters within a two-year period. 

“NYCLASS believes the greatest city in the world needs a world-class animal shelter system with full service in every borough,” said Julie Cappiello of NYCLASS.

According to Mr. Collins, the $10 million allocated by Mr. de Blasio would not cover the entire cost of construction for the two sites but it would be enough to find locations and begin construction. 

The proposal for new city shelters comes as New Beginning Animal Rescue, the only no-kill shelter in the Bronx, is getting ready to close.

“We were probably going to close sometime this summer, but the public has really stepped up,” said Christina Abbhiello, a volunteer at the 2515 Newbold Ave. site. “The public has been very generous, which will sustain us longer than we anticipated.” 

No-kill shelters, Ms. Abbhiello said, receive no municipal funding, and are harder to maintain because they rely solely on private donations.

“I don’t think a full-service shelter really affects us one way or the other. We are just trying to stay open,” she said. “[Running a no-kill shelter] is not an easy task. It’s not for the meek.”

NYCLASS said it is still in the process of finding a location for a Bronx shelter.

“Adoption projections show that not only will full-service shelters give animals better and more humane care, but it will connect more New Yorkers to companions,” said Ms. Cappiello.

A previous version of this story inccorectly stated the mayor’s executive budget included a contract for New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets to build and operate new animal shelters in the Bronx and Queens. In fact, the budget does not specify who will build the facilities.

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