Today, New York City’s mayor Michael Bloomberg, announced some optimistic news for the area’s homeless pets. In 2009, the percentage of dogs and cats put to death in city shelters hit an all-time low -- 33 percent, down from 69 percent in just six years ago.
At the same time, the city’s adoption rates increased to 66 percent, up from 26 percent in 2003.
The mayor also announced a $1 million grant from the ASPCA to the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, a coalition of more than 160 local rescue groups and shelters. The organization, founded in 2002, has a goal of a “no-kill” New York by 2015. The alliance makes it clear that this doesn’t mean euthanasia will be completely eliminated, but that putting animals to sleep will not be used as a measure for population control.
The economic downturn has led to a decrease in adoptions for many shelters, but the alliance believes turbulent times may have had the opposite effect in New York City. Increased adoption rates suggest that, in stressful times, people are turning to the unconditional love of a pet. Additionally, some New Yorkers may have been more inclined to forget expensive breeders and pet stores for shelters’ affordable adoption fees.
I’ve always liked the idea of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals and they’ve made incredible progress. In a time when many shelters and rescue groups are struggling, I think they’re a great example of what you can do when you pool resources towards a common goal.