The New York State Supreme Court recently decided to uphold a 2000 law mandating full-service animal shelters. The law stated that all five New York City boroughs must have full service shelters. Even with he allocation of funds, the city has not purchased shelter sites in the Bronx or Queens area.
Manhattan, Staten Island, and Brooklyn each have full service shelters. Many times animals in the two areas without shelters are sent to Manhattan and Brooklyn. This causes the shelters to fill up and reach capacity very quickly. Sadly, that leads to an increase of euthanasia of otherwise healthy pets. It can also make it very hard for owners to locate lost pets, and doesn’t provide as much time to find adoptive families.
In the ruling, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Shafer told them they will have 60 days to formulate a plan to comply with the law. This is great news for the animals, and will hopefully result in the boroughs building full service shelters. And of course, less euthanasia of healthy pets.
Each New York City borough was required to have a full-service animal shelter by July 1, 2006. Since the law hadn’t been upheld, concerned animal rescue group, Stray from the Heart, sued the City in January 2009.
They felt that failure to comply with the law in the Bronx and Queens resulted in the “needless suffering and death of homeless cats and dogs.” Beth Silberg, president of Stray from the Heart, said the group is confident the “animal welfare community will prevail to defend and protect homeless animals from the neglect of the New York City shelter system.”
So far they are right.
“Respondents have blatantly failed to comply with mandatory requirements of the act, which unambiguously requires shelters in each borough, not three out of five, open 24 hours per day not 12 or ‘as needed,’” Justice Shafer wrote.
Sadly, The City of New York plans to appeal the court’s decision.
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