NYC Shelter Law Upheld

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.

Jason Morrison


H. Ann Summy
Ann S8 years ago

I would like to amend my comment by saying that the animal protection service people in the greater NYC area must be doing a great job and be understaffed. Maybe more stories come out of there, because so many get reported and hopefully prosecuted for their callous and ridiculous behavior.

I'm sure a lot more disturbing stuff happens in the almost anarchic regions of the southern Appalachain states, etc. Even our movies about these types of areas seem to attest to this.

H. Ann Summy
Ann S8 years ago

I've noticed that it seems almost all the most disturbing animal abuse stories come out of the Queens, Bronx, or Brooklyn areas. There is clearly a serious lack of education around NYC. Why is it that in our great big nation, so many people in that area think that killing and mutilating people's pets are a way to "get back" at them? What a bunch of weirdos.

Marilyn K.
Marilyn K8 years ago

People have pets and sometimes they have to or decide to not keep them any longer and every borough should be forced to have full service Animal Shelters in every borough.

These animals that bring so much good to our society should be protected in every way.