Alisa Manzelli, exclusive to Global Animal
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to making New York a no-kill city.
With its 150 member nonprofit shelter and rescue groups, the organization has much to celebrate—from reducing the city’s euthanasia rates to addressing animal overpopulation and control. Thanks to their tireless efforts, the Alliance has helped save over 240,000 animal lives.
In fact, the city’s euthanasia rates at Animal Care & Control (ACC) have plummeted 74 percent since 2005 (from almost 32,000 dogs and cats per year to just over 8,000), giving New York the lowest rate of euthanasia per capita of any major U.S. city.
Unfortunately, with tens of thousands of cats living on New York City streets, the majority of animals entering shelters are feral cats, which is why the Alliance is placing emphasis on their NYC Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI).
The NYCFCI has proven successful in managing feral cat colonies and decreasing the city’s feral cat population thanks to the Alliance’s humane, non-lethal Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program.
The Initiative offers accessible advice and helpful educational tools including TNR certification courses, training sessions like bottle-feeding and taming/socializing feral cats, and other resources including transportation for traps to and from TNR sites and spay/neuter appointments.
“We’ve built up this infrastructure to assist the people who are doing Trap-Neuter-Return because most of them are frankly individuals or a couple of people working together,” said Jane Hoffman, co-founder of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.
On October 22, in honor of National Feral Cat Month, the Alliance will be hosting their Fall Feral Feline Fiesta at the ASPCA for certified TNR caretakers to celebrate their successes in reducing animal homelessness and mingle within the animal community.
The Wheels of Hope distribution program has also played a major role in animal control while helping the Alliance find homes for 230,000 cats and dogs.
Being the only free animal transportation program in NYC, Wheels of Hope has transported over 55,000 animals since the program began in 2005. The fleet of six fully-funded vans operating 365 days a year pull animals slated for euthanasia from ACC and bring them to various New Hope rescue partners (rescue groups, veterinarians, foster homes, and adoptive homes).
The Alliance and their Wheels of Hope program were also heavily involved on an ongoing basis following Hurricane Sandy, and provided most of the transportation of animals to the ASPCA, Sean Casey Animal Rescue, and other places pet guardians had arranged for their companions.
In addition to transferring healthy animals from ACC to no-kill rescues, the Alliance administers the Picasso Veterinary Fund which has paid for lifesaving medical treatment for hundreds of sick and injured animals transferred from ACC. Once the animals are healthy enough for adoption, they are then transferred to other Alliance Participating Organizations (APOs).
The organization also offers the Helping Pets and People in Crisis program which provides assistance to individuals fleeing domestic violence, senior citizens who require medical care outside of their home, and families facing eviction or other temporary setbacks.
Given that 48 percent of women delay leaving, or return to, abusive households because they fear for their pets’ safety, the Alliance has collaborated with the Urban Resource Institute (URI) to implement the first NYC domestic violence shelter to allow pets. The shelter currently allows cats, small mammals, and birds, and the Alliance is hoping URI will also accept dogs starting in December.
In addition to these key initiatives, the Alliance holds a number of city-wide public events, which include:
- Adoptapalooza (the organization’s signature pet adoption extravaganza)
- Architects for Animals (where architects create winter shelters for feral cats)
- Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days (the largest free pet adoption event in America, which makes up 30 percent of total pet adoptions nationally)
- Bark in the Park (an annual baseball game at MCU Park in Coney Island)
- Broadway Barks (a free, star-studded dog and cat adoption event for animal shelters and adoption agencies)
- Whiskers in Wonderland (a holiday pet adoption event)
The Alliance also offers neighborhood microchipping as well as community classes, workshops, and other educational events in various subjects including risk-preparedness, how to be a 501(c)(3), and much more.
As a former corporate lawyer and management consultant and one of the founding members and former chairperson of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Animal Law (the first of its kind in the U.S.), Hoffman has combined her legal knowledge and skills with her commendable passion for animals to change the nature of animal welfare in NYC.
“There’s a reason businesses are successful. They act like businesses. Animal rescue needs to be operated like a business—a business we’re very passionate about,” Hoffman said. “We bring our passion but we need to bring our brains and we need to plan.”
In the past 10 years, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals has transformed animal welfare not only at the local level, but also nationally and even internationally, and will only continue fighting for change.