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City's New Mobile Animal Truck Hopes to Get More Pet Lovers to Adopt

By Dana Varinsky | February 9, 2014 4:55pm
 Animal Care and Control unveiled their first mobile adoption center Sunday.
Mobile Adoption Center
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UNION SQUARE — Future furry friends are on the move, and coming to a neighborhood near you!

Animal Care and Control of New York City, a nonprofit that has a contract to run city shelters, unveiled a new mobile adoption center Sunday, which will make it possible for the organization to bring animals in need of homes into neighborhoods that do not have pet shelters.

Animal Care and Control plans to bring the new 26-foot truck to events throughout all five boroughs, in order to encourage New Yorkers to adopt stray animals rather than buy new pets bred for stores.

“My hope is this will be one more tool in our toolbox to get New York to a place where no animals will be euthanized,” said Matthew Bershadker, president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which gave a $60,000 grant to ACC to fund the truck.

Bershadker said people are often hesitant to go to shelters because it is difficult to see caged animals.

“People see all the animals and they worry about them being euthanized if they don’t save them, and that’s one of the barriers,” he said. “We need to change that experience for adopters.”

Risa Weinstock, executive director of Animal Care and Control, said that living far from a shelter can also be an obstacle for potential adopters. “We recognize that the locations of our shelters are not convenient for all of New York,” she said. Although ACC has receiving centers where stray animals can be dropped off in all five boroughs, the organization does not currently have adoption centers in the Bronx or Queens.

Because of this, Weinstock said, ACC has developed a reputation as a place to drop off animals, but not as a place to go find a pet.

“There’s a lot of misperception that the animals in the shelter are old, that no one wants them,” she said. “But we have every kind of dog and cat and rabbit. You don’t need to buy one — they’re right here!”

Ellen Curtis, senior manager of programs at ACC, said the new adoption truck can hold 28 animals, and that ACC’s goal is to get 20 pets adopted at every event. Within three hours of the truck’s unveiling in Union Square, all five dogs available for adoption and seven of the nine available cats on site went home with new families. 

One of the first adopters at the truck, Rhonda Chatman, said she came from Crown Heights to see it, hoping to adopt a kitten. Chatman’s cat passed away in January, and it did not take her long to find a new one. “Peter chose me. I was just standing there and he was grabbing at my coat,” she said.

Risa Weinstock said ACC hopes groups interested in hosting adoption events will contact them, and that eventually the mobile center will be bringing animals around the city several times per week.

The truck is next scheduled to appear Feb. 22 and March 15th at 2244 Broadway in Manhattan, in front of the office of Fenwick Keats, a real estate firm that helped to pay for the truck.

Those interested in inviting the mobile adoption center to an event can email info@nycacc.org.