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No-Kill Bronx Animal Shelter to Rally for Funding Outside of Gracie Mansion

By Eddie Small | June 21, 2016 2:15pm
 New Beginning Animal Rescue will hold a rally outside of Gracie Mansion on Tuesday evening in the hopes of bringing more attention and funding to the shelter.
New Beginning Animal Rescue will hold a rally outside of Gracie Mansion on Tuesday evening in the hopes of bringing more attention and funding to the shelter.
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New Beginning Animal Rescue

UNIONPORT — A no-kill Bronx animal shelter that is months from shutting down, according to its founder, will rally outside of Gracie Mansion on Tuesday evening for additional funding and attention.

The New Beginning Animal Rescue, located at 2515 Newbold Ave., was founded by Pedro Rosario about five years ago, but he said it may not have the money to stay open for much longer.

"We’re still at risk because we can’t just go off of what we have," he said. "I think we have another two or three months."

Rosario had previously said New Beginning was at risk of closing roughly two years ago but managed to put together enough money to stay open. Workers from the shelter put together a GoFundMe page in late April to help it get through the latest round of financial difficulties that has raised $28,200 of its $50,000 goal so far.

However, Christina Abbatiello, who volunteers with New Beginning, described efforts like these as temporary solutions, especially given that the shelter is not in a particularly affluent borough.

"We need a long term solution, or eventually we’re going to have to close our doors," she said. "We don’t want to have to keep going back to the community and say please help us, please save us."

She argued that securing funding from the city would be an effective way to keep the shelter open indefinitely.

"Unfortunately, at the end of the day, that’s what everything is based on," she said. "You can’t run anything without money."

The shelter is located in City Councilman James Vacca's district, and although they applied for funding this year, he was unable to meet their request.

State Sen. Jeff Klein, who also represents the shelter's district, said in a statement that he had raised awareness of its past fundraising efforts and supports having a no-kill shelter in The Bronx.

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, who represents the shelter's district as well, did not respond to requests for comment.

The rally at Gracie Mansion will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the wake of several attempts advocates say they made to discuss the shelter with Mayor Bill de Blasio's office that were met with no response.

City Hall spokesman Raul Contreras said that the city contracts with Animal Care Centers to run shelters, which in turn works with 300 nonprofit rescue partners to find homes for animals, but New Beginning is not one of these rescue partners.

De Blasio is opening full-service animal shelters in The Bronx and Queens, which frustrated Rosario, as he said New Beginning would be able to do much of the work of a new shelter for a fraction of the cost.

"They need to realize that we’re here. We need their help," he said. "Instead of spending $10 million on a facility in The Bronx, we could do some of that work with a lot, lot less than that."

Rosario, who recently rescued a cat that had been stuck in a tree in The Bronx for days, stressed that he just wanted to keep his shelter open so he could continue using it to improve the borough.

"We want money to help The Bronx and keep helping The Bronx," he said.