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Overcrowded NYC Animal Shelters Will Pay You $5 To Take That Doggie In the Window

By Belal Awad · August 2, 2023

In brief…

  • NYC animal shelters are in crisis mode following surge in pet surrenders caused by landlord disputes and financial insecurity.
  • Some shelters have suspended taking in cats.
  • Filled to capacity, shelters are housing animals in portable kennels left in office hallways and waiting rooms.
  • Animal Care Centers on NYC is offering $5 to people who adopt large dogs and older cats.
New York City's animal shelters are so overcrowded that some are paying people a bounty to take home abandoned cats and dogs.  Jonesy22/Wikimedia Commons

New York City’s animal shelters are in a state of crisis as citywide pet surrenders sky-rocket. 

Shelters across the city are filled to capacity as more and more residents relinquish their pets, due mainly to problems at home and acute financial stress.

Acccording to Zoe Kenney, who runs intake for a branch of Animal Care Centres of NYC, the surge in pet surrenders is mostly because of “landlord disputes” where rental buildings are no longer allowing pets. She added that it often comes down to an owner’s inability to afford food or medical care for their pet.

Animal Care Centers of NYC, which house a wide variety of animals, including cats, dogs, rabbits, and guinea pigs, is feeling the strain. To manage the overflow, the centers have resorted to using pop-up kennels placed in offices and hallways to handle the animal overflow.

Overwhelmed with incoming pets, ACC has taken the radical step of suspending cat in-takes at three of their shelters

Kenney explained the urgency of the crisis, telling Fox 5 New York, “We’ve got a pop-ups right here in our admissions office. We’ve got pop-up crates in our adoptions office, placement office. They’re really anywhere we can fit a crate.” 

This situation is pretty much the same in ACC’s facilities across city, as well as other animal shelters in NYC.

In response to the crisis, ACC has been offering people incentives to adopt along with holding numerous adoption events across the city. “We’ve lowered fees or completely waived fees,” Kenney said, “especially for those larger dogs and older cats, who have more trouble getting adopted,” she said, adding that larger dogs weighing over 40 pounds and cats over five years old can now be adopted for just $5.

Despite these efforts, the number of adoptions has not kept pace with the influx of surrendered pets. The ACC is urging all New Yorkers to consider adopting, stressing that it’s not just about bringing home a new pet, but also about helping the city.

Kenney said that they are even receiving “strays that were found on the streets of New York.”

As the crisis continues to unfold, the plea for community support grows louder.