Animal activists fight for shelters in the Bronx and Queens

Members of New York Animal Rights Alliance are looking to rattle some cages.

Local law 0655, put into effect last September, barred shelters from being built in the Bronx and Queens angered animal rights activists in both boroughs.

Bernadette Ferrara, a Van Nest resident and long time animal rights activist, said it is unacceptable that the Bronx does not have its own 24 hour, seven day a week shelter.

“We all kind of come together when it comes to being an animal advocate,” Ferrara said. “And the fact is, everyone is up in arms in the Bronx that there is no shelter.”

Ferrara said she and other volunteers feel the one pet receiving facility in the Bronx, open only for a few hours a day only three days a week, is not enough.

“All of the Bronx has this one place and it is not even a shelter, it is a holding facility until the animals can be sent to the shelter in Manhattan,” Ferrara said. “I am not the humane society, I am not the A.S.P.C.A, and I am not the Mayor’s alliance, but I am a local resource, so I feel I have to speak out.”

Ferrara said the task of trying to find homes for stray animals, as a volunteer, has become too big a task.

“This is on the bottom of every elected officials list, but it is getting to the point that we can’t do it any more,” she said. “This is all volunteer, but we have our own lives and problems to take care of. It is a crisis situation but you don’t know it unless you’re involved in it.”

Ferrara and a delegation met June 7 with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. to seek his support. A Diaz spokesman declined this week to comment on the issue.

At least 300 people are expected in Times Square on Saturday, September 8 calling for a repeal of the local law and to demand New York City become a no-kill city for animals.

Organizers from NY Animal Rights Alliance will speak about the history of dog and cat abuse in the city’s current animal pound system, including lack of basic veterinary care, cruel conditions, and lack of advertising for adoption.

“One shelter in Manhattan and one shelter in Brooklyn does not come close to servicing the city of New York, and we demand that the current nonprofit New York.”

Ferrara said the goal of the protest is to get a response from elected officials.

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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