NEW YORK—The northeast corner of Union Square Park was filled with adorable dogs, cats, and rabbits looking for homes Sunday afternoon, at the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals’ Adoptapalooza.
“An event like this draws people who want to adopt, but might not want to go to a shelter,” said Steve Gruber from the Mayor’s Alliance. “Our mission is to reduce euthanasia at the city shelters and to find homes for all the healthy and treatable dogs and cats of the city.”
More than 200 animals up for adoption, from various rescue centers and shelters, were there to meet New Yorkers looking for pets. In addition to adoptions, there were also raffles, training and grooming centers hosted by Petco, specialty vendors, and more.
“We’re hoping to adopt a dog, something small and hypoallergenic. We like Maltese mixes but we’re open to other breeds,” said Billie Carlebach. Carlebach, who lives in Brooklyn with three cats, lost her dog last year. “We save cats, off the street, and bring them to places like these, rescue centers.”
Many of the rescue groups, who don’t have a brick-and-mortar central location, use foster homes for the animals they take in, and are breed specific. New Yorkers looking to adopt could stop by tents with information and adoption books for huskies, bulldogs, and other breeds.
“We take them in, take care of their health needs, and work with trainers,” said Joan Garvin, president of Metropolitan Maltese Rescue. The group currently has 15 dogs in foster homes, with six ready to adopt.
“We do not do direct adoptions for these events,” Garvin said. “We do home visits, we check all their recommendations, and it’s not a first-come, first-served basis. We try to match the right home with the right dog.”
Many of the rescue shelters require home checks, but same-day adoptions were available with a number of organizations as well.
“We’re hoping to adopt a dog,” said Chris Wood. “That’s what our kid wants.” Wood lives with his wife and son on the Upper East Side, and has never owned pets. His son had his eye on one of the dogs wearing an “adopt me” vest from Bideawee.
Bideawee requires checking basic information—such as verifying that the home of the family looking to adopt a dog actually allows pets and checking references. They also require all household members to be present at the adoption, along with any other dogs the family may own. The dog rescue and shelter center has its own facility, and was established in 1906.
Among the cats and dogs was Rabbit Rescue & Rehab, which takes in more than 200 rabbits a year, cares and fosters them, as well as educates rabbit owners and potential rabbit owners on how to care for their pets.“We do rescues, I go to people’s houses and help them clip nails, we’re all-purpose, we do everything,” said Marcie Frishberg. Frishberg said many of the abandoned rabbits tend to be impulse gifts for children around Easter, and the rabbits who haven’t been spayed and neutered eventually become aggressive when they reach puberty, and then families no longer want to keep them.
Rabbit Rescue & Rehab, a chapter of the House Rabbit Society, also works closely with Petco, which is now housing a number of their rabbits until they are adopted.
“Some of these [rabbits] are from a hoarding situation. This guy who was a backyard breeder—by accident, he didn’t mean to be—he just threw these rabbits in the backyard and a year later there were 50,” Frishberg said. Rabbit Rescue & Rehab now foster 17 of those rabbits.
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