New York City is trying to get its unwanted pets in front of families who might adopt them - which could mean taking them away from the sad facilities where they are dropped off.
The city's Animal Care and Control (AC&C;) announced on Friday that it expects to receive an $8-million influx in capital funds in 2015, $5 million of which will pay for a brand new adoption center and upgrades to its shelter in Brooklyn.
The new adoption wing will separate people wanting to adopt an animal from those surrendering one - which could attract more potential adoptive families. One 2011 survey found that 22 percent of respondents said that shelters being depressing was a barrier to adoption.
"Now people won't have to adopt from the same facility where people are surrendering pets, which can be distressing to watch," Allie Feldman, executive director of the animal advocacy group NYCLASS, told The Dodo. "People want to adopt from a different facility, and the new Manhattan adoption wing will be a more welcoming environment for adopters."
The upgrades are sorely needed - per a contract with the city Health Department, AC&C; must accept every single stray or surrendered animal it finds, resulting in high rates of euthanization and crowded facilities. Every year, the center receives some 30,000 unwanted animals - making visiting a shelter in NYC even more depressing than it is in many other places.
The New York Daily News reports that the existing shelter will also be getting a new roof, more mobile adoption vans and other upgrades. The renovations are part of a decade-long campaign, championed by the Mayor's Alliance for Animals, to lower the rate of euthanized animals in New York. The incorporation of mobile spay and neuter clinic vans and adoption events - temporary pop-ups where people can meet and adopt homeless dogs - have also helped the shelter modernize and place thousands of animals in need of homes.
"New York City is the greatest city in the world," Risa Weinstock, executive director of AC&C; told the Daily News. "We should have the greatest adoption center."