Shelters Prepare for Kitten and Puppy Season

March 24, 2010 | By Amy Lieberman | Category: Adoption & Rescue | 30 comments
Tags: adoption & rescue

NEW YORK — Springtime brings the promise of longer, brighter days, fading into gentler evenings. But the season also comes with an influx of stray and abandoned puppies and kittens, born in the warmer months.

New York City animal shelters are anticipating an imminent influx of animals, but all systems are go, and capable of handling the onset, according to Richard Gentles, spokesperson for Animal Care and Control of New York City, which oversees all public city shelters.

“We will start seeing more litters of kittens coming in this time of the year, mid-to-the-end of March. We will see it pick up and last through November,” Gentles told Zootoo Pet News. “We expect that. But fortunately we have a good adoption program and our rescue partners step it up during this time of the year, knowing there is an increase in the number of animals we are rescuing.”

The ACC admitted 40,679 dogs and cats during 2009-2010, with the greatest number of intakes during the late spring and summer months, up by at least several hundred animals per month. It put down the most number of animals during that time, as well, but adoptions also kept pace, rising steadily to a total 25,955 for the year. Only 17,958 animals were adopted out during 2005-2006, and the numbers have risen steadily since then.

“Our adoption numbers are continuing to increase and our euthanasia numbers are continuing to decrease,” Gentles explained. “New York City is at an all time low, with euthanasia rates at about 32 to 33 percent [of animals admitted to shelters]. Ten years or so ago that would be about 75 percent. Everyone is working toward the common goal.”

The poor economy has not had a visible negative effect on NYC shelters, according to Gentles, who noted that people in between jobs have stepped forward to volunteer, donate money and goods, and foster pets of others who were unable to keep them.

While public awareness campaigns about the benefits of adopting a pet have likely aided the city in handling its admitted pets, Gentles also noted the success of other partnered programs, like The Toby Project, which provides low-cost spay and neuter services to New Yorkers’ pets in a mobile van.

“People know that these programs are out there, now, and they are using them. Their pets are getting fixed, and we are having fewer cases, as a result, of unwanted litters that eventually get dumped and wind up in shelters,” Gentles said.

The Toby Project, launched last year, has spayed or neutered 2,769 animals to date, according to its website, preventing the births of as many as 34,025,472 offspring in five years.

Other private city shelters reflected a similar air of certainty and confidence as the puppy and kitten season falls upon us.

Animal Haven, a private shelter located in downtown Manhattan, has the luxury of being able to turn animals away when it reaches capacity, unlike the ACC. So while it might not have to deal with the same levels of potential stress in that regard, it still seeks to accommodate as many pets as possible.

Consistent high turnover rates — which the spring season tends to augment — have made that dream become reality, according to Jennifer Bristol, director of operations for Animal Haven.

“We find that people are looking to adopt during this time of the year,” Bristol said. “It’s a much easier time to bring a puppy into the house, and in the summertime, families tend to have more time to devote to introducing a new pet into the home and helping it get adjusted.”

“Since we are in a busy location, in SoHo, we also just see more people out and about, walking by, more likely to come by and peek in, and maybe consider adopting a pet.”

People concerned about the sudden excess number of dogs and cats during these spring and summer months should consider adopting a pet this season, Bristol recommended, or if they are unable, pointing out the benefits of this timing to their friends and family.

To find out more about The Toby Project, visit

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Comments (23)

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Roz A.

Roz A.
5 years ago

I have contributed to "The Toby Porject" and also bought a nice cap with their logo for a dear friend. He had a yellow lab named Toby who they lost to cancer...

Good Point | Reply ›


5 years ago

I have heard of some vets spaying and neutering at about 10 weeks old, my vet would do it at four months old. I think all shelters should find a way to to have all the kittens and puppies spayed before going home. If that is not possible the shelters need to set up spay/neuter appointments before the animal goes home and let the adopters know it is their responsibility and part of the adoption process to pay for the procedure.

Good Point | Reply ›

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