Council blasted for nixing Queens animal shelter

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Photo gallery

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Holly Leon holds her dog Beast during the rally. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Possum, a Collie from Bayside, takes part in a protest outside Animal Care & Control's Receiving Center. The group blasted a recent City Council bill, which no longer requires an animal shelter to be built in Queens, as well as Animal Control's euthanasia policy. Photo by Christina Santucci
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John Wortmann, a Councilman from Port Jervis, passes around a petition to Kevin Phillips. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Singer and songwriter Kylie Edmond performs as people walk by. Photo by Christina Santucci
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MiG Ayesa performs during the protest. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Protestors Holly Leon (l.) and Renee Polgar hold pups (l.-r.) Beast, Sprout and Jackie. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Allison Kohmann protests with her pup Hazel, who was adopted from a Manhattan shelter. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Julian Perez (l.) holds Hazel and Carrie Gouldsbrough holds Sofia Lauren. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Liz Raab of Bayside holds her pup Possum. Photo by Christina Santucci

More than 30 men and women staged a protest in Rego Park Saturday against a September City Council law that no longer requires an animal shelter to be built in Queens. Protesters also slammed the nonprofit Animal Care & Control’s policies on euthanizing animals.

“The [New York] Animal Rights Alliance of America is determined to hold city officials’ feet to the fire,” said protester Jerilyn Piccirelli.

Members of the alliance, many wearing red shirts and some with dogs in tow, lined the corner of Horace Harding Expressway near 92-29 Queens Blvd. in Rego Park, where the AAC, which operates the city’s animal shelter system, has a receiving center. A receiving center takes in found animals to be sent to pounds elsewhere in the city.

The center was not open the day of the protest, but alliance members sang songs and held up signs reading “Stop the Killing Now” and “Stop Killing Man’s Best Friend.” Some pictures were of sick or killed animals and others showed AAC Director Julie Bank with devil horns.

The AAC did not respond to requests for comment by Tuesday evening press time.

Kay Riviello, who co-founded the alliance, said members came out against a bill passed Sept. 21 that undid a 2000 law that were required the city to build shelters in Queens and in the Bronx in exchange an increased funding to AAC and increased hours of operation for receiving centers such as the one in Rego Park.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg championed and signed the bill, which passed with 46 votes. Queens Councilmen Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) and Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) voted against the measure.

Riviello said increasing receiving centers’ hours was not sufficient to serve the more than 2 million people in Queens.

“All we have is a pound in Manhattan and Brooklyn,” Riviello said. “It’s an overtaxed pound.”

She suggested Queens should have its own adoption center and shelter system.

In addition to protesting the September bill or law, others said ACC kills animals unnecessarily.

Renee Polgar, who runs the Facebook group Pets on Death Row, claimed many animals that have gone through AAC have been killed because they supposedly were too young, were sick or had a poor temper, but some animals with those classifications were adopted by individuals and are now healthy, happy pets.

“They’re killing perfectly healthy animals every single day,” Polgar said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Reader Feedback

Kay Riviello from New York says:
Thank you so much Ms. Henely for your coverage!! It was indeed an historic day for cats and dogs in NYC because we are the first group that vows to get 10,000 signatures on the streets of NYC to demand that 0655 be repealed and true no-kill shelters be built in Queens and the Bronx.

The total in attendance was 75 and our protest campaign is a 5-yr program three-fold: We will protest regularly for massive awareness of the kill pound system, advocating for the Companion Animal Rescue Act (sponsored by Micah Kellner) to be passed and that the true no-kill paradigm by Nathan Winograd be instituted in NYC as it has been successful in so many other cities around America. 800 dogs and cats are killed per hour in this country and the public is hardly aware. Secondly, we will take legal action against kill pounds in the areas of animal abuse, negligence and incompetence where talks have failed and we will pressure our elected officials to institute true no-kill. Here in NYC, this was the headquarters for a National Protest Against Kill Pounds in America. We had approximately 24 facilities participate and a 90 minute documentary is pending. Again, thank you so much!
Nov. 19, 2011, 4:08 am
kevin phillips from pascoag rhode island says:
thank you to all who attended we are their voice keep up the fight!
Nov. 19, 2011, 9:13 am
Margot Casalena from Queens,NY says:
Thank you Ms Henely for your coverage..
I am with the NY-ARAA & I am one of the 75 Protesters from the 11/12/11 Protest against the NY-ACC in Rego Park, Queens. I have been with Kay & this group since day one, and we are growing stronger in numbers everyday...We at NY-ARAA are not backing down from this one!!!..We want Mayor Bloomberg, Julie Bank & Christine Quinn to hear us, loud and clear!! We demand that 0655 be repealed & true no- kill shelters be built in Queens & the Bronx.. Open 24 hours a day/7 days a week and ensure full service animal care including full time veterinary service.. A TRUE NO- KILL SHELTER NOW!!..We at NY-ARAA will never give up the fight for the voiceless....."Animals will never have justice til animals have rights" .....Our goal and our dream is to make sure this becomes reality...Thank you to all the NY-ARAA activists/friends who attended at Queens and all the other 24 facilities..See you at the next one. :)
Nov. 19, 2011, 1:55 pm
Lori Schmid from North Central CT says:
WoooHooo and thank you Ms Henley for your great coverage. This is a start, we ARE being heard loud and clear and we are not going to go away until NYC is TRUE NO KILL. It can be done and it WILL be done. We will grow in number and we will be heard. We are the voices for these poor animals that don't stand much of a chance without our help and the thousands of adoptions being done yearly. My son adopted a dog from Manhattan ACC on July 1. We were told she was spayed.....well....she was not spayed and went into heat. We were very responsible and she did not get the oppurtunity to breed. She is now SPAYED by my VERY COMPETENT VET!! If NYC-ACC is adopting out dogs that are susposedly SPAYED when they indeed are not, I ask this question, "How much is the population increasing in NYC due to dogs that are being adopted out as spayed when indeed they are very capable of reproducing! P L E A S E!!! When I adopted my dog from Stamford CT ACC she was spayed cause they did it. They also did not accidently kill her with a botched surgery which happens at NYC ACC all too often. NYARAA is here to stay. A shelter will be built in Queens and Bronx.
March on all.
Nov. 19, 2011, 2:40 pm

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