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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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