April 20, 2021

lieverthuis

affection for others

Queens councilman wants committee devoted to animal welfare

Councilman Bob Holden wants the City Council to create a committee devoted to animal welfare, following The Post’s coverage of squalid and neglectful conditions at the Big Apple pound, according to a letter sent to Council Speaker Corey Johnson. 

The Queens Democrat wrote that the creation of the committee is necessary to give animal issues the focus they deserve. 

“Creating a committee that could solely focus on holding hearings and oversight over city agencies that deal with animals would allow for our great legislative body to continue the work of the countless advocates who already do,” Holden wrote in the Tuesday letter. 

Currently, animal welfare issues are housed under the council’s Committee on Health because the ACC is contracted through the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. But Holden, who is a member on the committee, said the group’s “jurisdiction is too vast.” 

“While our city and country navigate the difficulties resulting from the novel coronavirus and the economic crisis, our animals have also suffered. Even before the pandemic, animal welfare-related policy had fallen by the wayside. Therefore, I believe it is time that we have a standalone committee for animals,” Holden implored. 

The move comes following The Post’s coverage of severe neglect at the taxpayer funded shelter where dogs are left without water for long periods of time and are forced to languish in waste-filled cages. A spokesperson for Holden said the reporting had a profound “impact” on Holden, which led him to ask for the creation of a standalone committee that’d oversee the beleaguered system. 

Queens Democrat Bob Holden
Queens Democrat Bob Holden wrote that the creation of the committee is necessary to give animal issues the focus they deserve.
Dennis A. Clark

Johnson didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Holden, who represents constituents in Glendale, Maspeth, Woodside, Middle Village, Ridgewood and Woodhaven, also sent a letter to ACC’s Chief Executive Officer Risa Weinstock criticizing their decision to not host adoption events during the pandemic. 

“While we continue to navigate this pandemic, the defenseless animals in this city have seemingly fallen by the wayside,” Holden wrote. 

Amid the pandemic, families have faced housing insecurity and economic crises at unprecedented rates, leading them to surrender their pets to the ACC when they can no longer care for them, which puts them at a high risk of euthanasia if they aren’t readily adopted. 

“Considering the economic crisis unleashed by COVID-19, I fear that more animals are being surrendered into your custody than ever before. It was disappointing to learn that when my office inquired with ACC to host an adoption event, the answer was that you were not doing them at this time due to the pandemic,” Holden wrote. 

Animal Care Center of NYC
The Post’s coverage revealed severe neglect at the taxpayer funded shelter where dogs are left without water for long periods of time and are forced to languish in waste-filled cage
William Miller

“Considering the many measures that can be taken to host events like such, I do not believe that ACC’s answer was sufficient. I ask that you reconsider your policy on not hosting adoption events and instead develop a strategy that helps give these animals a new home while keeping your staff safe.” 

ACC did not immediately return a request for comment.