Festive music and the sounds of barking dogs gave an air of excitement to the hustle and bustle of people looking for a forever furry friend to bring home at a pet adoption event sponsored by Assemblywoman Jaime Williams at the Jacob Joffe Fields on Saturday.
“So, this is our first year having our “I Love My Pet Day” and I can’t believe the numbers, the lines, the people who came here waiting to take a kitty or a puppy home to give them a better home,” Williams said.
Jacob Joffe Fields is located at East 58th Street and Avenue K. “Sometimes we give so many events at Marine Park or Canarsie Park, and this park was just right here, smack in the middle, so, we’re like, let’s give this park some life and entertainment,” Williams said.
Activities were scheduled to take place from noon to 3:30 p.m., but some came as early as 10:30 a.m. to be first in line to see the 17 kittens and puppies in the Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) mobile truck. ACC volunteer Robert Freed and his helpers kept everything running smoothly as people patiently waited, despite the growing line.
The 63rd Precinct set up their Pop Up With A Cop tent and helped with traffic and a table where large dog beds were given out. They removed an illegally parked car during the event to make room for the many other cars that came by that day.
Millennium Development’s volunteers Donna Weinstein and Arlene Rosa gave out free dog food, car seats for cats, treats and more. They were among many who provided information and resources, as well as lots of free pet supplies, toys, food, treats and bedding available through the generous donations of rescue organizations and others. There was even a little red carpet set up for the pooches to strut their stuff and take photos.
Some began the adoption process prior to the event by scanning the code on the event’s flyer. Others had the option to visit one of the tables set up by Paws of Hope, a foster-based rescue organization, where volunteer Cathy Bronstein displayed numerous pictures of rescue cats available for adoption.
“All of these cats we have vetted and fixed,” Bronstein said. “Some of them that we find are in bad condition, so we get them the medical help they need, and we hope to find them their forever homes.”
She explained that adoption is not free and costs around $200 through her organization due to costs to have the animals spayed, neutered and vaccinated, and to take care of medical costs. The animals are also socialized by fostering them in homes prior to adoption.
Volunteers, Sharon Balbos and Sassy, at Neighborhood Cats, whose mission is to reduce stray and feral cat populations through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) methods, handed out educational materials about how their organization humanely captures cats in a colony, sterilizes, marks, and vaccinates them against rabies, and returns them to their territory, providing food, water, shelter and maintenance.
Several volunteers who also foster some of the animals were outside the truck holding some of the larger breeds on leashes for people to meet, greet and consider for adoption. People also brought their pets to socialize and join in on the fun.
Anyone interested in adopting a rescue animal had several options to choose from and were encouraged to tell others to visit the websites of the organizations present for online adoption. ACC put out flyers asking for old towels and for people to volunteer with them.
In addition to those mentioned above, the event was co-sponsored by NYC Parks, Flatlands Civic Club, Inc., Bergen Beach Civic, District Manager Sue Ann Partnow, District Leader Frank Seddio, and the 63rd and 69th Precinct Community Councils.
“People are always taking care of themselves, and we never see an event appreciating our pets, so my staff and I came up with this idea to have this event and thank God it was a success,” Williams said. “We hope to have it every year.”