It was a tough holiday weekend for some four-legged New Yorkers.
More than 300 dogs, cats and rabbits were brought to city animal shelters between Friday and Monday — either as strays or by owners who no longer wanted them.
Animal Care Centers of NYC put out a plea on Wednesday morning, looking for people to adopt or at least foster some of the animals, and ease overcrowding at shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
ACC officials said the shelters usually receive about 40 to 60 animals a day. And last year, the shelter received about 160 animals during Memorial Day weekend.
“This weekend we saw a massive increase in intake, including hundreds of cats, dogs and rabbits,” ACC President and CEO Risa Weinstock said in a statement. “From small breed dogs, to kittens and rabbits, we have an amazing array of animals available for New Yorkers who are looking to add a furry friend to their family.”
The nonprofit runs the city’s animals shelters through a contract with the health department. And unlike other shelters in the city, it cannot turn away any animal that comes through its doors.
Kitten season is adding to their woes. About 100 of the animals dropped off are young kittens that need special attention and care. Ellen Curtis, ACC’s senior director of strategic operations, said they partner with rescue groups, such as the ASPCA and Best Friends, who have taken in most of the kittens.
The ASPCA has a dedicated kitten nursery and staff that bottle-feeds, bathes and socializes the tiny homeless felines. There is always a boom in kitten births during spring and summer.
Animal rescuers said the influx of unwanted pets underscores the need to have full-service shelters in all five boroughs. The Bronx is on tap to get a new shelter by 2024, but currently Queens is only slated to get an upgraded receiving center.
“If we had five full-service shelters in the city, this would be another day at the office,” Phyllis Taiano, founder of the Queens-based Four Paws Sake animal rescue, said. “Adoptions always slow down in the spring. People are taking vacations and don’t want the responsibility of a pet. Sadly, some people also use it as an excuse to surrender their pets.”
ACC spokesman Katy Hansen said the nonprofit tries to help people keep their pets by offering behavior training as well as medical, food and landlord assistance.
She also advised people to wait a few hours before picking up a litter of kittens, to see if their mother returns.
“It’s important for kittens to remain with their moms.”