Free BarkBoxes to encourage pit bull adoption in NYC

To encourage pit bull adoptions, an often stigmatized breed, the city’s shelters are offering high-end gift boxes and reduced fees this coming weekend for those bring one of the dogs home, Animal Care & Control Executive Director Risa Weinstock said Wednesday.

The adoption event, which coincides with Saturday’s National Pit Bull Awareness Day, uses coveted gifts from BarkBox to incentivize New Yorkers in all five boroughs to consider taking home the often misunderstood dogs.

“We are New Yorkers, we can open our minds,” Weinstock said. “These are great dogs. I think the whole idea here is to try and get people to drop their preconceived notions.”

People who take home a pit bull will receive a voucher for a BarkBox, from Bark & Co, including toys for heavy chewers, grain-free treats and a pit bull appreciation pin, said Danielle Maveal the company’s BarkGood Director.

“We are obsessed with getting dogs in homes,” Maveal said. “We know that pit bulls get a bad rap and there are a lot of them in shelters because of that. We like to try to think of ways we can make an impact.”

The initiative has been in the works for several months, she said. Each BarkBox, which is part of an online subscription service, retails for about $29.

“We like to call them real dogs,” Maveal said. “They need toys and chews that can stand up to them.”

Each year pit bulls make up about 45% of all dogs in the city’s shelter system, Weinstock said. Nearly 5,000 pit bulls went through the system last year, she said.

“We obviously have the supply of dogs, they have the supply of toys and treats,” Weinstock said. “These are animals who all they want is some love and your home. And they deserve that, they really do.”

AC&C will reduce the adoption fee for all pit bulls from Oct. 24 to 26 to $25 for dogs 7 months and older, which usually costs $50 to $75, Weinstock said. Puppies 6 months and younger will cost $100, which is $50 less than the usual adoption fee.

From noon to 7 p.m. each day, dogs, and other animals, available for adoption will be at one of three Care Centers: 326 East 110th Street in Manhattan, 2336 Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn and 3139 Veterans Road West in Staten Island.

Animals are also available in AC&C’s mobile adoption center, which will be parked at the Union Square Petco on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., and at FENWICK KEATS Real Estate on the Upper West Side on Sunday during the same times.