Bronx animal shelter up for Council vote after heated debate

The city plans to build an animal shelter on Bartow Avenue in the Bronx.
The city plans to build an animal shelter on Bartow Avenue in the Bronx. Photo Credit: Bryan Bennett

An animal shelter planned in Co-Op City passed a significant hurdle Monday, as the City Council’s Land Use Committee unanimously backed the proposal, sending it before the full Council for final approval.

City Councilman Andy King, who represents the 2050 Bartow Ave. site in question, called for civility from his constituents, animal activists and others, who have been arguing, at times acrimoniously, for and against the 46,000 square-foot, two-story shelter.

"We in government are tasked in leading our neighborhoods, but that does not constitute having nasty conversations," King said at the meeting.

Earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration unveiled plans for the facility, stressing that, by law, each borough must have its own, full-service, animal shelter. Animal welfare activists cheered the proposal. 

Some Co-op City residents and members of the local community board, however, contended the site would be better suited for a community center. 

Roxanne Delgado, a member of Bronx Animal Rights Electors, thanked the committee for voting for a facility that would provide relief to overburdened shelters elsewhere in the city. 

"Our animals will receive more care and more time to be adopted instead of euthanized for lack of space," Delgado said in a statement. "This facility is a new model of how the city will treat its homeless animal population."

Representatives from Community Board 10, which voted against the city’s plans,  would not immediately comment on Monday’s vote.

The proposed animal shelter is slated to come before the full Council for a vote on Nov.14.