Rescue Group Suing City Health Dept.

Postby nicole » January 27th, 2009, 2:55 pm

(Not sure if this should be in here or news)

This is the local NYC rescue group mentioned in the article... Stray from the Heart http://strayfromtheheart.org/adoptions/

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/queens/2009/01/27/2009-01-27_group_sues_over_a_lack_of_shelters_sez_p.html

Group sues over a lack of shelters: Sez pets dying due to city's foot-dragging
BY LISA L. COLANGELO

Tuesday, January 27th 2009, 9:58 AM

A GROUP of animal rescuers has sued the city Health Department for breaking its own law by failing to provide animal shelters in all five boroughs.

The nonprofit group Stray from the Heart said the city's neglect has resulted in the "needless suffering and death" of homeless cats and dogs.

"Homeless dogs have been dying in unconscionable numbers because the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has not provided the shelter space required by statute," the group charged in a lawsuit filed earlier this month.

The law, enacted in 2000, required full-service shelters in all five boroughs by 2002. It was then amended to give the city an additional four years.

While Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island have shelters, Queens and the Bronx have only small, part-time receiving centers for people to drop off stray animals.

The facilities that do exist are severely overcrowded and disease-ridden, the lawsuit charges.

"City law clearly requires a full-service shelter in each of the five boroughs, which accepts animals 24 hours each day, offers adoption services seven days a week and offers sterilization services," said Carly Henek, a lawyer with Kay Scholer LLP, which is representing the plaintiff.

"None of the three shelters and two receiving centers currently comply with these requirements," she said.

But the Health Department, which contracts with the nonprofit New York City Animal Care and Control, said all the sites provide vital services.

"At each of these facilities, the Animal Care and Control provides care to abandoned animals and works to find homes for the more than 43,000 animals rescued in New York City each year," the Health Department said in a statement. "The city continues to search for a suitable location for an expanded facility in Queens, while continuing to acquire a property in the Bronx."

The selection of the Bronx site, a former library space on Bainbridge Ave., has riled some local leaders who want to use it as a community center.

Stray from the Heart, which facilitates the adoption of animals from city shelters, said in the suit that the lack of proper services has put a greater strain on small rescue groups.

As part of the lawsuit, the group is seeking at least $400,000 in damages.

Many of the dogs the group pulls from AC&C shelters have upper respiratory infections and need expensive treatment and boarding before they can be adopted, according to the group.

The case is expected to go before a Manhattan judge in early February.
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