When NYC feels too rough, it’s only natural to gravitate toward the cuter things on the cityscape. The day that I changed my morning commute so I could pass a puppy daycare center located off the Broadway-Lafayette stop, I knew I had it bad. It’s so tempting to buy (or steal, says this guy) a furry friend to help cope with a stressful lifestyle, and the hundreds of pet stores in NYC make the urge so satiable. But you must rationalize. There are awful things happening in this city to animals every day and buying a pet may contribute to these statistics.
Last year, an NYU student, Amy Stoker, attempted to buy a Klee Kai puppy through humane means—she did not want to give any money to a business associated with a puppy mill. If you aren’t familiar, puppy mills are places that breed dogs in shockingly poor conditions. The Mommy and Daddy dogs at puppy mills are often killed after their “use” and millions of puppies are born each year with severe health and behavioral problems. Amy encountered many dishonest and unfriendly NYC pet storeowners and quickly gave up her search.
In addition to all of these pet store-related issues, New York City has an appalling record of animal abuse. Do not click the following links if you can’t get though those Sarah McLaughlin soundtracked ASPCA commercials. In June 2012, NYC cops busted a Bronx dog-fighting ring, saving 47 dogs from a vicious death. In August, a cop shot a violent dog in the East Village who could have been caught by other means. Earlier this month, the NYPD released disgusting footage of a man brutally kicking a dog in a Harlem elevator. To make matters worse, there is currently no law preventing animal abuse offenders from walking into a pet store and buying another animal. Some hope on this front remains—the City Council is proposing legislation that would require animal shelter to check a registry of convicted animal abusers.
Sean Casey, director of the Sean Casey Animal Rescue (SCAR), is a Brooklyn native who runs a no-kill shelter and takes in approximately 150 dogs a month. In this amazing profile of Sean by Brian Pritchett at The Awl, the Animal Rescuer shares his story of love and compassion for the animals of NYC. He is a modern day superhero. Please read the article—it will restore your hope in humanity and make the previous paragraph less heartbreaking.
There are many other people in the city who are dedicated to the animals of New York like Sean Casey, and with more conscientious pet customers, these dismal statistics can be improved. So, next time you are procrastinating at the Washington Square dog park and you think about the possibility of buying or adopting a dog, I hope this article will help you make an informed and thoughtful decision. This cute face is counting on you.
[Images by the author and courtesy of the Sean Casey Shelter]