Archives for No-kill category

FREE adoptions? No fees? Isn’t that dangerous? – the answer will surprise you.

When I first heard about low or no cost adoption fees, I was completely and totally against the idea.

I had heard rumors of some places doing this, and I just thought to myself that they were disreputable and didn’t care who adopted their animals.

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 3.36.38 PMThen I read about a seminar where it was encouraged for you to REDUCE adoption fees on senior dogs and cats, or pit bulls, or difficult to place dogs or cats, or dogs or cats with medical issues or those that had been with you a long time.

I read the seminar description and thought “ABSOLUTELY NOT!”  Those dogs and cats are not worth any less in our eyes! Just because they are older or sick, or may be tougher to place, does that mean I want people adopting them BECAUSE they see a “discounted” animal? It seemed to imply that they are WORTH less or that we should devalue them in some way!

And so I attended the seminar, perhaps a bit smug and pompous in regards to my opinion about this, but also ready and wanting to be open minded and to listen to what was to be taught. Inwardly I had kind of already made up my mind that we wouldn’t be doing this at Pets Alive.

After the seminar…and after listening with a truly open mind, asking many questions, after reading the studies about this, and after speaking to many organizations that had done it…I was forced to admit that I was wrong. Very wrong.

The first one I spoke to in person about this was Bonnie Brown. Bonnie Brown used to work at the Best Friends Animal Society and then she went to Nevada Humane and wound up converting their very high kill facility into one that saves over 93% of all 15,000 animals they take in annually. Think about that. They are taking in over 42 animals EVERY SINGLE day, seven days a week, and saving almost ALL of them. And Bonnie supported free, low cost and reduced fee adoptions.

Does this look like a woman that would adopt an animal out to someone that wouldn't care about them?So I went to her and asked her why we would want to do this? I advised that the dregs of society must walk in to get a free cat or dog. And I explained all my reasons (listed above) for disagreeing with this. And she looked at me, and with no offense taken said “Do you have a good adoption team?”  

Well, give me an opening to brag about my staff and I’ll talk your ear off.  I went on and on about how caring they were, how professional, how much they loved our animals and how carefully they matched our animals to homes.And she softly said to me “Then why would you not trust them to place your animals in only GOOD homes?”

Well. Game. Set. Match. Point. Goal. Checkmate…….whatever the heck the saying is.

Hmm. Uh. Yeah.
That’s true.

If the people still have to fill out our adoption application, and they still have to go through our reference checks and our vet checks and possibly our home checks, and they have to come down to meet their new pet and spend time with us and we watch them interact with their potential new pet, and we talk to them, and maybe we see their current dog (if they have a dog they are required to bring that one down to meet their possible “additional” dog) and we see how that dog looks and is cared for and reacts to them….well then really – what do we care about how much we are charging them?

If WE can afford to let them go low cost, no cost, or reduced fees – then maybe, just maybe we will encourage a person in the market for a new pet to ADOPT and not BUY an animal at a pet shop or a breeder.  To come to a shelter and save a life.  Maybe if all across the nation we did this, we could put puppy mills out of business and force pet shops to have only shelter pets for “sale” at their stores.  Perhaps this, along with all the other things we are doing to achieve no-kill, could finally help end the killing of so many millions of little defenseless lives in shelters across the United States.

Perhaps people that already have a pet and were not necessarily looking to get another might be encouraged to come down on adoption “free” days and take another pet home. Perhaps we can place MORE animals into good homes if it wasn’t hundreds of dollars to adopt one.

And studies show that people that do adopt and don’t pay a fee have NO DECREASE in the love or commitment they bestow upon that animal!

Here is one study done by Maddie’s Fund (Click to read full study):

A survey of all 1,928 pet adopters from the fee-waived 2011 Matchmaker Adopt-athon compared caregiver characteristics and pet lifestyles between adopters who still had their pets 6 – 12 months after the event, and those who did not. A total of 57% (1,099) of adopters completed the survey, and a vast majority of those reported that the adopted pets were still in the home (93% of the dogs and 95% of the cats). Most pets lived predominantly indoors, slept in the family bed, and had been to a veterinarian – and a resounding 94% of all respondents declared a strong or very strong attachment to the pet, whether the pet was retained or not. The researchers concluded that successful adoptions do not require payment of a fee, and free adoption promotions may increase adoptions without compromising the quality of the animal’s life. 

The ASPCA facility in NYC has an ONGOING program where all cats over 3 years old are adoption fee free!  And they report no adverse stories, reports or high rate of returns for those cats.

maddie1So while on the surface this SOUNDS crazy, or scary, or nerve-wracking, it really isn’t.  It is just another step to save millions more lives each year and take dogs and cats off of euthanasia tables and put them into the loving arm of families that will adore them.

And we will still check you out.  We will still do our due diligence and you may still get turned away if you aren’t a good home, or we don’t feel you’ve shown responsibility to previously owned pets. How many can we adopt in 2 days? Let’s see! And if we adopt 50 or 100 in two days….then we can save another 50 or 100 that very night from a shelter that might kill them.

And so on June 1st and June 2nd, Pets Alive will be participating in the Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days, and will be open at all our locations from 9 am – 9 pm for you to come and adopt a dog or a cat and pay NO ADOPTION fee. We will be one of 5 states, 8 communities, 100 locations, with a total goal of finding homes for 5000 animals that weekend.

So spread the word. Help us reach our goals, help us find homes for all the animals in BOTH our sanctuaries. Let us come in on Monday morning to empty runs, and empty cat rooms.
And then we’ll go and save some more.

Filed in Animal Rescue, No-kill by kerry on May 17, 2013.  There are 25 comments.  

Hidden In Plain Sight

By Joy Carson, Executive Director Pets Alive Puerto Rico

Look closely at this photo that we took at a busy parking lot in Utuado. Less than one day old, this tiny baby lays on the pavement, waiting for mama to return to the “den”. Like a metaphor for the problem of stray dogs in Puerto Rico, this newborn is hidden in plain sight, within view of dozens of people, but invisible to all but a few.


A shaded pavement is not a sufficient temperature to sustain the life of a newborn pup, even here in the tropics. If the chill doesn’t kill this baby, the torrential afternoon rains will. We wonder why mama chose such an inappropriate place for her den, and when she returns, we have our answer. Mama is just a baby herself, maybe 9-10 months old. She is skinny and full of mange. We look around for other hidden pups, but find none. We ask around in the stores, and are told that she delivered only one pup – not surprising given her age and physical condition. We have no doubt that without intervention her baby will be dead within hours.

Now try to imagine that YOU are a compassionate animal lover, as so many Puerto Ricans are. You come upon this baby, or you come upon any one of the thousands of pups or dogs in need here. Your heart breaks and you want to help, but you simply cannot take in even one more because you already have 5, 10, or 12 dogs at home that you picked up off the street (multiple dog households with high numbers of dogs is VERY common here). The rescue organizations are full (you’ve called them many times in the past), and you know if you call animal control the dog will be taken to a shelter and killed.

The images of the dogs you have seen but could not help are burned into your eyes. So you learn to look away, you pretend not to see. You close down a part of your heart so you can go on with each day. You pray for help for these precious creatures, and you think that’s all you can do.

But I am begging you to stop turning away. YOU CAN DO MORE, and if you care about animals, you MUST do more to help and to prevent unwanted animals – like this baby – from being born, suffering and dying in the streets.


SPAY/NEUTER YOUR OWN DOGS. It is the single most important thing YOU can do to help solve the problem of unwanted dogs on the street. And not just the females! If your males are not neutered, YOU are directly responsible for adding to the population of unwanted dogs on the street.

TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS ABOUT SPAYING/NEUTERING THEIR DOGS, and consider helping them if they are not able to afford it or need help getting to the veterinarian.

Instead of feeding strays, save that money and spend it on spaying/neutering just one stray dog. One unspayed/unneutered dog and its offspring can produce THOUSANDS of unwanted dogs. By spaying/neutering just one stray, you prevent the suffering of countless dogs.

If you are not in Puerto Rico, or cannot bring in a stray for spay/neuter, then SPONSOR the spay/neuter of a STRAY dog.

SPONSOR the spay/neuter of an OWNED PET so we can continue to offer low cost services to families that want to spay/neuter their pets.

ADOPT A DOG FROM YOUR LOCAL SHELTER instead of buying a purebred dog. Please don’t buy a dog while wonderful and amazing dogs suffer and die in the streets.

TALK OPENLY ABOUT YOUR LOVE FOR ANIMALS, so others who feel the same way will know that they are not alone.

We need YOUR help now to change the world for the animals of Puerto Rico.

REOPEN YOUR EYES AND YOUR HEART, PUT ON YOUR BATTLE GEAR, and send email to to let us know how you will help.


Please Consider a Donation

It costs just $80 to change the world for a stray dog. Your gift will provide spay/neuter, 2 vaccinations, a collar and ID tag, and medication for internal parasites, common skin ailments and flea/tick preventative.

For just $30, you can help sponsor one low cost spay/neuter for a pet owner who wants to be sure that their dog never adds to the population of unwanted dogs suffering on the streets.

If you are a pet owner, or if you want to spay/neuter a stray dog, we offer you a low cost option. For just $50, you can have your dog spayed/neutered, vaccinated and receive a collar and ID Tag. Please send email to for more information.

Are you wondering what happened to the newborn puppy in the parking lot?


Welcome to Pets Alive Puerto Rico Mrs. (Eliana) Empanada and your precious baby. We will take good care of you now. XO

At Pets Alive, we know that rescue and transport will NEVER solve the problem of unwanted dogs suffering in the streets – it is just a band-aid on a gaping wound. For every dog we take in, there are thousands more that suffer and die each day. That’s why we focus on spay/neuter – to solve this problem once and for all!


Thank You.

Filed in Animal Rescue, No-kill by John Sibley on May 14, 2013.  There are 1 comments.  

Port Jervis Humane Society veterinarian writes scathing letter; cites illegal and inhumane issues

I’ve been sitting on this letter for a couple of weeks waiting to see where the chips would fall. I had hoped that by letting the Port Jervis Humane Society have some time, that positive change could be made. Unfortunately a lot doesn’t seem to have changed for the better and I’m now sharing this information to once again try to force some change. I am sure you all remember our blogs about what we considered the heinous and tremendously inhumane conditions and cruelty at the Port Jervis Humane Society:

eyeinfectionAfter we revealed the conditions there and posted those blogs, they posted on their FaceBook pages how everything was changing and my blogs were referring to an old regime (while even at the same time denying all the allegations) and that there was a new shelter manager now (Katrina) and we needed to “give her a chance” that she was going to change everything for the better.

So what positive changes has Katrina made since we wrote those blogs? Since our last blog they are down from 15 board members to 7, as multiple board members have walked away and resigned and will no longer work with the Port Jervis Humane Society. Katrina is currently faced with impending criminal charges, illegal activity, and the inhumane treatment of a dog at the time she killed it. At least according to a letter recently put out by Dr. Roeder. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Animal Rescue, No-kill by kerry on Apr 15, 2013.  There are 53 comments.  

PETA comes after Pets Alive…and loses.

OK, so this is funny. You all know about PETA by now, right?

There are literally hundreds of websites that point out how many animals they kill, how they don’t believe that any pit bulls coming into a shelter should be allowed to live, that all feral cats should be killed, and how they are anti no-kill – claiming that no kills shelters just hoard animals and the animals live in terrible conditions as a result. Sigh. Yawn.

If you’re new to all of this, you can look at some statistics. No lies. Not made up. They can be found on PETA’s own website, they don’t deny the truth. They claim all the animals they were called out to help couldn’t be saved. That there are no homes for them. Or that they were sick. or that they have behavior issues. Or a million other reasons that don’t make any sense to those of us doing it every single day.

Take a look at their published stats:

So why this blog? Well, recently they sent me an email – taking Pets Alive to task and explaining how WE could do things better. I actually fell off my chair I was laughing so hard. Really. Many of you might think it would make me mad, but I found it absolutely hysterical. The organization that is the KING OF KILLING is giving US an admonishment and an offer of help for how we could do things better. Giggle. C’mon. It’s hysterical. They then go on to tell us four principles to saving lives. Giggle again. Ok, not a giggle…a guffaw. I spewed coffee out of my nose.

I needed this. I really did. It has been a long few weeks and this is hysterical. I attached a screenshot of their email to us, below. (You can click for it to open to a larger size for easier legibility). I then cut and paste my response below the letter. Enjoy.

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 4.13.02 PM


Dear Teresa,

Let me first correct some of your incorrect statements and clarify some items.
Items 2 through 4 of your letter, we already do and do so well that we are asked to teach others how to do them. As to item #1, let me teach you a little more about who we are.

First of all, Pets Alive is not affiliated with Pets Alive Austin, San Antonio, or any other Pets Alive organizations other than our three locations: Pets Alive Middletown, Pets Alive Westchester and Pets Alive Puerto Rico. We have been around for over 30 years.

Second of all, we are not a No Kill animal shelter. We are a No Kill animal SANCTUARY. Please take some time to understand the difference between a shelter and a sanctuary. At Pets Alive, we have an extensive behavior modification and rehabilitation program. We do not provide local animal control, nor do we do many public intakes. Rather, our goal is to be a resource for shelters that do not wish to murder the animals in their care. This is a “win-win.” Those shelters, when they run out of space or have a special needs animal, can contact us and we work with them to either place the animal or take the animal in here.

Last year for instance we saved the lives of 3,500 animals, including many animals that shelters would have killed without even trying to find them a home. Think about that: We saved 3,500 animals on a budget a fraction of PETA’s. Our revenues last year were about $850,000. At the same time, PETA took in about $35,000,000, took in less than 2,000, but killed almost nine out of 10 of them. By way of comparison, if we had your revenues, we could have saved 144,118 animals. How is it possible you could not even save 200? You claim they were all “unadoptable,” but many if not most of our animals are also classified as “unadoptable” and yet we saved them.

Over the years, this includes over 78 animals from a terrible situation in West Virginia. Some animals were dead; some were covered with mange; most needed critical emergency medical care. We saved every single one and every single one was adopted.

We also helped 120 beagles when the vivisectors that were cruelly and inhumanely testing on them went bankrupt. PETA would have likely killed every one of those poor souls, but Pets Alive didn’t. We took them in, worked with them, gave them love adopted out all 120 animals – not a single life lost and all are still happy in their forever homes.

When storms in Baton Rouge, LA, decimated the area leaving hundreds of animals homeless and the local shelters inundated, we took in over 140 of those animals and not a single one died–they are all living in loving homes and with families today.

Another time we took in 135 animals from a situation down in Arkansas. Many of those animals had no social skills at all and two were deemed aggressive. At least half of them had serious medical issues. We took them all in, vetted them and taught them the needed skills to be adopted. All are in homes today. Not a single life lost.

When the Animal Care & Control in NYC started mass killing kittens during kitten season we started our ITTY BITTY KITTY campaign and in two weeks we took in HUNDREDS of kittens and, you guessed it, we saved EVERY SINGLE ONE! All were scheduled to be killed by the pounds you celebrate, but all are now in homes today thanks to a No Kill sanctuary you vilify. When an elderly woman here in town died and left 50 cats behind, local animal control called us and together, with other organizations, we saved every single one of them.

When a puppy mill shut down leaving over 220 dogs behind, we moved in and once again saved every single one of them.

I would like to make you an offer. Allow my team to visit PETA and evaluate your protocols. Allow my team unfettered access to your “shelter” to evaluate the animals you kill. And allow my team to teach your team how to save, rather than end, the lives of animals. Together, we can make PETA what its members erroneously think it is: an organization filled with people who love animals. Because as it stands, you cannot torture the definition of the word “love” to encompass their mass slaughter. In the end, killing an animal is not an act of love. It is an act of violence. And it is time for PETA to end the violence it inflicts on animals.

Kerry Clair
Executive Director/President
Pets Alive Animal SANCTUARY

P.S. To learn about our other programs and services, visit
You’ll see many programs we have in place, all dedicated to helping SAVE lives. Not end them.

I think they lost that battle.
::blowing on nails and rubbing chest::

Of course my initial response was just going to be “BITE ME”….and those of you that know me, or read my blogs, know that’s true, but as a friend says “This was a LEARNING experience”…and they needed a little education about what and who we are. They will of course have no response, nor will they take us up on our offer. Keep in mind that they sent cameras down here and video…and they came back with nothing.

In all their attacks on no-kill you also never see PETA mention that there are 100 no kill open admission shelters out there. Why don’t they ever bring them up? ENTIRE communities that take in every animal that come to their door and NEVER kill them. OVER a hundred and doubling every year. Isn’t it odd they never mention those at ALL?

OK, well I’ve had my laugh of the day. Come on at us PETA. We’ll spank you and send you on your way every time.

Filed in No-kill by kerry on Apr 08, 2013.  There are 39 comments.  

Life Is Precious

By Jenessa Taylor, Executive Director, Pets Alive Westchester

As many of you know last week Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the Northeast – particularly coastal areas of New Jersey and much of New York City. We at Pets Alive Westchester consider ourselves incredibly lucky as we were spared the flooding and power outages that we saw with Hurricane Irene last year. Unfortunately NYC was not so lucky and suffered major flooding, extremely high winds and large fires. In its aftermath it became apparent that many animals were in extreme danger in the city shelter system.

When a staff member at New York City Animal Care and Control (NYCACC) called us we believed, or rather perhaps we wanted to believe that they were finally making the changes necessary to help save lives. As you may recall Pets Alive had already taken on a massive intake of kittens and cats this past spring (dubbed the Itty Bitty Kitty Rescue) in which 108 felines were pulled from the NYCACC centers in just two weeks. At that time their “kill list” numbers were astronomical and we couldn’t bear to watch so many young and adoptable animals be slaughtered. The goal- as it always is – was to alleviate the “overcrowding” at the city shelters so that no healthy or adoptable cat would face needless euthanasia. Of course that rescue was full of some serious medical cases – most of the kittens were dangerously ill, requiring weeks of care and medication. The most serious required immediate surgeries to remove eyes that had been left for days with untreated infections. For more information on the Itty Bitty Kitty Rescue please read here. Beyond that Pets Alive has pulled countless of animals from their death sentences over the years.

OK, I’ve digressed –
On Thursday November 1st, just days after the storm hit, one of our contacts inside the NYCACC called to say they were facing massive kill lists in the coming days. She desperately wanted to start the process of getting as many animals out to rescue as possible before the killing started again. We were shocked that they were doing something so proactive, so contrary to what they have always done in the past. Now it’s winter – a very tough time of year for us. Expenses sky rocket, adoptions begin to slow down and we struggle each day just to keep our heads above water. But this was the NYCACC and I knew that those animals would have zero chance without us. I told her that yes we would help and I pulled 30 animals including kittens, nursing moms and a pregnant cat. I knew they would all most likely be very sick, would be with us for weeks and the youngest of the kittens may possibly need extra care, but these were lives and we could save them…

I called John Sibley, my favorite transporter and rescuer extraordinaire, and gave him very simple instructions – go to the Manhattan and Brooklyn NYCACC centers tomorrow morning and fill your car with cats. He, of course, never hesitated and said I’ll be there as soon as they open! Through massive power outages, major flooding, widespread destruction and a bit of chaos John was true to his word and arrived first thing the next morning. While he was there he noticed a few very adorable dogs and texted me if we could fit them into the transport. He was given the ok to pull a few dogs along with the 30 cats. And then the strangest thing happened, the Manhattan center told him no. We were all in complete disbelief. A transporter, representing a qualified New Hope partner was standing in front of them begging them to save lives and was denied. Once again our hope for a new NYCACC vanished. As John moved on to the Brooklyn center he was granted access and was able to pull just two dogs for us there.

All of our anger, our disbelief and our frustrations were temporarily relieved when our animals arrived that Friday afternoon. The kittens were ALL adorable and surprisingly most were still in fairly good health. We had ended up pulling a small litter of neonatal kittens, bottle babies, and were fortunate to find a foster home for them within hours of their arrival. The two dogs, Lexi and Daisy, were so sweet and so happy to see us.

But it was the pregnant cat that truly took my breath away and I was in love the instant I saw her. Her name is Precious and I could not have given her a more appropriate name. She has a bit of sass to her when you first approach but the moment you sit down on the floor her she lets her guard down and she just showers you with snuggles, purrs and love. She is a tiny little girl- she looks like a kitten herself- and had such a large protruding belly. It was apparent that she was due to give birth any minute. Obviously it is not ideal for any animal to give birth in a shelter environment. No matter how good your protocols are, no matter how careful you can be – there is still a risk. However, the Pets Alive family – both staff and volunteers – are an incredible group of people and Karen, a Pets Alive Middletown staff member, stepped up to foster our sweet Precious through her pregnancy, birth and nursing weeks. The very next day she went into labor and gave birth to 5 beautiful and healthy kittens. We all realized that we got her out just in time. Kittens born in NYCACC hardly every make it out alive… today mom and kittens are doing wonderfully, Precious is an excellent mommy!!

In the last few days we have seen many of the large organizations begin to fundraise heavily in the name of Hurricane Sandy animals, yet these organizations do very little, if anything for the animals at NYCACC – an organization that, when given life saving alternatives, will deny a rescuer access to their animals. An organization that is funded by the many taxpayers of New York City. An organization that will kill young, healthy and adoptable animals rather than promote adoption and work closely with rescue groups. It’s beyond heartbreaking to watch. It’s beyond frustrating to pull as many animals as we can fit, even when faced with the fear of expenses it would cause, and yet the killing continues. At some point we have to determine if we can continue to work with an organization that refuses to choose LIFE over DEATH.

We have also reached out to the many other rescues and shelters across Staten Island, NYC and New Jersey that have been affected by Sandy. We are committed to lending a hand to any organization willing to find an alternative to death.

We are so thankful to all of you for continuing to support us. For believing that each and every life is truly PRECIOUS and deserves the chance to be loved, to be held, to be cherished.

YOU can help choose LIFE!! Please consider a donation today!

And be sure to buy your tickets to CATsino Night NOW!!

Filed in Animal Rescue, No-kill, NYCACC by John Sibley on Nov 14, 2012.  There are 1 comments.  

Pets Alive – Asking for your help.

We are asking for your help!

Times are difficult for rescues all over the country, and sadly we are seeing more and more animal rescues and shelters being shut down. As a result, the need for us to commit to, and help MORE animals each month has grown. We are looking to increase our monthly animal sponsorships to meet this increased demand on our resources, and help us save more lives.

We hear from so many of you that you love what we do. That you support our mission. We love that you cheer us on, via social media – Facebook and Twitter – and every one of those comments give us the energy and encouragement to continue on and continue to do the things we do every day.

But we are at the point now where we are barely making ends meet. We are turning away animals because we have no finances to help them – such as horses, farm animals, cats and dogs. We want to be able to help everyone that comes to us and begs us to save this life or that life. Please help us to NOT say no to these desperate eyes…to these animals that are in such need and have no where else to go, and no where else to turn. We NEED to extend our hand to them.

If you like what we do, if you’re happy with what you see from us then PLEASE show us by becoming a monthly sponsor! We NEED you but more importantly THEY need you!

We’re not gonna lie, or sugar coat it. We NEED your help to survive. The city, town, state, government – none of them give us any money or help. We survive ENTIRELY because people like you read this, and believe in what we are doing and believe in no-kill. WANT to see no-kill, want to see an end to the inhumane slaughter of companion animals that come to shelters because they are down on their luck and they need help.

The help they get in most shelters, is to be killed. We are determined to put an end to that. We work toward it every single day.

Sponsor a Pet!Please consider sponsoring a pet. Your monthly donation will help us to save the life of an animal every single month. Please consider taking this step. We need you, and more importantly THEY need you. When they come to a shelter, starving, cold, scared and hurt, we promise you, and we promise them, that we will extend our hand, pick them up, and help them. We will not walk them to a back room and kill them. Please help us. They deserve it. We need your support.

Will you help us?
100% of your sponsorship is used for food and medical care for the animals.
Click here to become a pet sponsor.

Filed in No-kill by kerry on Sep 27, 2012.  There are 2 comments.  

Pets Alive to conduct mass rescue from Baton Rouge animal shelter

Third Mass Rescue this Year for the No-Kill Animal Sanctuary

On Wednesday, August 1, 2012 Pets Alive, one of the oldest and largest no-kill organizations in the country, will welcome a truck full of 85 puppies and dogs from the East Baton Rouge Animal Shelter at their Middletown, NY and Elmsford, NY locations. This rescue is being conducted in conjunction with the ASPCA who was contacted when the new Executive Director of the Baton Rouge facility realized they were in desperate need of help. Struggling with overcrowding, the shelter was faced with the possibility of mass euthanasia of these animals—many healthy and adoptable. Thanks to Pets Alive these deserving pups will get a second chance at life.

Pets Alive is no stranger to mass rescues, this will the third this year alone! In January 2012, the organization, along with the ASPCA, conducted a mass rescue from the JP Ranch in Arkansas, a no-kill shelter which was forced to close after its founder developed a terminal illness. At that time 135 dogs were rescued from the Ranch and high kill shelters in the surrounding area. 30 of these dogs tested positive for heartworm (a condition which leads to death if not treated); all were given the medical treatment necessary and are now thriving. For the first time many of these Arkansas shelters experienced empty kennels and did not euthanize a single dog that week.

During Mother’s Day weekend in May 2012 Pets Alive responded to news that a three week old orphaned kitten had been killed just 45 minutes after intake at a NYCACC facility. After seeing multiple sets of nursing mothers and their kittens scheduled to be killed, Pets Alive sprang into action, rescuing 108 kittens and cats (as well as a number of dogs). Deemed the Itty Bitty Kitty rescue, this intake has lead to nearly all of these deserving animals finding loving adopters offering forever homes.

Unfortunately, this Wednesday’s Baton Rouge mass rescue will not be the last that Pets Alive conducts; but luckily for these deserving animals, and the thousands saved each year, the organization will continue their no-kill mission ensuring a second chance at life and a loving home. To learn more about how you can adopt an animal, make a donation or volunteer at Pets Alive Sanctuary in Middletown visit or at Pets Alive Westchester visit

On Wednesday, August 1, 2012 the East Baton Rouge rescue truck will be at Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary, 363 Derby Road, Middletown, NY 10940 by  noon, and to Pets Alive Westchester, 100 Warehouse Lane South, Elmsford, NY 10523 from by 3.

Filed in Animal Rescue, No-kill by kerry on Jul 30, 2012.  There are 7 comments.  

An Introduction To Canine Hospice

Do you have an interest in providing hospice (end of life) care for dogs but aren’t sure how to get started, or what the experience is like?

When Pets Alive took over the Elmsford Animal Shelter, we found hundreds of dogs that were seniors. Some had even arrived ten or twelve years before – and no effort was made to ever get them a home. They have lived their entire lives in a cement run. And now many are at the end of those lives.

The staff at Pets Alive are desperate to get them into homes, and many of our volunteers have stepped up and provided hospice for the animals most in need. The experience has been very rewarding and very heart wrenching. There is no greater respect, nor admiration that we could have – than for our volunteers who do this for our dogs (& cats).

This picture is Chester. He has cancer and does not have long. He has lived at the shelter for 8 years. We are looking for hospice care for him, and we will continue to cover all his expenses. What does that entail?

Come to Pets Alive Westchester on Tuesday, July 10 at 7pm for an introduction to the principles and practice of canine hospice. Experienced practitioners will take you through the process, there will be a Q&A for questions, and Pets Alive Westchester staff will be on hand to explain how they can support your efforts.

There is no obligation.
No expectations of you.

Please just come and learn what it is all about.

This seminar is free!
Please RSVP to It is not necessary to RSVP – if you find yourself free that night, please just come, but we are requesting RSVP’s to make sure we have enough bottled water and snacks for everyone, and that there is enough interest to host this seminar.

Pets Alive Westchester is located at:
100 Warehouse Lane South
Elmsford, NY 10523

Filed in No-kill by kerry on Jul 02, 2012.  There are 0 comments.  

Why choose death when there is a LIFE alternative?

So in the past two weeks Pets Alive has pulled 108 cats, kittens, and mamas from the NYC ACC (Animal Care & Control), including this little bottle baby today.

After we found out about a kitten being euthanized there with no opportunity for rescue to pull, we decided we weren’t going to stand by and watch any more kittens die.

Why should we? There is no need to. Kittens are super highly adoptable and they are adoptable easily for the next year or so. So even if it took us a while to place them we were still going to be able to do so. PLUS we had just opened some brand new rooms for cats and had plenty of space. What better way to use it than save the lives of kittens? Lives that had barely started and were already at risk of being snuffed out at the ACC.

As the kittens arrived we were thrilled to greet each one. Some went to PAW (Pets Alive Westchester) and some to PAM (Pets Alive Middletown). We were thrilled to welcome each one. Most were orphaned, some had mothers still nursing them. We accepted them all.

Then we saw MORE mama’s and kittens on the kill list at the ACC and we reached out to take them too.

In the end we took in 108 cats and three or four dogs came along too. The email exchanges went back and forth and one of them said this:

>>> We have 7 nursing moms w/ kittens and one pregnant cat that may not be able to be spayed…if can be spayed, could you still take? If not and too far along, could you take pregnant? <<<

Oh my. A pregnant cat that was so far along she “might not be able to be spayed”. For goodness sake! DON’T SPAY HER! We will taker her and give her the opportunity to have her babies and we will find them all homes. We don’t support late term spaying when the mother’s hormones and body are already preparing for birth and we don’t support aborting kittens that are viable to live outside the womb at that age. This isn’t good for the mother and it certainly isn’t good for the kittens. So I answered this:

>>Please, please do not spay pregnant cat.
We can take all the moms with kittens and PREGNANT cat!<<

Whew. Glad we found out about her in time. And so our good friend, and industrious volunteer John, went and stopped first in the Brooklyn shelter to pick up some of the cats, kittens and dogs and then went to the Manhattan shelter to pick up the rest of the cats, kittens and dogs we were taking.

His ride back to Pets Alive was filled with hysterical tweets:

>>One of the boxes grew a leg.






>>Uh oh. Potential escapee:






>>We have a breach in the containment systems!






We were all laughing and excited. Lots of staff came to meet John and help unload and settle all the kittens and mamas in.
That’s when we discovered that the ACC had SPAYED the late term pregnant mama cat. Spayed her and killed all her babies.

Not only that, but because they are so short staffed and have so few vets they went the extra mile to kill this cats kittens. They brought her to the mobile ASPCA clinic and had THEM spay her and abort her kittens.

Why? Why would they do this if they knew she and her future kittens had a safe place to go?
Yes I understand the argument that there are so many cats and all that jazz, and if they were a kill shelter and she was staying there with them, and they hoped to try to get her a home… well, I would never support this, but I could understand their reasoning. But it makes NO SENSE to do this when there was another alternative being offered. We offered all those kittens a chance at LIFE. Why would the ACC and the ASPCA deprive those kittens of that chance? Not only that – they had to go SO FAR OUT OF THEIR WAY to kill them – to get them to the ASPCA because they were too backed up to kill them there?

Not only that, but remember I told you we said we would take ALL the kittens and mamas?
Indeed had we not just pulled 108?

Three of the kittens we were supposed to get…we got paperwork for, but no kittens.
I don’t know.
I haven’t had time to really review the paperwork.
But maybe this post-it note explains whey they aren’t here.
The ACC killed them.

If you can’t read that it says “THESE 3 WERE PUT TO SLEEP“.
They had another place to go.
Hey ACC, why not just call it like it is?

Oh, and one other thing.

The cat that was breaking out of the box on the way home?

That was the mama cat that had her babies aborted.

Who can blame her?

Filed in Animal Rescue, No-kill by kerry on May 24, 2012.  There are 12 comments.  

The Itty Bitty Kitty Rescue

A healthy 3 week old kitten arrived at the ACC, and 45 minutes later was killed for “having no mother”.

No adopter or rescuer was given the opportunity to save this kitten.

On Mother’s Day, a mother cat and her two tiny kittens were on the ACC kill list. What in the world?

These are tiny kittens, some as young as two weeks old. Dying by the dozens in our NYC shelters. At Pets Alive we simply could not stand by and watch that. With the help of volunteer, John Sibley, we went in and took 64 kittens (and mamas) out of the NYC shelter system and saved all their little tiny lives.

It is for reasons like this that New York needs a rescue access law like CAARA. CAARA would make it illegal for shelters to kill animals without giving rescues an opportunity to help.

How can it be that the three week old kitten was not even offered to rescue to help?  How is it that these decisions – life and DEATH – can be made so arbitrarily?  At what point do people stop seeing each of these tiny creatures as little lives? Little beings deserving a CHANCE at a life? The kitten was completely healthy. There was no reason to kill her.

Pets Alive is committed to stopping the killing of all animals in the shelter system. We took 64 cats and kittens in one shot.  64.  Think about that number.  64 tiny babies never having a chance at a life. Why? Who decides these things?  With CAARA they wouldn’t have a CHOICE but to let us have a chance to save them all.  That is why Amy Paulin’s bill is worthless, because HER bill wouldn’t stop this. This is why we NEED to pass a law like CAARA.  To save these  delicate lives that some organizations may not care about.

And some of the workers at the CACC do care. Some of them send us emails or get on the phone and ask for help. They feature a dog or a cat and personally take the time to write something about that animal, what they know about that animal. They reach out. They take pictures of the animals being held by people, poignant, loving, affectionate. And what do they get for it? Reprimands. Termination. It is forbidden to take pictures of animals WITH people in them, even though all studies have shown that this can increase adoptability. It seems to us that any staff member there that starts to actually care a little, either has to hide it, or risk termination. We’ve been watching this happen for years. Why does this continue in NYC? When will we get some sort of leadership that cares?

And the lack of care is monstrous. As you know, we have taken dogs from the cacc where their bladders were not expressed and almost burst (Robert). We have taken a cat with a broken leg (Gloria) that was left to sit there for weeks without any care.

And now look at THIS cat. We have named her Mitzee. Her medical sheet says this cat has conjunctivitis.  I’m no vet but even *I* can tell THIS is not plain old simple conjunctivitis. A week later, a vet examination notes a possible ruptured eye. Possible? A week later? But no pain meds? No drops? No ointment? I know this is grainy, but look at this kitten’s intake picture a week before.  Look how bad the eyes looked THEN. Now look at them a WEEK later. Was there any CARE for them, any treatment?

This is an absolutely disgrace and this is what goes on in your NYC shelters.  The BEST city, the most FAMOUS city, one of the RICHEST cities in the nation.

Pets Alive will work feverishly to provide medical care and find loving homes for all of the “Itty Bitty Kitties”. Half of the kittens are at the Middletown NY sanctuary, and half are being cared for at our Elmsford, NY rescue center.

Little Mitzee, the cat pictured above is at risk of going blind. Our vets feel that one of Mitzee’s eyes must be removed and the other needs daily care and possible surgery in order to save her vision, if indeed it can be saved.  Could it have been saved a week ago when she entered into the Animal CARE and Control Facility in NYC?  
Where is the “CARE” part of Animal CARE and Control??

One of the kittens has no foot.  Almost all are sick with URI and various infections. One has already passed away from a massive blockage in her little intestines. Did the staff not notice that she was not defecating? Within less than 24 hours of having her, WE did. But by then it was too late and we lost her early this morning.

Please note that this is not some hoarder. We did not go in and do a mass rescue. This is the New York City Animal Care and Control Facility. YOUR NYC shelter.

The cost to Pets Alive to save this many lives, and handle the medical crisis, the vetting, the altering and the caring for all these cats will be astronomical. But THEY ARE WORTH IT.  These little lives are WORTH saving and WORTH having a chance.  Please help us. Pets Alive is asking for donations to help not only this little kitten have a chance at life, but to help cover costs for all 64 of these saved lives.

How To Help:
Financial donations are urgently needed to help provide continued care and medical treatment for the itty bitty kitties, including Mitzee, who is currently undergoing treatment to try to save her vision. To help provide care for them, donations of kitten food, toys, and scratching posts are also needed. Please also consider welcoming one into your home. They should all be in a home, being loved. Please fill out an application now to adopt an Itty Bitty Kitty.

Because THIS is the kind of life they have now.  Now that they are with us.  We take responsibility for all the animals in our care and we tend to all their needs. This is how every shelter should be run. Including the one in the most famous city in the world. Look at the BEFORE kittens on this page – from the CACC.  And the AFTER kittens – at Pets Alive.  Which do YOU think is the right way?  Support no-kill.  Support CAARA.  Together, let’s put an end to this madness of murdering tiny creatures that haven’t even had a chance at life.

We are trying to pass legislation in NYS that would make this illegal. It would require the director to contact rescue groups and give them 8 hours to respond. Assembly Bill 07312 (CAARA) would empower non-profit animal rescue organizations to fulfill their missions, a right often denied to them by larger non-profit organizations and shelters. It provides whistleblower protection for rescue groups, creating an incentive for non-profit organizations to help end cruelty or neglect at shelters without fear of retaliation and loss of rescue access. It has specific provisions to ensure that these groups have the best interests of animals at heart and are able to care for them. And it prevents needless animal suffering by mandating precise, sensible, and objective criteria for determining which animals are dangerous or irremediably suffering and therefore exempt from rescue access provisions.

The bill will be voted on in the next week or two. Unfortunately, the ASPCA is trying to kill it, and the chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, William McGee, is willing to do their bidding by recommending that the bill be tabled. That will be the continued kiss of death for 25,000 animals a year who have an immediate place to go.

Please help us pass the Companion Animal Access & Rescue Act by Kellner. Use all three alerts to reach ALL members of the Assembly Ag Committee:

Be polite!

Use all three alerts to reach ALL members of the Assembly Ag Committee:

Alert #1 of 3:
Alert #2 of 3:
Alert #3 of 3:

Let’s stop the madness.  And the murder. 

Filed in Animal Rescue, Legislation, No-kill by kerry on May 16, 2012.  There are 13 comments.