Overcrowded NYC shelter sending pups to Mass. in search of new homes

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The dogs will be available at a fee-waived adoption event hosted by the MSPCA next week.

One of the dogs up for adoption Courtesy/MSPCA

The MSPCA is taking in 14 dogs from overcrowded New York City animal shelters and will place them up for adoption at a fee-waived event next week.

The dogs, which hail from Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC of NYC), are due to arrive at the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem on Saturday. They’re mostly large, bully-breed mixes ranging from 1 to 8 years old, and will be available for adoption at the MSCPA’s “Ready, Set, Dog!” adoption event that kicks off Monday.

The ACC of NYC runs several shelters around New York City with double the number of dogs in its care than it can handle. Like many animal shelters in the U.S., the ACC of NYC is struggling with too many animals and not enough adoptions.

According to Mike Keiley, MSPCA-Angell vice president of animal protection, the ACC of NYC currently has more than 300 dogs in its care, although they only have the capacity for 180. As a result, shelters are forced to put two dogs in one kennel and use pop-up crates in offices and hallways. 

“People in the Northeast often think that the national dog population crisis is something that only Southern and warm-weather states are dealing with,” said Keiley. “But that’s not true, and no one knows that more than ACC of NYC.”

Keiley said shelters like the ACC of NYC are often “unfairly vilified,” as though they’re at fault for the overcrowding. 

“But in reality, they’re just bearing the brunt of the dog population crisis,” he said.

The transport of the dogs from New York City to Salem was coordinated by the ASPCA as part of its national Animal Relocation Program.

“ACC of NYC is so grateful to the MSPCA for this partnership,” said  Jessica Vaccaro, ACC of NYC Director of Placement. “Our shelters in NYC are beyond overcrowded, with double the number of dogs we have room to comfortably house. Being able to relocate so many large breed dogs opens up much-needed kennel space and assists us in our mission to end animal homelessness in NYC.”

The “Ready, Set, Dog!” event runs from April 15 through April 21 at all four of the MSPCA’s shelters in honor of the Boston marathon. The organization expects the New York City dogs to be available at the event as long as they’ve completed their state-mandated 48-hour quarantine and received necessary medical care. 

“A key piece in the fight against this crisis is eliminating barriers to adoption. And cost is definitely a barrier for many,” Keiley said. “We’re really hoping that people in the community hear our need and come out to adopt, because the more dogs we’re able to rehome, the more we’ll be able to help in the future.”

In addition to the NYC transplants, the MSPCA hopes to rehome more than 100 dogs during the week-long event — including Dove, a nearly two-year-old mixed-breed dog who underwent surgery after being found with a gunshot wound to her face. Dove came to the MSPCA on April 9 in a transport with 19 other dogs from Charleston Animal Society in Charleston, South Carolina.

Despite her trauma and hardships, caregivers describe Dove as resilient, loving, and affectionate.

“Now, it’s time for her to turn the page and start a new life, and what better place to do that than here in Massachusetts,” said Keiley.

More information on Dove and the adoptathon is available at

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