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Dogs get shelter in free house giveaway

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Pet parents lined up, some with their loved ones in tow, to take part in the ASPCA’s first ever dog house giveaway.

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The giveaway, on Saturday, March 1, was held at the 113th Precinct and represented its pilot program of ‘Operation Gimme Shelter’. People aren’t the only ones that are challenged by this harsh winter. Pets, some of which spend prolonged periods outdoors, are bearing the brunt.

Fernando Williams came with his dog Blu, a playful Rockwieller puppy. They are going to put his new home in the backyard.

Ron McNeil came with Mac, an oversized and threatening looking Rockweiller that was sweet and happy to pose for photos.

LiLo was a lab mix brought by his pet family, Maxine and Anaya Grayson for a house in the backyard.

Individuals lined up for an early morning call, to fill out an application and receive a house. The giveaway focused on accommodating extra large dogs and residents of the immediate areas. Some non-area residents were, unfortunately, turned away to ensure the pilot program concentrated first on area residents.

The giveaway was part of the ASPCA’s Cruelty Intervention Advocacy program, in partnership with New York Cares and the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Community Affairs office. The NYPD has taken the lead in responding to what Officer Tanya terms “dog calls”. As the ASPCA shifted its focus to the support and care of abused animals, the NYPD was able to take the lead role in protection. During these “dog calls” NYPD Community Affairs Officers check on pets and ensure they are not maltreated.

Dog Houses were plastic and light weight in the shape of an igloo. Houses were complemented with a shaped to fit pad. Pet owners were also given a large bag of the food of their choice and a leash if they required. ID tags were also an option and owners had the option to connect with the ASPCA for any follow up needs for their pets. Those who did not have a means to transport their house were given a free ride thanks to NY Cares.

The strong turnout of participants and smiles on the faces of pet owners after receiving their gifts, gave a happy reprieve from an otherwise harsh winter. Especially with forecasters predicting yet another snowstorm, the sixteenth so far this winter.

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