February 13, 2005The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, February 13, 2005
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Nothing beats owning a pet. It can truly be one of the great joys in life. Pets teach us so much about ourselves. They can provide a sense of safety and, in some cases, important services. And over time, a dog or cat can grow to become a best friend, or one of the family.
"I still remember the day many years ago when my family picked up our dog, Candy. On the way home, we brought the cute little mutt to my best friend's house to show her off. Candy demonstrated pretty quickly that she required a bit of training. But she was a great pet, and lived with us for many years. Today, one of the things I look forward to is when one of my daughters goes out of town and asks me to take care of her dog.
"But raising a pet is a tough job, especially in our city, where homes and apartments are small and there is limited open space for animals to exercise. Unfortunately, too many people adopt cats and dogs without truly understanding the responsibilities that come with raising an animal. As a result, we have a serious animal control problem in our city - with far more pets being abandoned or placed in shelters than can ever find a home.
"Last year, for example, Animal Care and Control, a non-profit group that contracts with the City to oversee this problem, took in 44,000 animals. Only 17,000 found a home. That means 27,000 did not, leaving us no choice but to euthanize them.
"That is the terrible outcome of a problem that, with the right attention and resources, can be solved.
"Earlier this week we took a big step towards that solution when Maddie's Fund - one of the country's leading animal care philanthropies - committed $15.5 million over the next 7 years to initiatives that will help us end the killing of healthy and treatable homeless animals in NYC.
"The funding will go directly to two of the city's most effective non-profit animal care organizations: The Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals -which is a coalition of 65 rescue groups and shelters that work with the City - will receive $9.5 million to increase dog and cat adoptions. That should reduce the number of cats and dogs euthanized by nearly 3,000 in just the first year.
"The remaining $6 million of the grant will go to the Veterinary Medical Association of NYC, whose members will provide discount spay and neuter surgeries for the pets of low-income New Yorkers. With this funding, the association expects to perform 14,000 surgeries over the coming year alone.
"If you would like to adopt one of the thousands of cats and dogs in our shelters who are desperate for a home, first take a moment to consider if you really could give a pet the constant attention, care, and respect it deserves. Then, if you are still interested, the simplest way to get further information about pet adoption - or any of the city's other animal programs and services - is to visit www.nyc.gov or call 311.
"Working together, we can move our city closer to that wonderful day when every pet that is born is assured of a safe, loving home.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."