In 2015, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio made history by creating a position within the Mayor’s Office that would serve as a dedicated liaison between City Hall and the animal advocacy community. In November 2019, this position was codified to exist beyond the current administration when Mayor de Blasio signed into law the creation of an Office of Animal Welfare – the first office of its kind in the United States. This law went into effect on March 25, 2020. The Office has the power to advise and assist the Mayor in the coordination and cooperation among City agencies for animal welfare administration, regulation, management and programs.
The Office of Animal Welfare is a Mayoral office within the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit that extends the de Blasio administration’s vision for a fairer city to animal welfare. The Office recognizes the exchange between human social justice issues, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare, and therefore aims to facilitate solutions that address the integrated nature of these problems.
If our relationship with animals isn’t right then our relationship with the earth isn’t right, our relationship with each other as human beings isn’t right... The humane concept is about all of us and it’s about everything.
Animal welfare accomplishments under
Mayor de Blasio include:
- First and only animal welfare liaison position within a Mayoral office in the country.
- First and only Office of Animal Welfare within a Mayoral Office in the country.
- First and only municipal non-lethal deer impact management plan in the country.
- First municipal COVID-19 Pet Response Plan in the country.
- WildlifeNYC – humane management policies and awareness campaign on co-existence with urban wildlife.
- Non-lethal municipal management of Canada geese.
- New construction and alterations required to use bird-friendly building materials.
- Elephants and other wild and exotic animals banned from circuses in NYC.
- Citywide Meatless Mondays in all public schools.
- OneNYC – phase out the City’s purchase of processed meat and reduce the purchase of beef by 50%.
- Pet shop laws:
- Mandating the spay/neuter for dogs and cats.
- Banning the sale of dogs and cats from puppy and kitten mills.
- Banning the sale of rabbits.
- Requiring smoke alarms in pet shops and veterinary clinics.
- Creation of the animal abuse registry.
- Creation of the NYPD Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad.
- Creation of the inter-agency Animal Hoarding Task Force.
- Relocation of horse carriage hack stands inside Central Park, reducing amount of time horses spend in vehicular traffic.
- Record funding for Animal Care Centers of NYC, the City contracted provider for animal sheltering.
- Expanded board of directors for Animal Care Centers of NYC.
- Expansion and modernization of the shelter system:
- Brand new, full service shelters in the Bronx and Queens.
- Standalone adoption center in Manhattan.
- Total renovation of Staten Island and Brooklyn shelters.
- Addition of a wildlife rehabilitation center to plans for our Bronx animal shelter.
- Historic package of animal rights bills signed into law, including:
- Equine heat index
- Banning the sales of foie gras
- Prohibition of wild bird trafficking