Health Department and Animal Care Centers of NYC Announce Resumption of Services at Shelters

Normal intake of animals resumes after cleaning facilities in response to H7N2 outbreak

Health Department announces $600,000 investment in additional medical staff

February 22, 2017 – The Health Department and Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) announced today the resumption of normal cat adoption services at all shelters and at various mobile adoption events across the five boroughs. Shelter operations were partially suspended in response to an outbreak among cats of the H7N2 virus, a rare strain of bird flu. The Health Department and ACC worked with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®), Maddie’s Fund ® and the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine to provide a temporary quarantine shelter as cats recovered from the mild illness. Over half of the quarantined cats have been placed with rescue groups and shelters, including the ASPCA’s Adoption Center, which received more than 100 cats that were completely cleared of the virus based on multiple negative test results prior to adoption. The quarantine shelter will remain open as cats are cleared and released for adoption.  

“I thank our partners at ACC and the ASPCA for their support as we resume normal operations at our shelters and once again offer cats to New Yorkers looking for furry friends,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Our swift response to the H7N2 outbreak stands as a model for the nation and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure the cats in our care remain healthy and find loving homes.” 

The Health Department will also be investing $600,000 for additional medical staff at ACC shelters through this summer. The staff members, which include veterinarians and veterinary technicians, will improve care and provide support during the springtime kitten season.

“We are grateful to the City of New York and the Health Department for their recent addition of $600,000 to our medical budget for the remainder of our fiscal year. This support will help ACC sustain our record success,” said ACC President and CEO Risa Weinstock. “We have already helped more than 200 cats find their loving homes since resuming adoptions and look forward to placing many more in the coming months. We remain thankful for the additional support from other partners like the ASPCA and Maddie’s Fund.”

“Thanks to hundreds of local and out-of-state ASPCA responders, staff, and volunteers, we’ve been able to provide quality care and enrichment for these cats since late December as they recovered at our temporary shelter,” said ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker. “Our close partnership with ACC is vital in helping to protect vulnerable and homeless cats in New York City, and we’re looking forward to finding placement for cats released from quarantine.”

In 2016, ACC had a record high 89.2 percent placement rate for cats and dogs (88.4 percent for cats and 90.9 percent for dogs). This achievement was made possible by animal adoptions and the New Hope program, a community initiative aimed at finding homes for the city’s unwanted pet population. The ASPCA is one of the New Hope partners, and in 2016, it received more than 2,000 animals from ACC. In addition to providing over 5,800 spay and neuter surgeries and medical support last year, the ASPCA is committing $1 million to ACC this year. Much of the investment will be used to support ACC’s surrender prevention program, which offers a variety of resources to help pet owners keep their pets. From 2015 to 2016, owner surrenders decreased by 629 animals.

ACC rabbits, cats and dogs available for adoption can be viewed online at, or on ACC’s free mobile app (available on Google Play and iTunes).



MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Julien Martinez, (347) 396-4177