Author: Conor Skelding
Every weekend, scores of stray dogs from the South are imported into New York City.
Vans packed to the roof with crated canines cruise into the city after hours on the road.
The dogs are then handed off to foster “parents” — and eventually adopted for hundreds of dollars, payable to the non-profit rescue that arranged for their transport.
City dog advocates note that more favorable weather plus a lack of spay/neuter laws in the South mean more strays there. Rescues then “pull” the dogs up here, away from kill shelters. Though many end up with loving families, the practice also contributes to overcrowding in city shelters, according to the ASPCA and other groups.
One late-August Saturday morning, The Post observed dozens of dogs being unloaded in the South Street Seaport.
They had been brought up directly from Georgia under the aegis of Waldo’s Rescue Pen, a tax-exempt dog rescue based in Manhattan.
The crates holding the animals were stacked unevenly to the ceiling of a 15-passenger van with temporary plates.
That same morning, The Post observed a similar operation underway at Madison Square Park: dogs being distributed from a van driven from Texas by Hearts & Bones Rescue, which did not return messages seeking comment.
Badass Animal Rescue advertises the same model. The Brooklyn-based rescue offers “sweet, loving, adoptable dogs from high-kill pounds in the rural south.” The rescue also did not return emails.
Unofficial data show thousands of dogs are imported into NYC shelters. Last year, 3,274 shelter dogs were transferred into New York City, according to Shelter Animals Count, a non-profit that maintains a national database. That exceeds the 2,304 dogs surrendered in the city by their owners, and is just under the number of stray dogs picked up within the five boroughs, 3,297.
There’s no official count of just how many stray dogs from the South are imported into New York City. New Yorkers must license their dogs with the Health Department, but the applications do not ask for place of origin.
Dozens of dogs, most pit-bull mixes, are listed on the rescues’ websites.
Local advocates say the inflow of dogs from outside the city means more dogs have to be put down here.
Rescues must register with the state Department of Agriculture & Markets — but that’s the extent of governmental regulation.
“Unfortunately, while pet stores are regulated and inspected, rescues are not. There are no laws for their activities except to be registered,” the state agency told local whistleblowers in a recent email. “Currently, there are no enforceable state laws against rescues.”
Spokeswoman Jola Szubielski confirmed the agency has no “inspection authority” for rescues, “as it does with pet dealers.”
ASPCA shelter-services executive Christa Chadwick said: “Animal homelessness is a complex problem requiring multi-faceted solutions. Among the challenges, in some areas, there are animals at risk of euthanasia due to oversupply, while in other areas, they are at risk of euthanasia because they have medical and behavioral challenges that require intensive support and resources to help them find the right homes.”
A rep for the Animal Care Centers of NYC, a taxpayer-funded non-profit that runs the city’s public shelters, said the dogs of Dixie compete for adoption with their Yankee counterparts.
“There are many dogs coming into NYC from southern shelters, because they have a much greater chance of getting adopted in the northeast. There are also great dogs that are needing homes right here in NYC. And these are the dogs that ACC is trying to get adopted,” the rep, Katy Hansen, told The Post.