Thursday, December 4, 2008

Animal Rescue Group Needs New Home


By Conor Greene

For nearly a decade, a local animal rescue group has used rented space in a non- descript building at JFK Airport to house some of the larger dogs it rescues. Now, after finding out their lease won’t be renewed at the end of the year, the group is desperately seeking the public’s help to raise money for a new building.

Bobbi and the Strays, a Queens-based no kill shelter that rescues dogs and cats, has used the space in JFK’s Vetport for about nine years, paying a modest monthly rent, according to founder Bobbi Giordano. For the past few years, the owners of the Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale have donated space where cats and smaller breeds of dogs are kept.

Earlier this year, the group received the devastating news that the Port Authority plans to raze a series of buildings at the airport, including the one used to house two dozen pit bulls, rottweilers and other large dogs saved from the streets, city Animal Care and Control shelters and owners who no longer can care for them. Bobbi and the Strays has since kicked off a fundraising effort in hopes of garnering enough support to buy a building in the area.

“Everything we’ve looked at, we can’t afford,” said Giordano. “We’re at a standstill. The lease is up on December 31st, and I don’t know what is going to happen. We heard rumors there might be an extension, but we haven’t seen anything in writing.”

So far, donations large and small have been coming in from friends and other supporters of the group. A Halloween party at a local bar also proved successful, said Giordano.

If the group finds itself without a home for the larger dogs come January 1, they will be placed with local vets and with foster families. “I’m not giving them to another shelter,” said Giordano. “You get close to them, we spend time with them, and we have very good volunteers that put a lot into them.”

“We’re an absolute no kill shelter,” said Giordano. “We do home checks, take them off the streets, from nursing homes, from people who die, and look for homes for them, do their medical, spay, neuter, shots. We really go the extra miles.” Of course, even in their current situation, space is always an issue. “As soon as one goes out, another two come in, that’s just the way it is,” she said.

In their quest to raise enough money for a new building, Giordano said that any donation, no matter how small, is welcomed. “You can send a dollar, five dollars, that would really help. It’s a long way off, but if everybody in Queens sent in a dollar or two, we would have the money.”

In the meantime, volunteers and staff members have tried to keep the possibility they will be scrambling to find space for the rescued dogs out of their minds. “We rely heavily on that building – without it we would not be able to take in those animals,” said Laura Miller, who manages the shelter at the Vetport. “We save a lot [of dogs] by having that space there.”

Without that space, the group would have to immediately find a foster family for any dog it rescues, explained Miller. “Here, we can take them in right away… We need to raise the money. There is no other option in my mind. We’re on a mission and are going to raise the money.”

Anybody who wishes to contribute to the building foundation can mail a check directly to Bobbi and the Strays at PO Box 170129, Ozone Park, NY, 11417. For more information, check their website at bobbiandthestrays.


Anonymous said...

Bobbi and the Strays did not lose their Vetport home on December 31st. They were granted a month to month extension, but now that the weather is warming up, the clock may be ticking more quickly. They have been fortunate to have two of their dogs who have been at the Vetport for over two years find homes since this article was written, but as it stated, every time a dog finds a home, another needy dog quickly fills the open cage.

Contributions are still desperately needed. At the moment the funds that have been collected over the past ten years are enough to cover renovations to a building to convert it to a shelter, but not enough to purchase one.

All it would take is for 200,000 people to donate $5 each and we'd reach our million dollar goal. In a city the size of New York, even in these tough economic times, you'd think that there would be that many people who could afford to make a difference, to save the lives of homeless dogs and cats for years to come.

If you are able to help, PLEASE do so.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

There is an absolutely painless, free way to help Bobbi and the Strays. Use as your search engine. Set Bobbi and the Strays (ZIP Code 11417) as your designated charity, and every time you search for something on the internet, Bobbi will receive about one cent. That may not sound like much, but if you search for ten things a day, in ten days you'll have raised $1 to help the animals, or $3 per month. If you get everyone you know to do the same, family, friends, clubs, fraternal organizations, whatever, think of how those numbers will climb. Three dollars may not sound like much, but it's the price of a few cans of dog or cat food.

Every penny adds up.

Please consider making your search engine and help the animals.