On Saturday, August 19, hundreds of animal shelters across the country—including the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City—offered waived or discounted adoption fees during “Clear the Shelters,” an annual, national adoption event now in its third year. The numbers are in, and we’re happy to announce that 69 cats, kittens, dogs and puppies at the ASPCA found new homes.
James Petway of East Harlem was in line at 5:30 A.M., the first of more than 400 visitors who would visit us during the event. When the ASPCA opened at 11:00 A.M. Kadi Picinich, a volunteer adoption counselor, took James to a roomful of kittens, where he instantly fell in love with a tabby named Charlotte. He renamed her Boots.
The crowd outside the ASPCA started forming at 5:30 A.M. Saturday, August 19, for Clear the Shelters.
Davon Tucker of the Bronx, whose 15-year-old cat Kitty Pop passed away in July, was also in line early. He adopted a gray kitten named Fae and a black one named Rick, and changed their names to Misty and Simba.
Several other visitors also adopted cats in pairs. “I’m starting a trend,” Davon said, as he held Simba up for a kiss.
Left: James Petway with Charlotte—now Boots—and ASPCA volunteer Kadi Picinich. Right: Davon Tucker with Simba, one of two kittens he adopted.
Preston Lopez, an actor, also opted for two cats after ruling out a dog. “My work schedule keeps me away from home sometimes,” said Preston. “Besides, I’m a cat person.” Preston named his new kittens Basquiat and Nina after two of his idols: artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and singer Nina Simone. “I think it was meant to be,” he said.
For Upper West Side roommates Dario Caudana, Peter Sansbury and Will Pullen, adopting a cat was a family affair. The trio chose a black kitten with white paws and named him Torius, short for “victorious.”
Kittens weren’t the only pets who found new homes on this exciting day.
Weikai Lang and Lauren Roth adopted an 11-year-old cat named Art, who has kidney disease.
Lauren Roth and Weikai Lang adopted an 11-year-old cat named Art.
“We’ll give him the best home we possibly can,” said Lauren. The couple previously adopted their first cat, Cyrano, from the ASPCA as well.
Afra Sepulveda of Inwood and her daughter, Alex Turner, adopted Dina, a shy, five-year-old Maltese transferred from Animal Care Centers of Brooklyn. Dina was adopted as a companion for Afra, an empty-nester. “I have time, and she’s perfect for me,” Afra said. “I know it’s a huge commitment, but she needs support and I’m happy to give it to her. She’s going to be my new friend.”
Afra Sepulveda of Inwood and her daughter, Alex Turner, adopted Dina, a five-year-old Maltese.
“By midday we had completed as many adoptions as we normally do on a full Saturday,” said Jody Salbo, the ASPCA’s Director of Business Management and Adoptions. “And by day’s end, nine more animals found homes than during Clear the Shelters last year.”
The ASPCA board room was filled with hopeful adopters.
Laura Frank, Director of the ASPCA Volunteer Program, says that the event relied on a strong effort by not only Adoption Center staff and other departments, but also the 40-plus volunteers who helped prepare the event and ensure its success. Those volunteers included Laura Aguirre and Dohilil Vazquez, two bilingual ASPCA volunteers who helped guide Spanish-speaking clientele through the adoption process.
Laura Aguirre is one of several bilingual ASPCA volunteers who helped guide Spanish-speaking clientele through the adoptions process.
“This is a cause that’s very dear to my heart, and being able to help makes me feel great,” said Dohilil, who rescued her black cat Mini from the streets of Puerto Rico. “I’m happy to see how people are responding. Animals deserve all the love we can give them.”
Roommates Will Pullen, Peter Sansbury and Dario Caudana adopted a black kitten with white paws and named him Torius.
ASPCA President Matt Bershadker also praised the event and its results. “Clear the Shelters has a huge positive impact on vulnerable animals, but also on their new families, whose lives are enriched when they open their homes to loving pets,” said Matt. “My thanks go to shelter staff and volunteers across the city whose commitment and compassion save and improve lives during this event and every day.”