Kevin, Hector and Haily Cocolan with their dog Mayvis at a National Night Out celebration in Huntington Park, Calif.
ASPCA staff joined local police officials in New York, California and Florida to celebrate National Night Out on August 1.
Established in 1984, National Night Out is observed annually around the country to help police build positive relationships in communities in order to reduce crime and make neighborhoods safer.
In New York, as well as Los Angeles and Miami, the ASPCA’s Safety Net and CIA (Cruelty Intervention Advocacy) teams work every day in neighborhoods with limited resources for pets to ensure that residents have access to supplies and services for their animals. Their work is often referred to them by police officers in those areas.
In New York City, the ASPCA established an official partnership with the NYPD in 2014. The NYPD takes the lead role in responding to all animal cruelty complaints in New York City, while the ASPCA provides direct care for animal cruelty victims.
The South Bronx was one of nine locations in New York City where the ASPCA participated in National Night Out events.
“Partnering with NYPD helps combat animal cruelty, but this approach is not complete without efforts to engage communities,” said Colleen Doherty, Senior Director of CIA for the ASPCA. “In New York City, National Night Out is the perfect occasion to showcase our partnership and ensure that pet owners have access to our services.”
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez with Lisa Kisiel, CIA Case Manager for the ASPCA, at the NYPD’s 60th Precinct National Night Out event in Coney Island, South Brooklyn.
ASPCA employees in New York, Los Angeles County and Doral, Florida, distributed pet care information and free pet supplies at events in local parks, police precincts and block parties. Residents signed their pets up for spay/neuter surgeries and inquired about veterinary services such as vaccines.
The ASPCA’s Marlan Roberts and Susan Cardoso with Dulce Pantaleon, center, General Service Administrator of Doral, Fla. Public Works Department, during the Doral Police Department’s National Night Out event.
At Highbridge Park in Upper Manhattan, Maria Luna, NYPD’s 33rd Precinct Council Member President, introduced city and police officials who offered proclamations for National Night Out and lauded positive police and community partnerships. At the ASPCA tent, NYPD Sgt. Maria Sexton joined Theresa Harris and MaryLyn Carabello of the ASPCA’s legal department to field questions from residents.
“National Night Out is a great opportunity for people in the community to talk to police officers, as well as to organizations that can provide much-needed resources,” said Sgt. Maria Sexton, a 17-year veteran of the NYPD. “These cooperative efforts go a long way in improving our neighborhoods.”
“Events like this foster trust between us, the community and the police,” added Carabello, Staff Counsel for the ASPCA, who answered questions about pet services, adoption and volunteering.
Isadora “Isa” Peraza-Martinez, Community Engagement Coordinator for the ASPCA’s CIA team in New York, arranged the ASPCA’s participation in nine events across New York City’s five boroughs, an increase from five events in 2016. “The success of our CIA program has enabled us to grow and lend more support for National Night Out,” she explained.
The ASPCA’s Paul Mayr, Law Enforcement Liaison, with Police Officer Clement Krug, a Neighborhood Coordination Officer, at the National Night Out in the South Bronx.
ASPCA teams in Los Angeles County manned events in Huntington Park and Baldwin Park, where residents lined up to learn more about the ASPCA’s services.
Bernice Osorto, far left, Senior Manager of the ASPCA’s Safety Net program in Los Angeles, talks with residents of Los Angeles County during the National Night Out event in Huntington Park.
“The ASPCA’s commitment to L.A. County extends to collaborating with community organizations whenever possible,” said Gerardo Novelo, Safety Net Manager. “National Night Out was the perfect way to connect with the residents we serve through our work with two county animal care centers, Downey and Baldwin Park.”
Gerardo Novelo, Safety Net Manager for the ASPCA in Los Angeles, with McGruff the Crime Dog.
Heavy rain led to the cancellation of Miami’s National Night Out event, but ASPCA employees manned the Doral Police Department’s event, which was moved indoors.
“Doral is truly a family-focused community, rain or shine,” said Susan Cardoso, Director of Community Engagement for the ASPCA’s CIA team in Miami. “It was amazing to see people come together despite the inclement weather.”
Tanya Perry’s dog, Prince Perry, with ASPCA staff at the Highbridge Park event in Manhattan.
Even if it’s not crime-fighting in the traditional sense, National Night Out events go a long way toward helping make communities safe for pets as well as people, and keeping pets and people together.