2002-05-18 / Community

Far Rockaway Will Get Wild Dog Response Team

Far Rockaway Will Get Wild Dog Response Team

Far Rockaway Will Get
Wild Dog Response Team

The Center for Animal Care and Control (CACC) has created a new initiative to strengthen efforts to trap and capture dangerous dog packs and simultaneously increase public awareness of the issue in New York City. The Special Initiative on Dangerous Dogs will give Far Rockaway a two-officer Dangerous Dog Response Team exclusively dedicated to the tracking, trapping and capture of dog packs.

Areas identified as "hot spots" for dangerous dog packs include Far Rockaway, South Jamaica, Bedford Stuyvesant, Soundview (Bronx), and various locations on Staten Island, including Historic Richmondtown.

Michael Pastore will head the new initiative. Pastore, currently Director of Field Operations, will now also direct CACC’s Special Initiative on Dangerous Dogs. Wes Artope, Assistant Director of Shelter Operations and a certified animal behaviorist, will assist Mr. Pastore in all efforts associated with this initiative.

"Dangerous dog packs are an ongoing, serious concern in New York City. In light of the Rockaways attack, CACC is embarking on this new, important initiative to increase awareness and alert the public to the potential safety threat and increase our efforts to control the problem," said Marilyn Haggerty-Blohm, CACC’s Executive Director.

Following the serious attack of two joggers on the boardwalk in Rockaway in December 2001, CACC increased routine patrols and strategically set traps to capture stray dogs. By early March 2002, CACC had captured or trapped 29 dogs in the Rockaway community. Noting that the ensuing warmer weather increases the likelihood that persons will come into contact with packs of roving dogs, CACC will also train and dispatch staff on issues related to public encounters with dog packs so that important public safety information can be provided to all hotline callers.

CACC warns that packs of dogs create public safety problems in a number of ways, including attacking and/or biting innocent citizens and causing traffic accidents. CACC stresses that typically these dogs are not spayed or neutered, and because of their urban environment, tend to be less aggressive, although are unpredictable and should be reported immediately.

Enforcement of New York City "leash laws" will be stepped up by CACC Special Patrolmen as part of this initiative since unleashed dogs also represent a threat to the public.

Any person that encounters stray dogs, alone or in packs, is encouraged to call the CACC’s animal rescue hotline at 718-649-8600, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, or Emergency "911" anytime after.

"The public will be surprised to learn that CACC responds daily to dog pack sightings and call," says Michael Pastore. "These dogs ‘den’ or stay mostly in vacant spots, such as abandoned buildings or empty lots. The Rockaways remain fertile ground for dog packs because of the numerous empty lots along the boardwalk. We have increased efforts in these areas and urge the public to report any and all activity to CACC."

Pastore adds that most of these dogs are mixed breeds, with the lead dog typically being a male, and an average size pack made up of four dogs. Pastore also warns that all animals are unpredictable and the public should always be on guard, especially with a stray.

Following are some tips offered by CACC to avoid being attacked by a dangerous dog or pack of dogs:

  • Stay calm, and do not run from or in front of dogs.
  • Stand still and erect, with your body sideways.
  • Do not stare directly into the dogs eyes.
  • If knocked down, do not run.

The Center for Animal Care and Control, Inc. (CACC) is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the humane protection, care, control and adoption of New York City’s homeless, abandoned and injured animals. As one of the largest animal sheltering systems in the U.S., CACC is New York City’s provider of animal care and control services and is largely funded by its contract with the City of New York and private donors.

CACC currently operates five shelter facilities – three full-service shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island, and two small receiving centers in Queens and the Bronx. They accept more than 56,000 stray and abandoned animals annually. CACC’s dedicated staff includes a team of licensed veterinarians, animal behaviorists, rescue workers and adoption specialists. CACC emergency rescue services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to pick up animals that threaten public safety and sick, injured or dangerous wildlife. CACC works closely with other local animal shelters and humane/rescue organizations to reduce the number of homeless animals through increased numbers of adoptions, low-cost spay/neuter programs, and by heightening public awareness about the responsibilities of pet ownership.

Every day CACC has over 200 animals – puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats – available for adoption in shelters throughout the five boroughs. The CACC website, located at www.nycacc.org is updated regularly with descriptions and pictures of animals currently available for adoption, and the organization also promotes adoption efforts in partnership with such national groups as www.petfinder.com. For more information, call 1-888-SPAY-NYC.

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