Saturday, December 26, 2009

Now is the BEST time to buy your 2010 calendar from Rational Animal

Now is the BEST time to buy your 2010 calendar from Rational Animal!

If you missed the great party at The Eldridge on December 18th, you missed a great party but not your last opportunity to get a great deal on your copy of Rational Animal's 2010 calendar just in time for the new year!

Rational Animal has seen continued coverage in media for its unique 2010 calendar project, "In Perfect Harmony: Music Legends and their Animals", which pairs vintage rock photography from the archives of the Morrison Hotel Gallery, with Rational Animal's mission for increasing public awareness of at-risk animals.

Founder and Director, Susan Brandt, was interviewd at KLOS radio in on December 9th then with Q104's Shelli Sonstein on December 16th, with an additional mention by the radio station's Ken Dashow on December 24th.

"In Perfect Harmony" was also covered in the December 19th issue of the New York Daily News and in Us Weekly online.

The calendar even made the Rolling Stone online gift guide, which was a tremendous achievement!

Why is NOW the best time to get this one-of-a-kind gift? A promo code has just been opened up to the public. Through December 31st only, use "Q104" at checkout here, and get 2 for every 1 purchased!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rational Animal End-of-Year Bash in NYC

Rational Animal presents a fabulous year-end bash!
Friday, December 18th
The Eldridge

247 Eldridge St.
(between E.Houston and Stanton St.) New York, NY
SUGGESTED DONATION: $25: gets you in the door and an "In Perfect Harmony: Music Legends and their Animals" 2010 calendar + bonus gift.

SPECIALTY DRINK: The Eldridge Mixologist will be making the "In Perfect Harmony" cocktail.


With support from The Eldridge and Amici della Cultura Italiana clubs.
Order calendars here:
Questions? Email

Friday, December 4, 2009

News about Rational Animal 2010 Calendar + December 18th Benefit

We are thrilled to report that we have earned more media coverage for the 2010 calendar, "In Perfect Harmony: Music Legends and Their Animals". Check us out on Rolling Stone online!
Other coverage includes:

We are also now listed on Do some holiday shopping, and put this unique calendar in your shopping cart -- all sales go directly to Rational Animal for our continuing projects to raise public awareness of at-risk animals.

Recently, the FIT Italian Club sold dozens of calendars for Rational Animal. We are very grateful for their efforts and are pleased to announce that they are also throwing us an end-of-year benefit.

Friday, December 18th
10pm (until about 12am)
The Eldridge, located at 247 Eldridge St. (between E. Houston & Stanton St.)
Celebrate with Rational Animal as we close out another year of awareness projects focused on at-risk animals and animal welfare issues and rescue groups. We will have give-aways for you and your four-legged friends and plenty of "In Perfect Harmony" calendars for sale ($25 each).

MUSIC! DJ Phresh will start spinning tunes at 10pm.
LIBATIONS! The Eldgridge is offering discounted drink specials.
FREE STUFF! Rational Animal will have some sweet give-aways.
BONUS! Rational Animal will throw in a special extra gift with each purchase of the 2010 In Perfect Harmony calendar.
It's FREE but we appreciate any donations, and we'll have lots of In Perfect Harmony calendars for sale!

Check out our Facebook Event listing where you can also invite all your friends!!

ABOUT THE CALENDAR: The calendar, titled “In Perfect Harmony: Music Legends and their Animals” appeals to music, art, photography, and animal lovers everywhere. Recently featured in Rolling Stone, the New York Post, Radar, and, “In Perfect Harmony” includes fine art prints of music legends including Michael Jackson, Sting, Billie Holiday and John Lennon enjoying time with an animal friend. Each month a beautifully reproduced photograph includes the photographer's first-hand story behind the photo, as well as animal holidays and animal-themed quotations. Contributing photographers include: Janette Beckman, Pattie Boyd, Danny Clinch, Henry Diltz, Lynn Goldsmith, Herman Leonard, Neal Preston, Frank Stefanko, Barrie Wentzell, and Robert Whitaker.

**order calendars here:

Monday, November 9, 2009

ASPCA/NYCLASS Statement on the closing of Shamrock Stables

RE-POSTING. Rational Animal's stance on the carriage horse industry in NYC is in line with that of the the ASPCA, NY CLASS, and the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages. Right now NY CLASS is a great alternative, and we hope to see their plan happen some day soon.


November 4, 2009

ASPCA, NYCLASS Issue Statement on Future Closing of Carriage Horse Stables
Officials Say Alternative to Antiquated Industry is "Past Due"

NEW YORK--The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets) issued the following statements after learning of the impending shut-down of some carriage horse stables to make room for affordable housing:
"We have said time and time again that neither the New York City environment nor current law provides carriage horses with the fundamental necessities to ensure their safety and well being, and this latest development further underscores the limitations that 21st century New York City has to offer such an antiquated industry," said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres.

"The use of carriage horses in New York City is not only a safety hazard to city residents, tourists, pedestrians, motorists and the horses themselves, but horses must often work seven days a week in heavily congested traffic and extreme temperatures."

"It's time for New Yorkers to demand an alternative to carriage horses, specifically "green" (eco-friendly) replicas of antique cars—a proposal that would also keep carriage drivers from losing their jobs," added Jared Rosen, Executive Director of NYCLASS. "Housing such vehicles in New York City would be easier and less expensive than providing lodging for horses, which also requires storage for hay, feed, carriages and other equipment. Vehicles don't require the kind of maintenance that a horse does, and they would not have to be kept close to Central Park."
"Presently, the carriage horses inhabit prime real estate that could be used for more affordable housing for people, which the city desperately needs," Rosen continued.

The ASPCA and NYCLASS lauded the recent Comptroller's Follow-Up Audit Report on the Licensing and Oversight of the Carriage-Horse Industry, which detailed numerous infractions and violations on behalf of the industry as well as poor oversight on behalf of the City's Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DoHMH).

"The ASPCA, a privately-funded agency, continues to voluntarily—and at its own expense—do the city's job, monitoring activity and enforcing the regulations that govern horses' housing, care and welfare," Sayres said. "The city's taxpayers (knowingly or unknowingly) are subsidizing the very industry the city should be overseeing by allowing them to work out of city owned property, and revenues from their business are not subject to sales tax.
"The ASPCA and NYCLASS urge the City Council and Mayor's office to push for the much-needed and past-due phase-out of the carriage horses and the implementation of a safe, humane, environmentally friendly and economically viable alternative."

# # #

Media contacts: Anita Kelso Edson, 646-522-5056;
Jared Rosen, 212-626-6990;

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation's leading voice for animal welfare. One million supporters strong, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501 [c] [3] not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit

New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets™ is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization dedicated to improving New York City's quality of life through education and advocacy. As New York has evolved in the 110 years since the five boroughs united, the issues facing our citizens have also changed. We believe that the challenges facing New York in the 21st century demand a fresh approach to the way city government operates, rather than a stale reliance on existing orthodoxies. NYCLASS researches public policy issues and offers sensible solutions to the critical needs of New York City in the 21st century, such as reducing traffic, improving sanitation, and protecting workers. NYCLASS seeks to improve the city's civic fabric and raise the level of public discourse on these issues by building public support for our initiatives. For more information, please visit

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rational Animal's got the PERFECT holiday gift!

The holiday season is upon us!! And Rational Animal has the perfect gift for you or for someone special in your life. The "In Perfect Harmony: Music Legends and their Animals" 2010 calendar is being sold online and in stores for only $25.000 at and in the Morrison Hotel Gallery Prince St. and Bowery locations (

Your donation will help us continue our important work in humane education and animal awareness and protection.

Rational Animal has seen more press coverage too -- check us out in the New York Post, Radar, and Rolling Stone.
Buy the calendar for yourself, your friends, colleagues, and family memebers. Each month features a fine art piece from the Morrison Hotel Gallery's vintage collection, the photographer's first-hand story behind each photo, animal holidays, and a carefully slected animal-themed quote, such as this by Ray Charles: "Whether they be the musician cats in my band or the real cats of the world, they all got style."
What do you do with the calendar after each month has passed? Each month's phot is unmarked and can be detached and used to decorate your home interior or office. Now that is a gift that keeps on giving!!
Pass on the link to help in the fundraising efforts: All sales go straight to Rational Animal to help fund our animal awareness and humane education projects, including the nationwide Orange Ribbon for Animals campaign and the Gimme Shelter Rock and Rescue 2010 benefit concert for animal rescues in NYC.
Contact if you want to help sell the calendar or know of stores and venues for RA volunteers to sell inside business locations in the NYC area. Email Rational Animal with your own sales and retail ideas.
Previews of "In Perfect Harmony: Music Legends and their Animals":

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rational Animal Celebrates Pit Bull Awareness Day in NYC

Rational Animal teamed with the NYC Pit Bull / Pit Mix Meetup group, headed by Amy Calmann and, Pattie Smith, who she adopted from AC&C, for Pit Bull Awareness Day. The rain postponed the festivities from Saturday to Sunday, October 25th, but that did not deter the crowds from coming out with their pitties and posing for some great pictures.

Rational Animal was also promoting the Orange Ribbon for Animals "Animal Guardian" campaign and handed out orange ribbons to all the pit parents.

Further inside the park was a costume and agility contest for dogs, with supporters such as Happy Pants and Friends of Animal Rescue in attendance with info tables.

Rational Animal gave out copies of New York Tails Fall issue, which features a cover story about the pit bull ban in public housing (there is a ban on pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and dogs over 25 lbs) as well as an informational flyer as well; contents below:


Pit Bull Awareness Day in New York City
October 25, 2009
Tompkins Square Park

Rational Animal and the NYC Pit Bull and Pit Mix Meetup Group thank you for coming out today. Enjoy the pitties and their people, and continue to help educate others about responsible animal guardianship.

Thank you for your support and advocacy for this misunderstood animal. Though many of us have met or had our own pit bull and pit mix dogs, not everyone gives them the chance they deserve and sometimes these dogs are exploited and abused by humans right here in New York City.Continue to spread awareness about the many positive aspects of pits and the importance of spaying and neutering to prevent more unwanted pits from ending up in our overcrowded Animal Care & Control shelters.

Spay/neuter programs specifically for pit and pit mix dogs in NYC:

Out of the Pits “Fix-a-Bull” Program:
NYC AC&C Love Your Pit free and low-cost pit bull spay/neuter service:

*** If you know of more FREE spay/neuter services for pit bulls, email

Suggested websites and Resources:

NYC Anti-animal Fighting Campaign:
The Real Pit Bull:
Liberty Humane’s Bullies Are Deserving Dogs:
Animal Farm Foundation:

Bad Rap, nationally recognized pit bull rescue in the Bay Area of California:
Pit Bull Rescue Central – Where Education Meets Rescue:

Dispelling the myths – from
Pit bulls have locking jows – FALSE!
Pit bulls have the strongest jaws – FALSE!
Pit bulls turn on their owners – FALSE!
A higher percentage of pit bulls attack people than other breeds – FALSE!
All pit bulls are aggressive – FALSE!
Pit bulls are only good for fighting – FALSE!

NEW WAY TO SUPPORT RATIONAL ANIMAL -- and get some cool stuff for yourself!

Rational Animal's now have a new opportunity to express their opinion of the Eagles hiring of Michael Vick and to help Rational Animal at the same time.

Were you angry when the Eagles NFL team signed Michael Vick to their roster? Show it and support Rational Animal!

Express your opinion of the Eagles hiring of Michael Vick and help Rational Animal at the same time. Go to and use promo code: "rational" (type in the promotion code box during check out).

When you shop at, for every t-shirt purchased Rational Animal will receive 15% of the purchase price, and for every bumper sticker purchased Rational Animal will receive 20% of the purchase price.

Just be sure to put "Rational" in the promotion code box when you are entering your billing and shipping information.
Feel free to forward to anyone you think would like this merchandise and to help Rational Animal's work for animals and the protection of them.

Friday, October 16, 2009

National Feral Cat Day - TODAY October 16th, EVENTS THIS WEEKEND

It is National Feral Cat Day!
Events going on in New York all weekend and beyond...

Please remember the people that work tirelessly to PREVENT the births of unwanted litters of cats around the country.

Consider donating to a rescue group that does TNR services -- this is one of the best ways to bring the feral cat population down and prevent abuse and the needless killing of animals.

A message from Alley Cat Allies:
"National Feral Cat Day (NFCD) is your opportunity to help protect and improve the lives of cats around the county!
We know how much you care about cats and want to help protect them. Now you can celebrate NFCD by reaching out to others with the message that feral cats are healthy and happy outdoors and that Trap-Neuter-Return improves cats' lives. Get involved and show your support for stray and feral cats by distributing educational materials or hosting local events like workshops, fundraisers, or special neuter clinic days."

In New York City, the NYC Feral Cat Initiative is celebrating their work and the work of others dedicated to TNR and changing the harsh stereotypes of feral and homeless cats.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Feral For Life in Brooklyn:
6:00–10:00 pm
Washington Commons, 748 Washington Ave. (between Park Place and Sterling Place).

More Info: Contact, or visit the Feral for Life web site:
Saturday October 17, 2009
Feral Cat Winter Shelter Building Workshop, Demonstration & Sale (CLOSED FOR RESERVATIONS)
Noon–12:30 pm
Shelter Building Workshop & Demonstration
1:00–2:30 pm – Pick-Up Pre-Built Shelters
South Ozone Park, Queens (address will be sent upon RSVP)
In honor of National Feral Cat Day and New York Week for the Animals, come and learn how to build a winter shelter for feral cats! You can observe a demonstration for free, or you can pay a discounted fee of $60 to participate in the workshop. The fee covers all necessary provided materials. We'll walk you through the construction process (and do all the drilling), and you can take your new shelter home that day. If you'd prefer, you can instead order a discounted pre-built shelter for $60 ($10 off regular price) and pick it up that day. If you are not able to transport your shelter home, we can arrange to have it delivered for free (for a limited number of people).
Sponsors: NYC Feral Cat Initiative, ASPCA
More Info: Contact the NYC Feral Cat Initiative at

October 17 & 18, 2009

10:00 am–5:00 pm
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street, Manhattan

This year's Adopt-A-Cat will be held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, in tandem with the AKC/CFA's Meet the Breeds event. Adopt-A-Cat is one of the major events in New York City during the first annual New York Week for the Animals. Don Loprieno, author of The Stony Point Whisker Club, will be signing copies of his book on both days and donating a portion of his book sales to the Mayor's Alliance.
More Info: Contact the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals at (212) 252-2350 or, or visit

Seminars and courses on TNR and managing feral cat colonies continue year-round. Check here for details.

And just out this week: Crazy Cat Ladies, an interesting and informative article by Kiri Blakely, a reporter for Forbes and ForbesWoman, and also long-time volunteer with KittyKind.


If you are blessed enough to have a cat, dog, or other companion animal in your family, give them some extra love this weekend and please spread the word about the importance of spaying and neutering. Animals are not property to be discarded or garbage to be kicked aside, but until there are no more homeless animals roaming our streets, the voiceless innocent animals are at risk of injury, abuse, and death. We are obligated to care and to do something, because we, humans, are the ones who have contributed most to creating and perpetuating this problem.

Loving animals is good for the soul... Love an animal today and help educate others on how to help animals and combat overpopulation.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Investigative reporting on the NYCHA breed ban and lowered weight restriction

An exclusive investigative report for Rational Animal's media partner, New York Tails:

Writing and Reporting by Courtney Kistler
Edited by Diane West

Large dogs are a common in New York City's projects, but a new provision may change that. Residents and others speak out about how this new law will change, or has already changed, their lives and the lives of their dogs. But citywide, New York City's already overburdened shelter system may feel the effects of a flood of these now 'banned' dogs being surrendered by New York City Housing Authority residents (NYCHA) who fear of losing their apartments.

East River Houses resident Samuel* walked his two Rottweilers, 'Addy' and 'Nelson', from 105th Street and First Avenue to another nearby development, the George Washington Houses, one recent summer afternoon. Once there, he let the two large, seemingly tame dogs off their leashes for some exercise in the courtyard. Almost immediately, a woman begins arguing with him. She is afraid of the dogs and demands Samuel put them back on their leashes.
Samuel refuses. His dogs have never hurt anyone, he tells the angry woman, and they're under control. After a few more minutes of arguing she walks away cursing.

"I can't win," Samuel shrugs. By his own admission, he is an intimidating sight. Six foot five, dark skinned, tattooed, and flanked by two large dogs, he says he's an 'easy target' for both public housing residents and police officers alike.
"Kids as young as ten years old, looking to become Crips or Bloods, flash red or blue bandanas and threaten to 'blast' me because they think I'm a cop. And the cops? They think I'm fighting my dogs and doing other bad things, and they won't leave me alone."
Add to the kids and the police one more group who will have Samuel and other public housing residents under a more watchful eye-The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).

On May 1st, the Housing Authority, which is responsible for overseeing some 178,489 apartments throughout five boroughs, imposed a 25-pound weight limit on family dogs, almost half of the 40-pound weight limit instituted seven years ago. Additionally, the new rule specifically bans pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinchers from public housing, period. Residents may either have one pet dog or one pet cat but not both. All pets living with public housing residents must be registered with NYCHA. And, like all dogs in the city, they must also be licensed.
Dangerous Dogs
The new weight and breed rules do not apply to service dogs or to residents of Section 8 subsidized apartments, which NYCHA does not manage. But those who have had dogs over 40 pounds since 2002 and did not register them with the housing authority at that time may now face eviction. Some residents have already been told to remove their dogs.

"Over the years, we had been getting an increasing number of complaints about problems associated with dangerous dogs; dogs that are used for fighting, dogs that are attack dogs, and dogs that are not being handled and trained properly by their owners," says NYCHA spokesman Howard Marder when asked what prompted this latest change.

Many New Yorkers, NYCHA and non-NYCHA residents alike, were taken aback by the public housing authority's seeming haste to put the new weight and breed bans into effect. In addition to some initial glaring missteps, like the publication of a list containing the names of 27 so-called 'dangerous breeds' (which included the likes of Boston Terriers) the new rules seemed to contradict a New York State law which has long prohibited state municipalities from making laws which ban the ownership of specific dog breeds. To that, Mr. Marder says, "NYCHA is not a municipality. Therefore the rule does not apply." However, he says, NYCHA met with city animal advocacy organizations prior to implementing the new rule because "we didn't take [this] change lightly."

Residents, Animal Groups Taken By Surprise
"In no way shape or form did they [the Housing Authority] consult with us prior to coming up with this list, and we categorically reject breed discriminatory legislation," says an angry Jane Hoffman, President of the Mayor's Alliance For NYC's Animals and founding member and Chair of the NYC Bar Association Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals. "They only put out a notice to their tenants about a month before May 1st, and it came to our attention when residents started calling us in a panic."

The Mayor's Alliance and other city animal rescue organizations have a strong interest in the potential repercussions of NYCHA's weight-and-breed ban. Since its founding in 2002, the Mayor's Alliance has been the recipient of millions of dollars in grant money from Maddie's Fund, a national animal rescue fund created by software developer David Duffield in memory of the family's Schnauzer, Maddie. The Mayor's Alliance anticipates spending (and raising) a total of $24.4 million by 2016 to help reach their stated objective: reaching the day "when no New York City dog or cat of reasonable health and temperament is killed merely because he or she does not have a home."

"We are concerned from a policy standpoint, as we're trying to make New York a no-kill city," Ms. Hoffman says "We knew this [NYCHA] policy would cause an increase in shelter intake and the 25-pound weight limit would make it difficult for public housing residents to adopt from Animal Care and Control (AC&C). Seventy percent of dogs who come into the shelter system, according to the AC&C website, are pit bulls--one of the three breeds now banned from NYCHA projects.

It is impossible to say exactly how many animals have already ended up at the AC&C, the city's animal shelter system, as a result of the new NYCHA rules. But if early predictions are correct, the number of dogs turned in could be substantial.
According to Debora Bresch, ASPCA's Legislative Liaison in Government Relations, six percent of all dogs available for adoption from the AC&C were adopted by public housing residents between January and April 2009, a total of about 172 dogs. Under the May 1st NYCHA rules, 107 of these 172 dogs - over 60% - are not supposed to be there, making them prime candidates to be returned to the city's shelter system.
Early attempts to discourage city housing residents from surrendering their animals before knowing what their rights are under the new rules include the distribution of a memo in several languages at each of the city's shelters. (The English version of the memo can be accessed here: press/memo2009-06-08-English.pdf ).

There were 4,656 dogs and 1,264 cats registered as pets of housing authority residents when the May 1st policy went into effect but, Mr. Marder says, NYCHA did not keep records of them by breed. However, he says, NYCHA will use its "limited resources to address lease violations such as this as well as all other lease violations or Quality Of Life infringements or crimes as it is made aware of them."

Pitbulls in the Projects

Public housing residents are among the first to admit pit bull fighting and animal abuse are common within certain housing projects and must be stopped. But several interviewed for this article feel the new NYCHA rule is too broad and unfairly affects people and pets who never have, nor would, do anything criminal with animals.

One of those fighting against NYCHA's new pet rule is 26 year-old Marquis Jenkins, community organizer for a tenant advocacy group called the Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES). Mr. Jenkins has been circulating and gathering thousands of signatures for a petition against the new policy. At the crux of his efforts is a request that NYCHA "halt any and all evictions in association with the [new] pet policy".

Supported by Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, Chair of the New York City Council's Subcommittee on Public Housing, Mr. Jenkins asserts that nearly all the dog owners that have joined the fight against the policy with GOLES have received a letter from NYCHA-- the first step of the eviction process. Some have refused NYCHA management's request to remove their pets. Their next step is to schedule a hearing at the NYCHA head offices at 250 Broadway.

Back uptown at the George Washington Houses, 70 year-old resident Gladys and her seven year-old pit bull, "Dream", say they've had run-ins with NYCHA long before the May 1st rule went into effect. When Dream was still a puppy, Gladys says, a resident complained to the Housing Authority that Gladys' dog was vicious. Gladys found herself not only having to prove allegation false in order to keep Dream, but to keep her apartment as well.
"So I took pictures of her playing with people, with children, and I got a petition, because all [the] people are crazy about her." Eventually, NYCHA ruled in her favor. A public housing resident for 38 years, Gladys says she's received a written notice in the mail regarding the pet policy change but is unconcerned. Dream is registered, spayed, with vet certification, and although over 40 pounds, is exempt from the weight limits because she is considered a type of service/ therapy dog for Gladys.
Gladys says she took Dream as a four-month old puppy from her niece, because "I didn't want her to fall into the wrong hands. My niece was being offered hundreds of dollars for this puppy." People willing to purchase Dream at such a large price, she believes, were looking to either breed her or use her for fighting - or both.

Gladys' friend, Moncit*, agrees. She's witnessed firsthand what she believes were people training dogs for fighting. "Last Summer, right there," Moncit recounts, pointing to a large tree in the courtyard, "is where I saw a rope hanging. A pit bull was holding onto it with his jaws, swinging from this rope, while a man was whipping it with his belt over and over again.

"This used to be a breeding ground for pit bulls," says Marietta, who has lived in public housing for 52 years and currently lives at the Washington Houses. Up until about two years ago, she says, the problem was easy to see. "They used to fight dogs wherever - it did not matter. In the street, on the sidewalk, right here in this yard," she says. She is standing in front of the same area Samuel had let his Rottweilers run earlier that day.

The housing authority's ban on pit bulls and other breeds often favored by dog fighters does have some unlikely supporters, however. One of them is Emelinda Navarez, a life-long resident of the South Bronx and founder of Earth Angels Canine Rescue. Over 45 years, Ms. Navarez estimates she's rescued over 6,000 pit bulls in and around her neighborhood. Another is Stacy Alldredge, a Chelsea resident who has a dog training business and has worked at animal shelters as well as been involved in animal rescue for more than two decades. Both Emelinda in the Bronx and Stacy in Chelsea think the NYCHA ban on pit bulls may be the right thing to do.

Other advocates, who don't support the ban, nonetheless acknowledge there is a problem, problems which have not necessarily ceased since implementation of the new policy. On July 8th, police called to check out a disturbance at the Stanley Isaacs Houses East 94th Street shot and killed a pit bull during the melee, according to a Daily News report. Weeks later, a 19 year-old boy was arrested for throwing a young pit-bull mix off a roof in Brooklyn's Red Hook housing development. And on September 29th, a trial will begin against seven men who were arrested during a police raid of an East 179th Street building where the basement and yard was allegedly used to carry out an organized dog fighting operation. (See the homepage for the NYC Anti-animal Fighting Campaign ( for more details.)

As residents have attested, there is no doubt that mistreatment, recklessness, and irresponsible behavior when it comes to animals in public housing take place and causes quality of life issues. Whether or not the NYCHA ban on pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and dogs over 25 pounds will put a damper on these things, which have created the problems that Mr. Marder says residents have complained about, remains to be seen. As the 90 day grace period has just past, New York Tails will keep a close eye on NYCHA's enforcement of its new policy and its effect on the city shelter system, as well as progress by those who are part of the effort to repeal the rule.
As for Addy and Nelson, just a few weeks after being interviewed for this article, Samuel relinquished the pair to Manhattan AC&C on 110th Street, saying that he is trying to save up money to move away from New York and cannot do so while also providing for the animals. Luckily, the pair were removed from the shelter by a Rottweiler rescue group and eventually found a new home in Vermont.

* Only first names of public housing residents have been provided to protect their privacy.
Life is the Pits -- The NYC Pit Bull and Pit Mix Rescue Meetup
By Laura Osanitch
Chelsea resident Amy Calmann, adopted her pit bull 'Patti Smith' from the New York Center for Animal Care and Control in 2003. She became so enamored of her warm and wiggly new friend she created the NYC Pitbull and Pit Mix Rescue Meetup, a group where pit bull owners could come out of the canine closet and show their love for their breed of choice. Today, 586 happy members gather all over the five boroughs.

Meetup member Cris, who requested her last name be omitted, joined the Meetup partly in response to comments made like that of a former boss, who noticed her dog's picture on her desk and chastised her for owning a pit bull. Shocked, Cris still remembers her eyes watering up as she hid her precious pet's photo in a drawer.
"It hurts my feelings when people react so angrily or frightened towards my dog, whom I love," Cris says, who was thrilled to meet likeminded people through the Meeutp.

Other members feel the same way. Ingrid and Francisco Rodriguez of Bushwick adopted their pit bull, 'Blanco' in September 2008. Abandoned, Blanco was in need of a hero, and the Rodriguez's answered the call. Since adopting 'Blanco', however, Ms. Rodriguez says she's found herself in situations she never bargained for, including what she describes as "thugs expressing their admiration," for her dog and a "dicey" bodega employee who, upon sighting Blanco, released a mistreated pit bull from a basement in what Ms. Rodriguez thinks was an attempt to incite a fight. The Rodriguez family is glad to have found the Pit Bull Meetup, where they feel they can make friends and create positive experiences for their precious pooch.

Jon Bozak, author of graphic novel, Demo-The Story of a Junkyard Dog, is also a member of the NYC Pitbull Meetup and is the owner of two pit bulls; 15-year-old "Demo" and two-year old "Brinx." Mr. Bozak says his dogs and his book have served as a catharsis for his views on many issues, including judgment on appearance. He suggests: "People today are short on time and can't be faulted for forming fast opinions. But they should learn what they are forming opinions on. Be open to discussion."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Rational Animal Kicks off the First Annual "New York Week for the Animals" with Orange Ribbon for Animals Day Celebration at Bark in the Bark

Rational Animal Kicks off the First Annual "New York Week for the Animals" with Orange Ribbon for Animals Day Celebration at Bark in the Bark

October 11, 2009
Liberty State Park
Jersey City, NJ

Come out and enjoy a beautiful Fall Sunday in Liberty State Park for the Liberty Humane Society's Bark in the Park. Rational Animal will have a table and will be fundraising and also celebrating the anniversary of the official registration of the Orange Ribbon for Animals (

On October 10, 2006 Rational Animal made the Orange Ribbon the official awareness ribbon for at-risk animals. It is registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office by Rational Animal – the orange ribbon is officially listed as "for promoting public awareness of at-risk animals". Today we celebrate the Orange Ribbon for Animals as well as the first day of the New York Week for the Animals.

Tomorrow, October 11th, Rational Animal will participate in Liberty Humane Society’s “Bark in the Park”, in Jersey City, where we will be giving out the orange ribbons to visitors and friends as well as selling our new calendar, sponsored by the Morrison Hotel Gallery:

For more information on Bark in the Park:

For more information on New York Week for the Animals:

Rational Animal
217 Thompson St., Suite 420
New York, NY 10012
(917) 239-9229

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Slow Improvement Seen in Regulation of Carriage Horses in NYC

New York Times, City Room
September 21, 2009
Jennifer Lee

City oversight over horse-drawn carriages has improved since an audit two years ago by the city comptroller’s office, but the two agencies that oversee the business have acted too slowly in putting reforms into effect, a new report has found.
The new report, from the office of Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., is critical of the two agencies: the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which is responsible for the well-being of the animals, and the Department of Consumer Affairs, which licenses the horses, drivers, carriages and stables.
In the new assessment, the comptroller’s office found that the two departments implemented 7 of the 11 recommendations made in the 2007 audit, including a key one that to create an advisory board first proposed two decades earlier.
However, it found that the Health Department had acting too slowly on the recommendations made by the advisory board and for failing to find new ways, other than tagging, to identify horses. Effective identification is considered important in keeping track of the horses and ensuring their safety.
The horse-drawn carriage business, while modest in its size, has generated fervent protests. The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages wants the business to be outlawed in New York City, as it has been in other metropolitan areas around the world. A 2008 documentary, “Blinders,” which some people criticized as being selective in its use of evidence, documented some of the problems in the business.
Fueling their arguments is the continual drumbeat of accidents, including one over the weekend, in which a horse-drawn carriage and a taxi collided on the Upper East Side when the cabdriver reportedly suffered a seizure.
The new report did find signs of progress since the last audit. For well over a year, for example, the Department of Consumer Affairs has completed the required inspections of every carriage on schedule. There are currently about 200 licensed horses, 280 licensed drivers and 70 licensed carriages. Nearly all of them operate in or around Central Park.
One of the ongoing issues is how a method other than tag numbers can be used to identify working horses. The 2007 audit found a startling inconsistency: the paperwork for at least 57 carriage horses described different animals from year to year, including changes in color and sex, while the license numbers did not change. The advisory board recommended the use of microchips, a practice that has been adopted in other cities.
However, the Health Department responded that the main problem is a requirement in the city’s administrative code that horses to be branded on their hooves. Until that is changed, the department said, the city cannot being requiring the use of microchips to identify the horses.
The Health Department said on Monday that its commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, was “following up on the work of his predecessor,” Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, and that Dr. Farley had “received the recommendations of the Rental Horse Licensing and Protection Advisory Board and is reviewing” them.
Carolyn Daly, a spokeswoman for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York, said, “The industry has always been committed to implementing stronger measures to ensure the safety of our drivers, horses and passengers. We appreciate the Mayor’s office intensive efforts over the last two years to review all operations and issues and look forward to real improvements being implemented soon.
However, animal-rights activists said nothing short of a ban would be sufficient.
Dan Mathews, a senior vice president at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which is part of the coalition to ban the carriages, said in a statement:
"The comptroller’s audit shows that the city is incapable of even addressing the ongoing problems with the carriage horse trade, much less enforce the weak regulations that exist. After 25 years the city is still trying to figure out how to identify horses properly so that drivers don’t illegally double-shift them. They don’t even touch on other issues, such as compelling drivers to keep the horses in stables when freezing weather or violent storms are forecast, or to document the many accidents involving horses that don’t make news. We hope this report convinces the city to go the way of Paris, London, Toronto and Beijing and conclude that big city traffic and easily spooked large animals don’t mix. The horse-drawn carriages need to be banned outright."

Friday, September 4, 2009

FAQs for Animal Adoption

FAQs of Pet Adoption...
This Fall there are an impressive amount of adoption events as we near New York Week for the Animals, Halloween, and more holidays. With that in mind, there are some things that we should remember as we look to save a life and adopt our new best friend:

What is required to complete adoption of my new furry family member?
Most shelters and rescues will require the following:
Proof of identification Reference(s) Payment - adoption fees vary and are essential in helping shelters cover care and medical costs. Proof of pet allowance in apartment buildings may be required as well.

I have allergies and can only tolerate specific types of dogs / cats. How do I still adopt?
The best solution to situations of allergies is to speak with a medical doctor as well as a veterinarian to find out exactly the types of animals you can and can’t be around. There are myriad pure breed rescue groups with the breed of dog that will not trigger your allergies, but you must be patient in searching for the right animal in your area rescue group that fits with your needs. If you are allergic to all cats and dogs, you may be able to take certain types of allergy medications that will allow you to live with a new pet without issue. Consult a doctor and a veterinarian to be sure.

How do I know what organization to adopt from?
Just like with any business, there are certain standards that experienced and successful rescue groups and shelters abide by. Be sure the organization you are adopting from charges an adoption fee which covers vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, and microchip for dogs (sometimes for cats too). You should speak with an individual that can be candid about the animals you’re interested in and also about the organization. Feel free to ask questions too, so that you feel assured of your decision and the animal you match with.

Does the city shelter euthanize animals?
Yes. New York City Animal Care and Control shelters are required by the City of New York to take in every animal that is brought in or relinquished to them. This includes exotic and farm animals, as well as all shapes and sizes of cats, dogs, and rabbits. Occasionally Animal Control officers will pick up stray animals, but they will not respond to calls about feral cats or requests to pick up stray dogs or cats. The Animal Care and Control shelters have too many animals than kennels, foster or adoptive homes, therefore, they must put animals to sleep in order to accommodate the flooding of animals they experience every day. It is a sad reality – but you can do your part by adopting, fostering, and encouraging others to do the same. Remember – ADOPTION IS THE ONLY OPTION!

What is the process?
A reputable, reliable rescue or shelter organization will have an adoption application and adoption fee, which allows them to screen people and ensure their animals are going into loving, safe homes – and will not fall into the wrong hands. The adoption application and the adoption usually do not take place on the same day, as adoption reps must read the applications and check references first before letting an animal out of their hands for good.

Why so many questions? I’d make a great pet parent!
You will probably be asked a lot of questions, but that is a good thing! All involved need to make sure the new home is a sure thing, not a whimsical thought that will change the day after Fluffy or Scruffy come home. Remember, you may be a pillar of your community, but not everyone is. Think of it as a job interview. Are you the right fit for Max or Maxine?

Some questions may include (in random order): (1) where do you work? what are your work hours?, (2) do you have screens in your windows?, (3) can you afford a standard vet visit, which can add up to hundreds of dollars?, (4) will you get pet insurance? are you interested in more information about pet insurance?, (5) what will you feed the animal?, (6) how many times a day will you walk the dog?, (6) will you or a walker walk the dog?, (7) do you have pets?, (8) do you have a spouse or roommate?.

Some agreements may include:

-no declawing of cats

-return of animal ONLY to adoption/rescue group; do not give to other shelter or organization.

The transaction of adoption holds no guarantees, but the steps along the way greatly increase the chances of a positive and forever rewarding experience. The better you understand the care with which a good rescue group places their animals and the importance of it, the better equipped you will be to bring a new companion animal into your home and your life.

Why do they have to visit my home?
A good organization will care where their rescued animals are going to live, so some may ask to do a home check. Don’t be offended! It’s only for their liability standards and peace of mind and for the safety of all the animals and the people who want to adopt them. While your home may be a great place for a dog and/or cat to live, another’s may not be, and the only way for the rescue group to know the difference is to ask a lot of questions and, often, see the home themselves.

Why such a laborious process? I want to bring Fido home today!
All great things are worth the wait. Same-day adoptions are rare and even frowned upon in the rescue community. Adopter and adoptee want to avoid the pitfalls of the “impulse buy”, which can result in a bad experience and a return of the animal – this takes up time and energy on everyone’s part and ultimately leads to a sad outcome for the animal. If a person is truly committed, they will follow the adoption process and wait until their new best friend is ready to come home.

I just got home and things aren’t going well. What do I do?
Just like with humans, animals require space and time to adjust to major life changes. Some shelter experiences are very harsh for animals, and they may express their confusion and apprehension in odd ways. It’s no one’s fault – and it’s completely normal. Give your new pet at least 48 hours to adjust fully before making a real assessment of how things are going.
The adoption rep should give you advice on animal care and provide a contact name, phone number/email address that you can use for questions or concerns.

What is fostering? How do I do it?
Fostering is one of the best ways you can help animals and those who work tirelessly for them. By giving a homeless animal a temporary place to live, you are committing to the care of the animal but understanding that the animal is still up for adoption and will be placed in their forever home at some point. The length of fostering varies depending on the needs of the animal and the rescue group, so be sure you know what will work for you and what you can commit to. While fostering, you can take pictures and give updates to the rescue group so they can post it on an animal adoption portal such as or You may also be required to bring the animal to adoption events, so be sure to discuss that and all other details before you commit to fostering.

I just adopted my new pet, and I love her! But I want to continue to help. What can I do?
Congratulations. You’ve just made a huge difference in the lives of, not just your new furry family member, but of the people who rescue and care for homeless animals. Plus, by being another example of the rewards and virtues of pet adoption, you have helped the animals still awaiting homes by showing those around you how awesome adoption truly is.

Here’s what else you can do:
Send in your story. The organization you adopted from can post online or in a newsletter their happy endings which encourage more people to adopt and also keep everyone motivated in the mission to save animals’ lives.
Volunteer. If you like manual labor, get on over to a shelter, because they want YOU! Cat cages need cleaning, dogs need walking, and all the animals need fresh food and water multiple times a day. You can also write accounts and anecdotes about your favorite animals. The shelter can post them so potential adopters can learn a little more about the individual animals needing homes.
If you have special skills such as writing, marketing, fundraising, design, photography, event planning, etc., inquire about joining a committee that can utilize such skills.

Check out for lists of rescue groups, including pure bred dog and cat rescue groups, rabbit and reptile rescue groups, and bird rescue groups in the area.

See for a COMPLETE list of Halloween pet events in New York City.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sadie, rescued pit bull of Rational Animal Pit Ambassador namesake needs home!

As many of you know, Sadie Blackstar is Rational Animal's pit bull ambassador. Well, there is another Sadie who probably came from a similar background as our little Blackstar. A pit with somewhat distended glands under her belly, Sadie probably had puppies recently and was thrown away. She was rescued from the euthanasia list not the day of but the HOUR of what would have been her death. A couple I am friends with had seen her at the Brooklyn AC&C a few days prior and inquired with me last Saturday night. I was shocked, because I knew she was to be put down the next morning -- less than 12 hours from the time I learned they were interested in her. When I told them that she was to go down, they decided to foster her.

Through United Action for Animals, I was able to put a hold on Sadie; she was spayed Monday morning and I picked her up on Monday evening. Turns out the couple's landlord objected, even though he had said they could have a dog in their apartment not long before.

Thankfully, two roommates that live on the Upper East Side were able to step in for the couple, who are good friends of theirs, and foster Sadie. She is doing well, getting along with other dogs, even was fine around my cats.
Here is Sadie's Petfinder link and bio:

"Sweet Sadie is an American Staffordshire, about 2 years old and approximately 38 pounds. Can you believe someone dumped this adorable girl in a high kill shelter?? To make matter worse Sadie later found herself on the euthanasia list due to shelter over crowdedness. Thankfully she is now safe with her foster parents, but still needs a "furever" home. Sadie is great on a leash and terrific with other dogs (small and large). She is even fine with cats. Sadie is able to remain calm and collective amidst city noises and distractions, so she would be a perfect city/apartment pup. Sadie requires exercise and would be a great running partner for someone. Her sweet nature attracts many a dog lover at the park who also comment on her pretty face and loving eyes To meet Sadie, please contact United Action for Animals at 212-249-9178 or Our adoption fee is $150. Sadie is up-to-date with routine shots and spayed/neutered."

If you are interested in Sadie, contact United Action for Animals. Remember that a dog is a big responsibility and requires monetary resources as well as energy devoted to his/her life. Adoption is not an impulse buy- the process is exactly that -- a process. For the safety of the rescue group, the animals, and the adopters, an application and interview are pretty standard.

Please spread the word about Sadie, and always -- always! -- ADOPT, don't shop.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Exec Director of NYC Animal Care and Control to depart

The Executive Director of NYC Animal Care and Control, Charlene Pedrolie, will not be renewed in October, according to a New York Tails breaking news story.
Some rescuers and volunteers signed a petition, which was started by Laurie Bleier, Director of Brooklyn Animal Foster Network, which called for her firing or resignation. Bleier used to be heavily involved with Animal Care and Control, taking on the "Animals Didn't Do Anything" advertising campaign which used mug shots of dogs and cats at shelters to advocate for adoptions from AC&C. Though it remains unclear why, Bleier and BAFN no longer are a part of the community of rescuers that may pull animals from AC&C. Bleier has been outspoken, but it seems media have had a hard time getting rebuttal from AC&C, by the way this Brooklyn Paper article reads. On the other hand, Bleier has been accused of having a less-than-perfect track record according to other media.
The deal on Charlene is mixed, though, in my experience with rescuers and advocates in the city, she was not liked by many, but she did have a couple fans within AC&C, who I know. At this point, energies should be directed at the odd pairing of government entity and non-profit within one body that is NYC AC&C. Like changing the GM of the Mets, until the house is sorted out inside, doesn't matter who's at the healm.

The problem really lies in the job itself and the way AC&C functions -- which is as both a city-run entity AND a 501(c)(3) non-profit. That means that, although it is a high-kill shelter, the city, the top management, and staff are under pressure to paint a picture of functionality and improvement in order to get the desperately needed donations from the public. One group, Dogs in Danger, tried to post animals at AC&C that were on the euth list, and they succeeded until, the blog says, Pedrolie came aboard and said no, because it was bad for the AC&C image. Luckily the New Hope Program sends alerts out to hundreds of rescuers every day with animal pictures and their bios, in hopes that they can be saved. In addition, people on this email list cross post to outsiders, on social networks such as Facebook, and on Craigslist. It seems that the image issue concerning going public with the pleas for saving soon-to-be-euthanized animals has dissipated. I believe this is a good thing. If more of the public really understood what a crisis level we are at in terms of animal homelessness and euthanasia, they may opt to walk past the pet store and straight up to 110th Street to the Manhattan Animal Care shelter.

The key problem for AC&C is that the system is grotesquely underfunded, and I believe that this government/private non-profit contruct is at the crux. I have met at least one person who will not give money to a kill shelter. I think that is ludicrous. Any municipal shelter that must take in animals brought to it must euthanize -- it is a necessary evil. By neglecting the operations there by either not volunteering or not giving donations, hurts only the animals.

The ASPCA dumped the AC&C on the City in 1993, and the Department of Sanitation was the part of City government that took control. Power was transferred over to the Department of Health, however, as the City deemed it in better taste. DOH has had full control of the Board for AC&C as well as the appointment of Executive Director and other top management. The DOH oversees all, and many activists for shelter animals here in the city have taken issue with that, calling for a specific department for domestic animal and wildlife, apart from the DOH. Given that the animal shelters used to be controlled by Sanitation and moved to Health, this perhaps is a natural progression as the country learns just how critical the fight against overpopulation and neglect and cruelty is today.

At one point, a crew of proactive New Yorkers operated a reform committee called the Shelter Action Reform Committee, whose mission statement is "To improve conditions and accountability in the New York City animal shelter system through education, lobbying, legislative initiatives and legal action." It is uncertain whether or not the SARC is still active in its mission, but those who started it, including former President of United Action for Animals, Gary Kaskel, have moved on.

Stay tuned to New York Tails for more...never a dull moment!