The urban jungle: From alligators to guinea pigs, NYC animal lovers seek action to stop pet dumping

The urban jungle: From alligators to guinea pigs, NYC animal lovers seek action to stop pet dumping

Though lots of New Yorkers were shocked to go through of an alligator dumped in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, several recognize just how several domestic pets — extra lately guinea pigs — are cast apart across the city’s greenspaces each individual calendar year.

That’s in which Mary Beth Purdy Artz and Caroline Lee come in they’ve both of those used decades walking all around New York City’s most famed parks — Central Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadows — rescuing abandoned pets and domesticated animals that they say are left there immediately after thoughtless, impulse buys.

But they and other animal fans want the city to do additional to avoid popular pet dumping—particularly when it comes to guinea pigs. A group of 50 companies and advocates, identified jointly as the Lights Out Coalition, are now pushing Speaker Adrienne Adams to aid a city bill launched by Councilmember Diana Ayala very last February to ban guinea pig income in pet outlets. The city’s Committee on Health held a hearing on the invoice this past December.

“While it under no circumstances would take place to me to get a guinea pig as a consolation animal through the pandemic, a whole lot of men and women did,” explained Ayala at the listening to. “We listened to quite a few tales that people would get the guinea pigs and throw them about the gates for the reason that they could no for a longer time care for them.”

Animal Treatment Centers of NYC documented 769 guinea pigs relinquished to them from January to November previous yr, which is doubled from pre-pandemic ranges, in accordance to a Lights Out Coalition letter despatched to Speaker Adams on Feb. 28. These figures also clearly show rescued guinea pigs, said Kathy Nizzari, Founder and Chair of the Lights Out Coalition. 

The coalition, which features Sierra Club, The Wild Hen Fund, NYCLASS, and Cornell Lab, reported locating abandoned guinea pigs in metropolis parks, public sites as perfectly as together with curbside trash. Around 2,000 guinea pigs have been abandoned in the previous 5 a long time and three were found very last 7 days in Prospect Park, in accordance to the coalition. 

Mentioned Artz: “They’re so uncomplicated to invest in in pet outlets. Folks become overwhelmed with a good deal of these animals and they just set it in the park. It seems like it could stay amongst rats and it’s not legitimate because they’re domestic and they count on individuals for survival. They have no instincts to endure out there on their individual.”

The bill to ban guinea pig sales follows current legislative attempts, such as banning pet dogs, cats, and rabbits from being sold in retail outlets throughout New York point out. One particular bill sponsored by Astoria lawmaker Michael Gianaris to ban the retail sale of canine, cats, and rabbits to crack down on pup mills was signed by Governor Hochul very last December. Starting off in 2024, New York will join 5 other states — California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, and Washington — to ban retail pet sales.

Left guiding way too normally

Guinea pigs, ducks, rabbits, and a rooster rescued from town parks by New Yorkers.Photos by Jeffrey Jones, Mary Beth Purdy Artz, and Marty Bast. Compiled by Sarah Belle Lin.

For many years, there have been ducks, rabbits, chickens, and guinea pigs left guiding in the city’s parks, which are witnessed by wildlife rescuers as dumping grounds for undesirable animals.

“Once you begin searching, you begin looking at a whole lot far more is out there than you ever understood,” said Lee, who has been rescuing animals, typically domesticated ducks, for 25 many years.

Lee stated she has rescued additional than 5,000 domestic ducks all-around the Northeast area, focusing on New York Metropolis, upstate New York, and Extended Island. She’s also rescued chickens and guinea pigs. The alligator discovered lurking at Prospect Park was a astonishing find, but to those who have very long roamed town parks in search of abandoned animals and pets, the alligator was just a much larger reminder of an situation that has not long ago developed even worse.

Whilst most animals in New York Town parks are most likely wild, Lee and Artz mentioned there are approaches to inform domestic animals from wild kinds. Coloration, for illustration, is a person feature that could reveal they are domestic. 

“They appear various,” Lee reported. “Typically, it is the shade. A big white bunny, a major white duck, dazzling white and tan guinea pig.”

 If you see an animal, she reported, that appears to be like starkly different from the city’s omnipresent urban wildlife — these kinds of as rats, cockroaches, and pigeons — get in touch with 311 and report the animal. 

“If you see a park worker in the park, halt them, allow them know,” Artz reported. “Especially with puppies, rabbits, and even guinea pigs scampering all-around the wooded parts. Folks might not just take see and imagine it is nearly anything out of the regular.”

Nizzari reported a guinea pig can reside up to eight a long time and that men and women require to know that ahead of they receive them. Also, she said, they cost about $1,500 in one-time prices for spaying or neutering (as effectively as initial provides), and up to $2,000 in once-a-year expenditures in treatment.

She explained that if individuals just cannot satisfy these duties, then it’s ideal that they do not get a guinea pig. 

Stated Nizzari: “If persons took the time to imagine these things via, probably we would not see as quite a few animals dumped or abandoned.”

Lee reported the metropolis could do properly in employing a pet shop czar equivalent to the rat czar, which gained focus for its tongue-in-cheek career posting, peruse pet merchants for illegal pet revenue.