Look up above the intersection of 11th Avenue and W51st Street in Hell’s Kitchen and you’ll spot a familiar face and his canine buddy smiling down from the billboard. Ron Perlman, best known for roles in Hellboy and Sons of Anarchy, and his beloved rescue dog, Harrington, want to share an important message — “Don’t Buy Dogs.”
The plea, located just around the corner from the De Witt Clinton Dog Run, follows recent reports that the city’s animal shelters are overwhelmed with homeless animals — with some having no room to take in pets brought to them.
Almost 3 million pets are euthanized in shelters every year — about 80 percent of them healthy and ready for a new home — and the “adopt, don’t shop” message has never been more vital, say animal non profits including PETA, who sponsored the billboard.
“Serotonin just courses through me when I’m cuddling with my dogs because it’s pure love,” Perlman says in a video for the campaign. “The level of gratitude and heartwarmingness that has been infused into my life is irreplaceable. And so, don’t buy dogs. There’s no reason to. Adopt. Don’t shop.”
“New York City’s homeless animals are facing a crisis mirrored nationwide: shelter animals are simply not being adopted fast enough,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO, and Risa Weinstock, Animal Care Centers of NYC President & CEO in a joint statement released at the end of October. “An alarming gap still exists between the number of sheltered animals awaiting new homes and the number of prospective adopters.”
The ASPCA Adoption Center is running at capacity, while ACC shelters are currently 65% over their ideal capacity for dogs and 15% over their ideal capacity for cats. These challenges coincide with a 77% increase in dog population and 30% increase in cat population at ACC compared to last year.