Saturday, December 15, 2012

Eff The Hobbit

At least 27 animals were killed during the filming of The Hobbit.

Can you believe this shit?

Here's a quote from the article...

"...27 of them died because they were housed on a treacherous farm full of “death traps,” including bluffs, sinkholes and jagged fencing. The dead include a miniature pony called Rainbow, hired as a hobbit horse, who crashed off a bank on the farm and broke his back. When the wrangler found him in the morning, he was still alive, and later had to be euthanized..."

Awesome... all in the name of our entertainment! Are you not entertained?!?

I love this quote at the bottom...

"... (Peter) Jackson had adopted three pigs used in the making of the trilogy..."

For what? Bacon?

Harris Bloom

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Is This Why Julie Bank Suddenly Resigned?

(BTW - I hope Helena's family sues the shit out of the city, and Boles)....

The Real Reason Julie Bank Resigned

by Urgent Part 2 - Urgent Death Row Dogs on Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 9:38pm ·

(By Jeff Latzer, co-founder of Adopt NY, in collaboration with Urgent: Pets on Death Row)

Behind every corrupt politician’s sudden resignation to, “spend time with family” is a dark scandal hidden from the public; the same goes for Julie Bank – who was, until yesterday, the Executive Director of Animal Care & Control. Buried behind her official press release is a tale of negligent homicide that also brought the firing of Doug Boles, AC&C Director of Operations. The heartbreaking story is the result of a shelter system that has always found ending lives more convenient than rescue or adoption; killing at AC&C is routine, rife with errors and, until now, never subject to any sort of accountability.

Helena was a charming, mellow pit bull with a black coat and brown eyes who would whimper softly in her cage, waiting for a walk from a volunteer, or a new family to adopt her. She would quietly cuddle with volunteers in Thomas Jefferson Park on 112th Street, but had a tendency to avert her eyes around cameras. Helena also had a family looking for her.

Since Helena was a black pit bull, she was put on the kill list almost immediately after arriving at the Manhattan shelter as a stray. She was put on the at-risk list on September 19th, pulled off of it for unknown reasons, and then put on the kill list again on September 20th. At this point, the family that had been looking for their lost dog located her online, and arrived at the shelter at 9am the following morning to be reunited with Helena.

The family paid the reclaiming fee. A memo was placed in the Chameleon computer system which removed Helena’s EUTH command, rendering her safe. For unknown reasons, the family was told by the front desk staff to come back at 5pm to receive Helena-- even though adoptions typically begin at noon. Seeing no other choice, they left the shelter and returned at 5pm sharp.

Since AC&C kills anywhere from 10 to 30 dogs and cats each day in each shelter, the often unlicensed vet techs can spend about half of their work day putting animals to sleep. At 3:00pm, one such vet tech in Manhattan checked his handwritten list of dogs to kill, and came across A0945637. He typed the number into Chameleon, only to find the system had crashed – a routine occurrence. Sitting in the room connected to the industrial body storage freezer, the vet tech called Doug Boles, Director of Operations for all of AC&C. Despite not having access to the computer system, Boles told the vet tech to end Helena’s life. Once the computer system was restarted, and the vet tech entered a new memo in Helena’s file, appearing right next to her anxiously waiting family’s credit card receipt. “PTS,” it read. Put to Sleep.

At 5pm, Helena’s family returned to the shelter. AC&C staff apologized, then removed Helena’s body from the industrial freezer, providing the family with a last glimpse of their beloved pet. According to a shelter memo, the family was offered a free cremation.

On September 26, six days after Helena’s death and amidst an ongoing lawsuit, Julie Bank offered her resignation; in an email sent to all volunteers, she wrote, “I have family issues that I need to address and I am sure you understand that family always comes first.” Unheard amidst the Department of Health’s flattering press releases documenting her accomplishments was that they also fired Doug Boles on the same day.  Today, two more heads rolled.  A staff member from the Brooklyn New Hope Department and a Brooklyn Shelter Manager.  Who will fall tomorrow?  We don't know, but we'd be happy to put forth a few suggestions!

The killing of Helena follows another gruesome incident of employee neglect inside the Manhattan shelter – this one caught on video camera. A volunteer was very badly bitten as she walked a dog.  Despite her screams the only people to come to her aid were other volunteers.  Two staff members stood by and did nothing while two more staff members ran briefly to the scene only to see what was going on and then left to return to the yard (without rendering any sort of assistance) where they resumed playing with dogs while the volunteer was still being actively attacked. Also troubling is the "security system" which requires codes be punched in to both enter and exit doors.  That several people had difficulty remembering the code to punch in during a crisis delayed help... it is also scary to think about what would happen if someone's life hung on the ability to recall said code in order to EXIT a door under the stress of a life-threatening emergency.

When a shelter system is structured around euthanasia as its sole method of operations, mistakes happen, and at AC&C they happen very often. This is not the first animal AC&C killed by mistake; many other erroneous deaths can be read about here on Urgent. But Helena’s death is particularly indicative of an institution managed by those who do not place any value on the lives of the animals in its care. As long as the Department of Health maintains control of the city shelter system, and the shelter’s Board of Directors is stacked with appointees of the Mayor’s political choosing, the shelters of New York City will never change.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dogs May Deserve Better Than Dogs Deserve Better

In "Didn't see THAT coming!" news, the founder of Dogs Deserve Better, the group that took over michael vick's property in Virginia and turned it into a dog sanctuary, has been charged with animal cruelty.

Allegedly, they used mace and tasers to discipline the dogs held there (though that's a weird charge to make up, who knows, it may be the result of some disgruntled ex-staff looking for revenge).

In addition to the mace and tasering charges, the article states...

"...and dogs are being crated for long periods, up to 19 hours a day. According to the warrant, injured and sick dogs are not getting proper veterinary care..."


That sounds a lot like our not-so-friendly neighborhood animal "shelter," doesn't it?

Why isn't the ASPCA using their legal powers to enforce animal cruelty laws in NYC?

Harris Bloom
Stewie to the Rescue

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ANOTHER Reason Not To Dump Your Pet At The Shelter...

According to this article, babies growing up with animals are healthier than those who don't, as their germs may actually help our immune system.

ANOTHER reason not to dump your pet at the shelter just cause you're having a baby!

Harris Bloom
Stewie to the Rescue

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Royal Dog Boy???

This is obviously a sad story, as it appears that a few of the Queens' dogs attacked one of Princess Beatrix's dogs.

Having said that, there are a few funny takeaways from the article linked to...

1 - An insider described the person walking the dogs as "The Queen's dog boy."

First of all, the "dog boy" is a person, right?  England doesn't have half-human, half-dog things runnin' around, I presume.

Also, is that how the Queen refers to him (it?)... Dog Boy? Why am I picturing the Queen ringing a bell, while summoning him with, "Oh dog boy, come hither!"

2 - The title of the story puts quotes around the word "attack."


Is the editor telling us something here without saying it? Does he (or she) not believe that those bite marks were made by the dogs in question?

3 - To confirm my suspicions, the sub-heading uses the word "allegedly" while referring to the corgis "attack."


Are they saying allegedly as it hasn't been proven in a court of law that it was, in fact, the Corgis? I can't wait for that trial.

Maybe they can't believe it wasn't a pit bull, given England's feelings about pitties.

Or, is The Telegraph telling us they don't think it was the Queen's Corgis? Do they know something here? Maybe they did their own investigation, and though they don't have they think it was something else, or maybe someone else. Or maybe both... that's right...

Dog Boy!

Harris Bloom
Stewie to the Rescue

Friday, August 17, 2012

Next Time, Bring A German Sherpa, Rather Than A German Shepherd

This story, at first moves me to tears, then infuriates me...

Quick synopsis - This guy goes hiking up a 15,000 foot mountain with his German Shepard and another hiker. Due to a storm moving in, and the dog's already poor condition, he left the dog up there when they scaled back down.

Another hiker, along with his wife, found the dog a few days later. The dog was injured and too big (over 100 pounds) for them to get down to safety, so they patched her up as best they could and went down for help.

Eventually, a team of rescuers made it up to the dog, and they saved her! Tears!

Now, for the infuriating part...

The owner, one Anthony Ortolani, wants his dog back.

He's got to be kidding. I understand him leaving the dog up there, but to make no attempt to find her after the storm passed!

Not only wouldn't I give him "his" dog, but I hope he gets cited for animal cruelty (which may be forthcoming)...

Note to Anthony - Next time you scale a mountain, bring a German Sherpa, rather than a German Shepherd.

Harris Bloom
Stewie to the Rescue

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Friend, The Idiot

Knowing that I recently became a vegetarian, when my friend invited me to his barbeque, he felt the need to pull me aside to say, "Don't worry, for you, I am making turkey burgers."

Harris Bloom
Stewie to the Rescue

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Book Covers

Dunno if any other animal, and specifically pit bull, advocates feel this way, but although I preach not to judge dogs by their breed (or looks), I can't help but judge people in my neighborhood, when I see them walking an un-neutered pit bull with a chain, or spiked collar.

I assume they are an asshole.

Harris Bloom

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pet Ownership Down Since 2006

Dunno if you've seen this, but it looks like the economy has definitely affected pet ownership.

Americans own 2MM fewer dogs and over 7MM fewer cats than they did in 2006. Not a shock.

What should be shocking (but isn't) is that people are spending more on vets than ever. Dog owners spent 18.6% more in 2011 than  2006, a huge increase, especially given the lower ownership. Expenses for cats rose 4.2%.

There really needs to be something done. Vet expenses are insane. People don't bat an eye to pay when Dr. XXX says Muffy needs x-rays. MRI's and surgery's when Muffy is hurting, because our pets are our children... but unless these costs get under control (and vets become more human), pet ownership will continue to fall.

Harris Bloom
Stewie to the Rescue

Friday, August 3, 2012

Meet The Rescuers! Part 4, with Donna Darrell of Rebound Hounds!

Welcome to the 4th Edition of my Frost/Nixon-esque interview series, Meet the Rescuers! Today, we're talking to Donna Darrell of Rebound Hounds...

First of all, I can't believe how fast you responded - Do you have some sort of obsessive gene?

I do!

How many years have you been rescuing animals and why did you start?

Since Nov 2010

How many years has Rebound Hounds been around?

Since Nov 2010

So, wait, you didn't know anything about rescue and started a rescue? Like how did you even learn about the whole rescue "business?"

Nope i didn't know anything about rescue. In 2002 i even bought my bulldog from a pet store. when he died in Nov 2009 i was ready to go to another pet store to buy one then found out about puppy mills.
I went on Craigslist late Nov 2009 and looked to foster a dog and began fostering with Loren who is now my rescue partner. She was working with different rescues and we just liked each other. She always wanted to have her own rescue and asked me if I wanted to be part of it. I didn't like the woman Paula who was going in on it, so i declined. In the end, they told Paula that they couldn't work with her. So by Oct - Nov 2010 we started pulling.

I learned whatever i know from Loren.

How many animals has Rebound Hounds saved?

From Oct/Nov 2010 to today 7/25/12 we saved 413 animals from the ACC.

How do you get most of your funding?

100% of our funding comes from private donations.

How do you find homes for your dogs?

We find homes for our dogs via PetFinder, Craigslist, Facebook, Adopt-a-Pet and word of mouth.

How do you decide which animals to pull?

We'll (my rescue partners) talk about the dogs that are out there, but mostly it happens when someone reaches out to us and wants to save that particular animal.

The last person I interviewed, told me that the ACC is getting better (see Susan Cava's interview) - Do you agree, disagree or have no comment?

I really don't know if the ACC is getting better. They aren't funded properly so they cannot be doing better by the animals.

We are getting dogs that have been so sick and it has not been communicated to us.

Actually by pulling these sick dogs (we pulled 6 that had pneumonia in May/June) they didn't tell us therefore burdening the rescues.

So i would then need to disagree. I think they are fine tuning things as far as communication, but don't see an overall improvement.

Do you have goals for your rescue? If so, what are they?

Well we haven't really been discussing goals but we are definitely learning by experience. I mean ultimately, having a "place" where we can keep our dogs instead of boarding would be ideal, but that's not a revenue making opportunity. We would have no way of funding that.

How often, and for how long, do you follow-up with people who have adopted your dogs?

We follow up with many many adopters. They keep us updated with pics on Facebook, emails etc. We just got one today that a foster took 2 cats (to adopt) and a dog to foster in April. She told us that she had to remove the eye of one of the cats because the vet said it needed to come out. They got back the results of the tests they did and they said had they not removed the eye (it was cancerous) it would have metastasized and it could have been a lot worse.

Just last week an adopter of ours stepped up to foster Bubby. We vetted her but she wasn't getting better. So our foster took her to her vet and spend $1200 of her own money and in the end we had to put her down.

She had possible brain damage, fused vertebrae, kidney failure etc. We didn't know anything about her health issues from the shelter.

What do you do when you're not rescuing animals?

Walking dogs, boarding dogs and doing lots administration duties for the rescue.

Whats your favorite TV show?

Actually a lot of the "reality" shows on Bravo (head held in shame).
How would you spend all the free time you'd have if you never got into rescue?

I remember before I was in rescue, I would do lots of soul searching trying to figure out what is it i wanted to do. What were my hobbies.... This is it now.

Name something about you that most people don't know...
I finished high school six months early.
Well, aren't you something! BTW - you have an interesting name - three letters are repeated and both names start with the same letter (I'm guessing you already knew this)

My whole life, I have been told I had a movie stars name. LOL.

I've been told I have an accountant's name.

You do! LOL.


To learn more about Donna's work with Rebound Hounds, go to their website here.

Harris Bloom

This Is My Happy Face...

Got a problem with that?

Harris Bloom

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ed Sayres Is Full Of Shit

My wife just fowarded this Ed Sayres penned piece in the Huffington Post.

Remember when I wrote that Mayor Bloomberg was a piece of shit? Well, his buddy Ed Sayres is full of shit...

Where do I begin? Okay, let's begin at the beginning. Sayres says...

"New York City has the lowest per capita rate of killing homeless dogs and cats by animal shelters, according to the latest findings of cities studied by Animal People, the leading independent newspaper providing original investigative coverage of animal issues worldwide..."

Knowing what I know about the state of NYC's shelter system, this doesn't exactly make me all warm and fuzzy about our system as much as it scares me about what's going on outside of NYC. I mean, seriously, are other cities killing animals that rescuers are on their way to get? Do their Executive Directors (Hi Julie!) blame the rescuers, as Julie Bank did in that article rather than take some responsibility for not having any back-up plan in place? Anyway...

Then, he hits us with these statistics...

"...Data in the July/August 2012 issue of Animal People shows that New York City's shelters now kill 1 dog or cat for every 1,000 people (a 1.0 per capita kill rate), which makes New York the most successful city in the country in saving homeless animals. This is a stunning turnaround for a city that had a 5.5 per capita kill rate in 1995; a 2.6 per capita kill rate in 2005; and a 2.1 per capita kill rate in 2008..."

You can't argue with stats, can ya? Well....

Couple of things ...

I love how Sayres uses 1995 as the base mark for when things were at its worst. That was just after the ASPCA quit running the NYC shelter system, basically because it was hurting their precious money-making image. So, basically, if things were terrible, it was the ASPCA's fault.

Also, Sayres cant be this stupid. He claims that the kill rate is going down per capita from year to year. Gee, I wonder if the fact that the NYC ACC's hours have been cut back, as have their field operations had anything to do that. Does he think it's a coincidence that there has been less intake the last couple of years? In this economy? Please...

Also, the entirety of any reduction in the kill rate can be traced back to the rescue groups (assisted by the Mayor's Alliance and Maddie's Fund). The ASPCA helps to the tune of a total of $1MM a year...that's out of revenues that exceed $100MM a year. I'd love to know how much of that $100MM can be traced out of New York.

Anyway, Sayres trumpets himself and the ASPCA as being some sort of leading advocate of the no-kill movement, and yet, his organization has killed most legislation that no-kill advocates claim would help. For example, see Oreo's Law, which he may've wanted to kill due to the ASPCA being the one's responsible for killing Oreo.

Why is he writing this fluff piece about the NYC rescue scene? I think there are two reasons.

One - Sayres is leaving at the end of this year and he wants his legacy to be as clean as possible (impossible in NY to anyone who knows how little he has helped our shelter system by enabling the status quo). Everyone wants to go out on top... I may disagree with him, but I can't blame him.


Two - He throws in a generous (and well deserved) plug to Maddie's Fund, which helps a heck of a lot more than the ASPCA does. Maddie's Fund recently dropped one of its specified grants benefitting NYC's animals. I can't help but wonder if there is a fear they will pull out entirely, especially given Maddie's CEO Richard Avenzino's tiring of the crap he has to put up with in regards to our dysfunctional system. A lot of people have been clamoring for them to use their muscle for change, but quite frankly, I worry about pushing them too far.

All I can say is, God help us if Maddie's Fund totally pulls out.

Harris Bloom

Monday, June 18, 2012


Our pup Kilo died last Wednesday. My wife, Josie, and I had him euthanized when the vet told us he had an aggressive cancer.   Surgery, while an option, wasn't a great choice, given his condition. He was 12 years old (we had him for his final three years).

We originally saved him from the euthanization list at the New York City Animal Care and Control (NYC ACC) thanks to a Craigslist post by Cristina Pronzati of DakodaLove. As you can see if you read the link, we originally took him as our first foster, but when Cristina found another home for him after a few months, we reneged on our deal, and kept him. Cristina didn't mind at all, and neither did Kilo.

Kilo was, from the moment we got him, insane. While they told us he was nine, I never believed them, (his gray ear hair notwithstanding). He had the energy of a six month old puppy, barely able to sit still, even when trying to ply him to do so with a treat. Walking him was not easy.

We got two different trainers to try to work with him. We knew we were in trouble when, after five minutes, one of the trainers said, "This is a tough dog." To be honest, we never really got him under control - he was a constant whiner (an embarrassment to pit bulls everywhere!) and didn't follow directions very well. I tried to sit next to him and pet him or kiss him but invariably, he would either lick or nibble at me (the licks were fine of course, the nibbling, again, we were never able to cure him of - he was a stubborn guy). In fact, the only time I think I ever was able to kiss his back was at the vet, just after he died (Josie and I were in the room with him). We didn't know his history, but he was generally distrustful of humans, usually preferring to keep his distance (unless you had treats, then he'd sit in front of you until he thought you were out of treats).

The thing is, he was a smart dog - Why do I know that?

Kilo ate his own food immediately, I don't even think he chewed it. He knew he wasn't supposed to eat our other dog's (River) food. How did he know? He didn't do it while we were around and if he started to eat it, one quick admonishment and he'd stop. However, once we left, we had to pick up River's food. Why? Because Kilo would eat it otherwise. How did I know Kilo ate it? Because once in a while, I would trick him, pretending to leave only to open the door, and sure enough, I'd find him hunched over River's food bowl.

He also knew how to tip over the garbage can to eat whatever food scraps it contained, and how to free River from behind the kitchen gate (invariably with a loud crash at 3 am).

Yup, he was smart. A smart asshole, to be exact.

But, of course, we loved him. And Kilo truly wanted to be a good dog. For example, he suffered from leash aggression (well, I suffered from his leash aggression). After me admonishing him for going after other dogs for while, he started to try to run past other dogs, so that he wasn't too tempted.

His tail was always wagging (even in the vet hospital when he had to be in some pain). It was always wonderful going home, seeing him happy to see me. Sure, I wish he didn't jump on me as he normally did, but that was our Kilo.

He always looked at us with his soft brown eyes, trying to convey some sort of understanding, some kind of mischief.

On some mornings, he would jump after River, looking like a giant bunny, and would chase her (including jumping on our bed).  Those were the happiest moments in our household - all of us watching and laughing at his playfulness.  

We never really knew how happy he was, as we always thought his whining was a form of anxiety. We hope that he was.  His faults made him who he was - our good boy.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Meet The Rescuers! Part 3, with Rescuzilla's Susan Cava!

Welcome to our third edition of our award-wnning (ok, not really) smash hit series, Meet The Rescuers, where I talk to some of NYC's (and beyond!) movers and shakers in the animal rescue world (Who cares about the other world?). To see other interviews, click here. Today's Q and A is with Susan Cava , who runs the awesomely monikored Rescuzilla!

Hey Susan...How many years have you been rescuing animals and why did you start?

Well, you don't walk into New York's Animal Care and Control and walk out without a desire to help the animals there.  I adopted my dog Juno, who has since passed, in 1996 and started volunteering with Pet-I-Care and the ACC shortly after.  With experience and passion some years later, it was a natural evolution into Rescuzilla.  

How many years has Rescuzilla been around?

Rescuzilla has been around for three years...but the current version of it with Katherine Good, Carolina Leon-Duarte and Lesli VanSchaick is around just over a year.  I was ready to hang Rescuzilla's little hat when these three amazing friends and ladies said they were ready to be partners in the rescue.  We have been able to save far more animals together and stay slightly sane while doing it.

What do you do when you're not rescuing animals?

Nothing.  I kid, I kid.  I just moved out to the beach and am really enjoying biking, running, soon surfing and hanging with friends and family.

Whats your favorite TV show?

Hmmm...I am loving Archer and Mad Men right now.  And I hold my head in shame while admitting I am hooked on Celebrity Apprentice...probably because I want to go on the show, do it better and win money for our rescue!  But oops, I'm not a celebrity! haha.

Who were you rooting for on Celebrity Apprentice this year? I can't stand the show (I hate most of the "celebs" as well as Trump and his brood) but my wife watches it, therefore, I watch it. Even though I'm a comic, I thought Lisa Lampanelli came off really poorly, and I thought that Miss World (or whatever) handled herself very well.

Yeah, Lisa came off like a weirdo but that's ok - better to have some passion than none! =)

Weirdo? More like an asshole, but, more importantly, something I've always been interested in - How do you decide which animals to pull?

The core of Rescuzilla - myself, Katherine and Carolina - are hands on volunteers at the ACC.  We get to know the animals there and find animals that would match up with our fosters.  Sometimes people need a low-energy dog or a cat-friendly pooch - we get to know the animals first hand and figure out what works...then you meet one that matches up to no one and grabs your heart and all logic goes out the window!  But generally speaking we try to focus on dogs that match up to our resources - vetting and age are not major factors - but behavior is the big one. 

Are you vegan?

Yes, I am vegan and don't understand the disconnect most rescuers have between saving some animals and eating others.  There is little difference between a pig and a dog, they have the same capacity to feel and to learn. Running an animal rescue while eating animals seems like a convenient type of morality.  I'm just saying!

I'll take a stab at that ...

1 - We don't see pigs every day - its tougher to get that emotional attachment when we never see them, and when we do, they aren't wagging their tails or rubbing up against us
2 - It's how most of us grew up - Sposedly, Obama ate dog as a child, and you know what, I don't hold that against him - That was his culture...our culture is eating meat, though not dog

3 - We all get into animal rescue for our own reasons, but some are very specific, like I got into it partially to overcome guilt I felt about my own dog being killed - It actually had nothing to do with animals in general... of course, the more I got into it, the more of a "lunatic" I am becoming....

I haven't eaten meat or chicken for a month and don't plan on going back to it, but I don't condemn those that do -

Well...I'm not sure how we grew up dictates who we are and yeah, I don't see pigs each day but when animal flesh is in front of me it is still a dead animal. I don't see the difference at all with eating dogs or eating cows - they are all living, feeling, helpless animals in hellish conditions prior to slaughter. 

Assuming current management stays the same and the budget does not increase, whats one change you would make if you were in a position of power at the ACC?

Well my dear Harris, let's deal with reality instead and note that there are way more volunteers and a lot more organization at the ACC nowadays.  The ACC still needs a bazillion changes (specifically the actual shelter itself [bigger cages in the overflow area being numero uno in my book]) but as long as the Board of Health is there to veto anything that requires logic or money, I'd like to see more people at the ACC volunteering. 

It's a basic orientation, some training online and a few hours being trained in the shelter - it's really not that complicated.  So people can donate as little as two hours of time each month to walk dogs or people can sew beds at home and drop them off - there is just so much that people can do!  Rather than daydream about the changes we'd like to see if we were in charge of the ACC, how about we simply do those changes as volunteers?  Rescuzilla is part of the force that is there doing it - let's see more people be part of it!

Wait... There's more organization now? In what way? 

There are more volunteers? Then why are some dogs still going days without getting outside (

There are far more volunteers there - easily, hands down, the Level 1's are always in and out and now Level 2's are growing. Little things like Lindsay, the vol coordinator, sending out pleas for vols or making sure the bins are stocked with walking logs or treats are stocked at all times. There are now shelves for the clean dishes - places for the dirty bowls. All the cats always have toys. The dogs often have kongs. Small diffs that those who hung on prior to Julie cannot deny. The place still needs oodles of work but for those who are physically in the shelter, there is certainly improvement.

I'm not in the trenches so I can't argue, but I think some would (comment if you disagree). How would you spend all the free time you'd have if you never got into rescue? 

Open a vegan baked goods line.  If people come to our fundraising events, I try to always have my killer cookies there!

Where are you originally from?

Yorktown Heights, NY.

Name something about you that most people don't know...

Before I volunteer at the shelter, I blast Alice in Chains in my headphones so I can get charged up to deal with all the lonely animals I am about to encounter...many of whom will die the next day.  It breaks your heart every single time...but this world of animal rescue we are in, it is not for the meek of heart.

I agree. Thanks for your time!

If you want to learn more about Rescuzilla, visit their website at

Susan Cava with Babe, her favorite foster pittie of all-time.

Harris Bloom
Stewie to the Rescue

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Article on Our Founder/President!!


Or read here....

Queens Native turns Personal Tragedy into Campaign for Animal Welfare
By Michael Mullins
Published May 10, 2012
In July of 2010, Queens native Harris Bloom, 44, launched Stewie to the Rescue, a nonprofit dedicated to helping local animals in need while honoring the memory of his beloved dog Stewie, who was tragically killed by a car in November of 2008.

According to Bloom, two of the nonprofit’s primary goals are to make sure that no pet is ever relinquished to a NYC kill shelter due to the expense of their medical care, and that no rescue group is ever prevented from saving an animal’s life because of a lack of funds when a foster family or adoptive family is available.

ClrBx2Stewie to the Rescue's logo.
Bloom’s commitment to animal welfare is best illustrated in his willingness to not only fundraise for his own charity, but other charities as well, particularly area rescue groups. In the past two years, Bloom, an accountant by day who is also a writer and stand-up comic, has held approximately 50 comedy benefits for local animal welfare organizations, convincing fellow comedians to join him on stage and donate their time and talent to help animals in need.

Harris Bloom the Advocate

For many in NYC’s animal community, Bloom is best known, however, for his witty, no-nonsense approach when addressing Animal Care and Control’s Board of Directors at its annual meeting.

In the world of animal welfare and animal rights, few would argue that women are the dominant force behind most initiatives and most progress. The gender gap is perhaps nowhere more apparent in NYC than at ACC’s Board of Director (BOD) meetings, where every year, animal loving residents, overwhelmingly women, gather to have their questions unanswered and concerns seemingly ignored by an all male board which oversees the Northeast’s largest animal shelter system.

Despite this, Bloom, meeting after meeting, tends to arguably draw the loudest applause and most supportive cheers from the predominantly female public when speaking to the BOD. Video excerpts from Bloom’s address have gone viral on You Tube, courtesy of The Shelter Reform Action Committee. (Click here for video clip).

In an interview with The Companion, Bloom explained his opposition to ACC and why he’s fighting for reform.

“The main problem [with ACC] is the structure. [It] is "managed" by the Department of Health (DOH). Under this system, the budget will never be sufficient as there's no way that Bloomberg, or any non-animal friendly mayor, will allocate any more than the bare minimum that he can get away with toward animals instead of humans. Because of this conflict of interest, the BOD will only appoint executive directors who will not "rock the boat" as they don't want the mayor (or themselves) embarrassed by how this city treats its homeless animals.”

Bloom continued, “Other problems include the lack of shelters in Queens and The Bronx, two boroughs who both have populations higher than all but about twenty cities in the U.S., and the need for marketing – most New Yorkers don't even know that the ACC exists, or that you can foster an animal to make sure it's a good match…

“NYC should end its ownership of the ACC. They should give whatever budget they do now to an outside party to run it, with inflationary increases. I guarantee they can find someone willing to take on this task, as I would bet an outside non-profit would also do a much better job at fundraising. They certainly couldn't do a worse job when it comes to alienating the rescue community... An ideal system would be somewhat akin to the success we've seen with the Central Park Conservancy and their upkeep, maintenance, and beautifying of one of the city's most famous landmarks.”

Contracted out by the DOH to manage NYC’s animal control services, ACC is technically an independent nonprofit; however, in the eyes of many in NYC’s animal welfare community, the two organizations are viewed as one, and for good reason.

ACC’s entire seven-member BOD is appointed by the city and headed-up by DOH Commissioner Thomas Farley. Also, ACC receives the lion’s share of its funding directly from the DOH. In 2011, ACC’s total operating budget was approximately $9.2 million, of which $7.1 million, or 77 percent, was provided by the DOH. As a result of ACC’s symbiotic relationship with the DOH, few in NYC’s animal community can determine where one organization begins and the other ends.

The Origins of Stewie to the Rescue

On November 26, 2008, while playing a game of catch in Riverside Park during the park’s off-leash hours, something apparently “spooked” Stewie, causing the pup to run away from Bloom and out of the park. Bloom raced after his best friend, but was unable to catch him. Stewie was just over four-years-old at the time of his death.

The following June, Bloom, via a Craigslist ad, fostered and eventually adopted a Pit Bull named Kilo, a former ACC shelter dog who had been pulled by DakodaLove Rescue. Following a visit to ACC’s Manhattan Shelter, Bloom decided to take an active role in helping NYC animals in need. Initially, Bloom raised funds for DakodaLovethrough his comedy acts, which led to his joining the rescue group’s board and eventually helping it become a corporation. In time, however, Bloom wanted to go in a different direction and following his wife Josie’s suggestion, began his own nonprofit. The rest is history.

Since adopting Kilo and launching Stewie to the Rescue, the Bloom family has grown to include a baby girl named Zadie, the couple’s first child, and a Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel –Poodle) named River. Bloom found River in September of 2010 abandoned in a carrier on 101st Street and Riverside Drive, just two blocks from where Stewie was hit by the car.

To learn more about Stewie to the Rescue and purchase tickets for Bloom’s upcoming animal welfare comedy benefits visit Upcoming comedy benefits include a May 21 show at Gotham Comedy Club in lower Manhattan to benefitStewie to the Rescue and The Toby Project, as well as June 6 show, also at Gotham, and
a June 9th show the Elks Lodge in Boonton, New Jersey.BlkBx

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Meet The Rescuers! Part Two, w/Lori Carpino of Heavenly Angels!

Welcome to our second edition of our smash hit series, Meet The Rescuers, where I talk to some of NYC's (and beyond!) movers and shakers in the animal rescue world (Who cares about the other world?). Today's Q and A is with Lori Carpino, who runs Heavenly Angels Animal Rescue!

How many years have you been rescuing animals and why did you start?

Its been about 6 yrs I've been doing rescue, I started out as a volunteer at ACQ , then became manager.

I've always loved animals, a lot more then I've ever liked people. I've been through a lot in my life and almost lost it twice. I believe strongly in second chances , rescuing to me is like breathing, I have a very strong connection with animals and have been able to rehab dogs that looked like they would never be able to find homes. In the 6 yrs I've been rescuing I've placed about 2000 dogs/cats in homes. 

Dunno if you wanna answer but what happened at ACQ and why did you move it to Heavenly Angels?

I took over ACQ because my previous boss got tired and I had not been working full time the year prior to me taking it on. It became too much for him and I needed to just do my own thing.

How many employees do you have? Volunteers? Do you also have fosters?

We have 2 employees, about 10 full time volunteers and about 20 more volunteers that help when they can, as well as fosters. In addition, we have many high school students who do internships with us as well. 

Cats and dogs? Anything else?

We have guinea pigs and an occasional rabbit as well as dogs/cats.

How many pets do you have? What kind?

I have 11 of my own dogs. 2 pitbulls, 6 chihuahuas, a dachshund , a shih tzu, and a JRT/Doxie mix.

How do you choose which animals to pull?

So many people ask me how I choose, really I don't know, I guess depends on the space we have first. I'll take any little dog , old or young, mean or nice. I love Pits and Chihuahuas , which is mostly what we have at our place.

What do you do when you're not rescuing animals?

Running an actual facility is full time for me , I work 7 days a week . There really is never a time I'm not rescuing LOL.

What's your favorite TV show?

I hardly ever watch TV.

Favorite books?

Desperation by Stephen King.

Favorite movies?

I am a horror movie lover, prefer zombies over vampires.

Fast moving zombies or slow... And most importantly, do you consider 28 Days Later (and it's sequel) a zombie movie or not?

Yes I would consider both zombie movies. Either speed is ok , but fast movers give me chills, they're super skin crawling scary.

How would you spend all the free time you'd have if you never got into rescue?

I honestly don't know what I would do if I wasn't rescuing, probably catch up on sleep. :) 

Where are you originally from?

I was raised in Tribeca NY, but now live in Brooklyn.

Tell us something about you that most people don't know...

Most people don't know that I majored in Forensic Psychology and have an affinity for Serial Killers and their behaviors. 

Do you have favorite serial killers?

Charles Manson and Richard "The Night Stalker" Ramirez.

I love that you bothered to write his nickname're obviously a big fan. And I'm now officially a little scared of you. Thanks for your time!

You can LIKE Heavenly Angels on Facebook by clicking HERE

You can check out their website HERE.

Harris Bloom

Monday, April 30, 2012

Meet The Rescuers!

Welcome to our brand spankin' new series -  Meet The Rescuers! 

I'm gonna have interviews with people involved with the various animal rescues located in NYC, and beyond! Why? I think it's a good way to find out what makes these people tick, and I think it'll be fun. How long will I be doing this? As long as I'm in the mood! Can your rescue be part of it? Damn, you ask a lot of questions! But sure, just write me at Thanks!

Our first Q & A is with Jennifer Brooks, who runs Second Chance Rescue out of Queens, NY...

How many years have you been rescuing animals and why did you start?

I have been rescuing animals since I am 18. It started with kittens on the streets. I have always had a passion for animals. When i was 5 years old, while most kids are playing house, I used to play "animal shelter"- this is why I think I was destined to be a rescuer. I started pulling from ACC after adopting my 2nd personal dog, in 2006. I adopted her from a small rescue, and it was explained that she came from a place called "NYCACC"- I had never heard of such a place. I went on a visit to NYCACC with the rescuer who I adopted her from. I will never forget that day- it changed my life. The rescuer explained to me as she pointed to cages, that all these animals will be killed tomorrow, I cried, and vowed to do something more to help the animals in ACC.

How many years has Second Chance Rescue been around?

Second Chance Rescue was established in 2009. Before I started my own rescue, I worked closely under some of the other rescues who have been around a long time. this is how I learned what i know now, they taught me the ropes. Once I felt confident, I said I want my own thing now, its time, and SCR was born.

What do you do when you're not rescuing animals?

When I am not rescuing, I am working as a full time teacher at a JHS in Queens teaching 7-8th grade US History. I also take care of my own personal 5 pit-bulls, who are my babies. Then I eat, sleep, catch a tv show here and there, hang out with my fiance, who has a ton of patience for putting up with my insane life.

Whats your favorite TV show?

Real House Wives or anything on Bravo.

Real Housewives? Really?

Lol.  Yes, I love that show. Also I like Pit Bulls and Paroles too..

Okay, you redeemed yourself with Pit Bulls and Parolees (slightly). How would you spend all the free time you'd have if you never got into rescue?

I have no idea what I would do with so much time.

How many hours a week do you think you devote to rescue?

Hmmm... this is hard to say- lets see I would say 5 hours a day during week (5x5)=25, and one full day on weekend, plus a few hours on the other weekend day ( between computer, transporting animals, doing adoption events, going to the vet, doing adoptions, and home visits, talking dogs on the phone)  I would estimate 35-40 hours, wow that is a second full time job!!

How do you decide which dogs to pull out of the shelter? Do you look at the euth list?

Yes, sometimes euth list, sometimes it is pleas that New Hope sends to me, sometimes it is what volunteers say about a dog, or just a picture that gets to me. 

How many fosters and volunteers work with you at Second Chance?

Hmmm, we have about 6-7 fosters  and about 5 solid volunteers. We can always use more help and volunteers, and we can really use some more foster homes.

How many dogs is your org currently responsible for?

Right now we have 22 dogs, both in foster and boarding. We really need to get our numbers down so we can help more dogs, we are very full at the moment.

How many dogs do you personally have? Do you also have fosters?
I have 5 personal dogs. All of them are MINE. Two of them were failed fosters. Unfortunately due to the number of Pit bulls we have in the house (3 girls, 2 boys) I can't foster anymore. If I could do it over again, I would not have kept so many dogs, so I always had room for 1 or 2 fosters- advice to newbies, dont keep your foster dogs!! My first dog I rescued from North Shore when I was 23, his name is Tyson ( he is half a pit) My other 4 dogs are all former Brooklyn ACC dogs ( Jake, Bubbles, Lexus, and Lacy-Mae) all pitties.

How does your fiancĂ© feel about all of this? 

 Humm, well, it is a constant struggle. He puts up with it. He loves our dogs, but he just doesn't understand the amount of time that I need to dedicate to rescue. He is supportive at times, and other times, not so much. It takes a lot of time away from our relationship. However, he has learned to deal with it.
What if he gave you an ultimatum... It's me or the dogs?

You mean him or our dogs? or rescue?
Either way, dogs win.

Tell us something about you that most people don't know...

I am a great skier and figure skater.

Awesome! Thanks for your time!

You can reach Second Chance Rescue by emailing them at

You can "friend" Second Chance Rescue on Facebook here.

You can also support Second Chance Rescue at our joint comedy fundraiser at Gotham Comedy Club on May 2nd - DETAILS HERE...

Harris Bloom

Friday, April 27, 2012

Problems With the Pledging System

A few days ago, I discussed how Facebook helps save animals' stuck at the NYC Animal Care and Control (NYC ACC). One of the methods was "pledging," (i.e. promising to pay any rescue that takes an animal out of there, theoretically, to help with vetting, training, shelter, and food until they can find a permanent home). It has become decent source of donations for the various rescues that pull dogs out of the NYC ACC. But, as I have become more involved with the process by pledging on behalf of Stewie to the Rescue, I have become aware of some problems...

1 - Not everyone lives up to their pledge

From what I've heard, about 70 to 80% of the pledges do get collected, though sometimes it takes several emails, reminding people to keep their word. I understand that reading about these animals, one wants to do anything they can do to help, but try not to get carried away, making a pledge when you know you aren't going to live up to it. All you are doing is making rescue groups more unsure about whether the listed pledges are "good," which will make them less likely to pull questionable cases (like ones with medical needs) in the future.

2 - Rescues take pledges but still force adopters to pay for medical expenses, etc...

I recently received an email from someone who requested a rescue pull a dog for her, a dog that had several hundred in pledges. The adopter ended up with several hundred in medical expenses for the dog (She ended up having to put the dog to sleep.) which the rescue did not offer to help with.

Though rescues may disagree (write me in the comments if you do), but when people pledge for an animal, they want that money to first, pay for any and all expenses that make that animal suitable to live in their forever home. Any extra money can go into that rescue's general fund. Rescues have an obligation to pay for any and all medical expenses associated with that animal regarding preexisting conditions.

This may sound harsh, but to me, doing otherwise amounts to stealing.

3 - Rescues take pledges and then ship the animal to another rescue

This recently happened to me (i.e. Stewie) - We pledged money for a dog at the NYC ACC and got an email from a woman who runs an out-of-state rescue, thanking me for helping with the dog. I was shocked to not only hear that the dog was being shipped to another rescue (out-of-state, no less!), but, upon asking, they were not being forwarded our pledge money**

Again, when we pledge, it is for that specific animal. Why should the rescue that pulls the dog keep all the pledges if all they are doing is shipping the animal to another rescue?

** After putting up a stick, they sent over my pledge money (I am SURE they sent the rest too...sarcasm)

4 - Here's another possible issue that I hope isn't a problem but I can see it being a problem if pledge money continues to increase thanks to Urgent's growing popularity...

I am going to blog about this specific case shortly, but I recently, I had reason to pledge $700 for a dog - for those of you not familiar with the process, that's a lot coming from one person (I had people behind me), especially for a dog with no medical or social issues.

I do not know if the group that pulled him did so due to the decent amount of money awaiting them for doing so, but, they did so without having a foster first. Most rescues (correct me if I'm wrong) won't pull an animal unless they know where he or she is going first. There is a very good reason for that.

Dogs that have nowhere to go end up being boarded at a kennel. It is much harder to find a foster for a dog that is already in a kennel as people consider that dog to already be "saved" so it doesn't tug at people's heartstrings as much. I have been told this by several rescue's, one of which has dogs in a kennel for over two years.

I'm not going to get into whether a life in boarding is a life worth living, but we can agree it's not a great life, and many dogs deteriorate in kennels, making making tougher to adopt out, increasing their chances of remaining in a kennel for the rest of their lives.

I don't really have an answer for this, as the pledge money may prove too great for rescues to ignore. My plea would be for people to share and try to find homes for animals that are being boarded with the same ferocity as those that are on the "To Be Destroyed" lists. One can argue, their situation is just as dire.

Harris Bloom