The still-stagnant economy
is hurting dogs and cats as well
as humans in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Animal Foster Network (BAFN) is suffering the double whammy of decreased donations and increased need, as more people give up pets they can no longer afford to keep.
The long-standing BAFN with a network of more than 900 foster homes in Brooklyn has had to scale back their work and is still struggling to stay afloat, their operators say.
BAFN, a nonprofit outfit that has rescued more than 2,500 abandoned and stray dogs and cats since 2005, has reduced the number of animals it takes in because it can't afford to maintain them. Its budget has dropped by about 70% since the recession.
“Donations have dropped so sharply this year and, if they don't pick up, the agency, will shut down, said Fran Grimaldi, development manager. "And Kitten Season is right around the corner" she sighed.
BAFN launched an emergency campaign to raise about half its annual expenses this month.
The next 30 days are "critical” to the lives of countless kittens this spring and center.
The network charges adoption fees, but the cost of maintaining the animals exceeds the fees fivefold, and the agency is dependent on fundraisers, grants and donations.
If the network closes, many of those animals "won't have that second chance," Kathy Kalachi, foster manager said.
Like many such operations, the rescue group is run entirely by volunteers who transport dogs and screen prospective adopters. It has no office or bricks-and-mortar facility — and conducts most of its home-placement work online. But expenses are still steep, including veterinarian fees that can range from $450 to $600 per dog, or more for those dogs that need special veterinary care.
"The growing expenses," Bleier wrote in a group plea mail last month, "have literally wiped out all of our funds."
"It is with a heavy heart, many tears and great desperation that I write ... BAFN is weeks, if not days, away from closing its doors," she wrote. "We are no longer able to take dogs or cats into rescue and are praying that we can even cover the vet bills for the dogs we currently have in rescue."
Since that plea, some donations have come in, Bleier said. But the situation remains extremely touch-and-go. "We're taking the next 30 days to sit back and figure out what we need to do." Bleier said.
“I don't know many people who can work so diligently at an endeavor that can be so heartbreaking at times" says Julie of Park Slope. "but Laurie and BAFN can, and she makes a difference every day.” she continued.
The Brooklyn Animal Foster Network is committed to the following community services:
Our 900+ strong family and individual foster home system provides safe haven for abandoned, abused, or unwanted companion animals.
All animals in our care are spayed or neutered and receive all life saving or necessary medical attention. When these foster animals are emotionally and physically healed, we search for the correct human companion for each, ensuring a loving, permanent home.
Our referral service helps owners keep their pets, find new homes for their pets or helps reunite them with lost pets.
We exchange information and work with other humane organizations to help locate lost pets and rescue abandoned and abused animals.
Above: Poster created by BAFN is available free online.
Please hang and post one in your school or workplace.
Click here to download.
Your donations are 100% tax deductible.