Animal League expands to better serve felines
North Shore Animal League America has been Long Island’s hub for animal rescue and adoption since 1944, but space limitations are always a concern for the organization. Luckily, the facility has found its solution—Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center.
Spearheaded by radio personality Howard Stern and his wife Beth, this state-of-the-art expansion project in Port Washington will provide North Shore Animal League America with a 14,000-square-foot second floor. This space will allow the facility to rescue and nurture more animals in need.
The new adoption center is named after Howard and Beth’s beloved Bulldog who passed away in 2012, and who Beth refers to as “their first child.”
After four years of dedication, fundraising and a concerted effort with architects and engineers, Bianca’s Furry Friends broke ground on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Beth Stern was one of the many dignitaries who attended and spoke at the event.
“Everyone knows the North Shore Animal League is the center, it’s the campus for where it all happens,” Stern said. “Everybody is supporting it and has been on board from the beginning of this journey.”
Stern is a long-time animal rights activist, working with North Shore Animal League America for more than 10 years, as well as fostering more than 500 cats with her husband over the course of that time.
The new facility is feline-focused and will provide these cats and kittens with a nurturing cage-free environment.
“I think when people come here and visit and see the cats and how happy they are in a cage-free environment they’re going to show well,” Stern said.
Seeing these animals in a healthy environment is crucial for getting them into their forever homes.
President of North Shore Animal League America, John Stevenson, knows how essential this expansion is, especially because it’s feline-focused.
“My goal is to put the cat part on the map. People always think of cats as independent and that they don’t need you, but they need us as much as dogs do,” Stevenson said. “We’re trying to make this an environment where they do well and when they get adopted, there’s not a real transition period; they’ll fit right into their new home.”
North Shore Animal League America’s vice president and chief of veterinary staff, Dr. Mark Verdino, shares this similar sentiment that cats are often overlooked.
“I think everyone for years has thought of shelter adoption when it comes to dogs. What a lot of people don’t understand, especially in Long Island and in this area, is that a lot of municipal shelters don’t even take in cats,” Verdino said.
North Shore Animal League America has always taken in cats and provided them with a healthy, safe place to live while working tirelessly to get each one adopted. Long Island, particularly, is an optimal location to garner such a facility.
“There’s demand here. We bring animals from areas of the country that traditionally don’t have demand for adoption but a high supply of animals,” Verdino said. “Unfortunately that means sometimes they’re slated for euthanasia because they just don’t have the resources or space to deal with that influx of animals. We bring animals into this area where there is a higher demand than the supply.”
The expansion will also feature exam rooms, a feline behavior department and grooming facilities, all to help give these animals the best care and living space possible.
“People will be able to see the cats in a natural environment with sunlight and perches. Everyone’s going to be happier and go home with an animal that’s happy and healthy,” Stern said.