Love animals? Interested in learning more about what we do? Want to help end animal homelessness in NYC? You’re in the right place! Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) invites compassionate New Yorkers of all ages to get involved. We’re happy to give group tours of our care centers as well as visit classrooms, and we welcome student projects that support animals in need. Volunteers who work hands-on with dogs, cats and rabbits have to be at least 18, but there are lots of ways kids and teens can make a difference for animals at ACC and in the larger community.
If you’re interested in arranging a class visit to an ACC location or having an ACC representative speak at your school or organization, please fill out this form and we’ll get in touch soon!
Ways to Help
We strive to keep our cats, dogs and rabbits as comfortable as possible while they’re at the care center—a strange environment, to be sure, compared with a permanent home—and toys can go a long way toward relieving their understandable stress, as well as keeping them entertained. And who doesn’t appreciate a soft, cozy spot to cuddle up on?
The more comfortable animals are at ACC, the better chance they have of being adopted. Our own Behavior & Enrichment staff members regularly make toys for our animals, and they can always use your help!
Below are some suggestions for items that you can make. Drop them off at any ACC location and shelter animals and humans alike will be grateful!
- Catnip Dumplings
Have some old shirts lying around? Re-purpose them into catnip-scented toys! Learn how to make catnip dumplings >>
- Blossom Buds
Add some pizazz to cat kennels with these felt flowers on pipe cleaner stems. Learn how to make blossom buds >>
- Felt Pillows
Many cats can’t resist the sweet smell of catnip. They’ll love these! Learn how to make felt pillows for cats >>
- Pipe Cleaner Feather Toys
Twist one end of a pipe cleaner (or two) around a couple of feathers. The pipe cleaner can then be attached to a cat’s cage, so that the feathers hang down and tempt the cat—a hunter, after all!—and can amuse him or her for hours
- Hay Rolls for Rabbits
Have some cardboard paper towel rolls laying around? Cut them in half, stuff them with hay and voilà, toys for our bunnies! (Don’t have hay? You can still drop off the paper towel rolls at ACC, and we’ll add the hay).
- Sewn beds
Our pals at Pillows for Paws have put together a helpful video about how they make their beautiful sewn shelter beds and have more project ideas. Check them out!
- No-sew comforters
Not into sewing? Consider making these no-sew blankets.
- Snuffle Mats
Here's another no-sew project, sure to delight our dogs: snuffle mats!
ACC is a nonprofit organization, and with tens of thousands of animals coming through our doors each year, we can always use supplies such as carriers, blankets, towels, toys, kitten food and much more. Check out our Wish Lists here and here, then organize a collection drive in your school, apartment building, or community center.*
Once the drive wraps up, you can drop off donations at any one of our locations or send them to Animal Care Centers of NYC, ATTN: Development Department, 11 Park Place, Suite 805, New York, NY 10007. Please be sure to include your contact information, so we can thank you with a certificate of appreciation!
* Please email email@example.com with any questions and to run your collection drive flyer by us. Any use of ACC's name, logo, photographs, images, or language must be approved in advance.
ACC, a nonprofit, relies on donations to help us go above and beyond our contracted animal care services. Lemonade stands, bake sales, walk-a-thons, car washes, raffles… There are lots of ways you can raise funds for ACC animals! Some animal lovers put together events, and others ask for donations instead of birthday gifts. You might offer to walk people's dogs or pet-sit when they go on vacation and donate the money to help homeless animals.
If you’re planning a fundraising event or activity in support of ACC, please let us know! We’d love to share info about it, and any use of ACC's name, logo, photographs, images, or language must be approved in advance.
By using our everydayhero site, you can create unique and personalized online fundraising events to support the many boroughbreds in our care. Whether you're hosting a birthday party or running a race, creating a personalized fundraiser is a great way to raise funds for NYC's shelter animals while also getting your friends and family involved! You can also donate online or send donations to Animal Care Centers of NYC, ATTN: Development Department, 11 Park Place, Suite 805, New York, NY 10007
You can help animals find homes simply by spreading the word to friends, family members and neighbors. Many people aren’t aware that there are many great cats, dogs and rabbits available for adoption right here in NYC.
- Share profiles of animals available for adoption
Animals available for adoption at ACC have individual profiles, and you can share them on your social media pages by checking out our Adoption Search page. Our free mobile adoption app, “ACC of NYC,” also makes posting, tweeting and texting about available animals easy as ACC! You can download the app and start sending adorable animal photos and videos to friends today. The app also provides details about upcoming adoption events across the city.
- Share ACC flyers in your building and community
We bring our Mobile Adoption Centers to neighborhoods throughout the city, and we often have adoption specials with reduced or waived fees. Help us spread the word by posting these printable flyers in your neighborhood.
Please ask for permission to post a flyer in a store or veterinarian’s window and/or leave a few copies on their counter. We’d love to hear how this goes! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us which places you’ve visited that have agreed to display or distribute the flyer.
- Host a Pet Adoption Awareness Day at your school or organization
Get everyone together to discuss the importance of pet adoption! We can send an ACC representative to speak about ACC and how the community can help animals in need. Perhaps you could host a collection drive (see above) in conjunction with the event. Please fill out this Speaker Request Form to have an ACC staff member or volunteer attend your Pet Adoption Awareness event.
We humans can do a lot to help prevent animals from becoming homeless in the first place. Help spread the word about steps people can take to reduce animal homelessness:
- Discuss the importance of spay/neuter
Kittens and puppies are cute, but too often they’re born with no place to go, or brought to shelters once they get big. Pet guardians can have their female pets spayed and their male pets neutered to prevent litters from being born and countless animals from becoming homeless.
With so many animals already coming into shelters, spaying or neutering pets is essential. You can learn more about it here and here then encourage others to make sure their pets have had the surgery. If anyone you know has any questions about getting their pets spayed or neutered, they can email ACC staff at email@example.com.
- Share information about dog licenses
One of the best ways we can reunite people with their lost dogs is through dog licenses, which are actually required by law in New York State. If one of our Animal Rescue Specialists finds a stray dog with a license, they’ll give him or her a free ride home! You can find out more about dog licenses and apply for or renew one here.
- Encourage people to make sure their pets are vaccinated
Vaccinations are important for our animal companions, just like they are for us. You can share this information on vaccinations, and direct people to ACC’s free vaccination clinics in the Bronx (they can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information) or the NYC Health Department’s. If anyone has any questions about vaccinations for their animals, or is looking for information on low-cost veterinary care, they can email email@example.com.
- Alert people to available resources
Know someone who’s having an issue with their pet? Anyone facing challenges keeping their pets can contact our surrender prevention team, who may be able to connect them with resources to help them keep their pet. You can also share these behavior flyers.
Animals at the shelter (boroughbreds, as we call them at ACC) are in a new, unfamiliar place and may be shy and scared. By reading to them in a calm, comforting voice, we hope to make them feel more relaxed. We can show animals who may be afraid of humans that they don't need to be. Even though they don't understand words, they can understand our tone of voice and appreciate our company.
Before you start reading to cats and rabbits at ACC, we ask that you attend an orientation to learn about our organization and what you'll be doing as a Books with Boroughbreds volunteer. We'll give you a tour of the care center, show you where you'll be reading, talk about animal body language and answer any questions you may have. To sign up for an orientation (and subsequent reading sessions), please email CommunityOutreach@nycacc.org.
This program is open to animal lovers 5 years old and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Thank you for lending a paw!
ACC takes in more than 25,000 animals each year. Every day is different, but that averages out to about 70 animals a day!
As an open-admissions shelter, ACC is open to animals of all kinds, conditions, and backgrounds
Animals come to ACC for many reasons – some were found as strays, others used to live in homes but their families were unable to keep them
In addition to promoting adoption, ACC helps people keep their pets so animals don’t have to come to the shelter in the first place
“Hearts and Paws," the episode of the national PBS series "Shelter Me" that featured ACC and premiered in 2016, is available online!
If you’re looking for a classroom or after-school activity, check it out to see award-winning artist and animal advocate Patrick McDonnell, creator of the MUTTS comic strip, turn his experience at ACC into a week’s worth of "Shelter Stories." Then you might…
- Make your own comic strip! Draw a shelter animal’s story.
- Write a short story about an animal who comes to a shelter.
- Share your comics and stories with ACC! We just may share them on our social media channels. Please email them to us at CommunityOutreach@nycacc.org.