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Hyatt Launches New Centric Brand for Hurried Modern Travelers

Greg Oates, Skift @gregoates Jan 30, 2015 7:30 am

Hyatt Hotels looked at the lifestyle hotel sector and decided to go with an efficient and energetic brand story, because a lot of travelers are just too busy to get worked up over “design hotels” anymore.

Hyatt Hotels

Nearing completion, Hyatt South Beach Miami is rumored to be one of the first Hyatt Centric hotels. Hyatt Hotels


At its core, the new Hyatt Centric lifestyle brand is designed for multi-tasking business and leisure travelers with things to do and places to go.

That pretty much defines a lot of modern travelers these days who know what they want, which includes the hotel getting out of their way. When Centric was announced this week, it disposed with a lot of the brand quirkiness indicative of other recent lifestyle hotel launches.

 

Smart and streamlined, Centric is not really designed for a specific psychographic or demographic. Millennials? Sure, whatever. There’s not a lot of talk about “baristas and mixologists curating activated spaces,” thankfully. Instead, there’s a “barman.” He, or she, makes drinks and talks to people, like they’ve always done. There also might be a DJ or there might not, because in the end, who really cares? Seriously.

This brand is for people who aren’t necessarily looking for a brand, and who don’t want to be labeled.

Hyatt Centric enters the market in the upper upscale tier, one notch below Hyatt’s innovative Andaz luxury flag. These are full-service hotels with destination restaurants owned by established hospitality partners. For room service, the brand’s signature “knock ‘n drop” system delivers meals in to-go packaging to guests at their door.

Hyatt is saying it’s going to open 15 Centrics this summer with a collection of newbuilds, conversions, and adaptive reuse projects. One primary thing that does define the brand, the hotels are all going to be located in central (hence “Centric”) areas of major business and leisure tourism destinations.

Hyatt Centric openings announced to date are: Paris, Miami, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Long Beach, Park City, Houston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Key West.

In Florida, the two Hyatt Centrics are rumored to be the upcoming Hyatt South Beach, located right at the end of Ocean Drive, and Hyatt Key West, perched right off the end of America. Hyatt is using images of the recently modernized Hyatt Union Square in New York on the Centric website, too.

Presently, there are not a lot of renderings to look at, and Hyatt says it isn’t going to announce specific hotels and locations for another 60 days, so it’s difficult to discuss design. The range of existing Hyatt property photos on the website emphasize crisp lines and hotel designer David Rockwell-inspired furnishings. Rockwell made a name for himself, in part, drawing up the early Andaz properties.

In terms of the vibe, the new brand video provides an apt sense of pace regarding Hyatt Centric’s busy guests, referred to interchangeably as “Modern Explorers” and “wish-listers.”

“We call them Modern Explorers because these are travelers who are very curious, very independent, and very time crunched,” says Kristine Rose, VP of brands, Hyatt. “They have a wish list and they really want to make the most out of all of their experiences and reasons for traveling.”

Rose says the sweet spot for Hyatt Centric room counts is around 200 keys to maintain an “intimate cosmopolitan vibe.” She talks fast and gets to the point without a lot of waiting around, kind of like the brand. We discussed “The Corner” in the “lounge-centric” lobby where people can mingle in various residential-style environments. Centric is also pet friendly.

But really, the whole lounge-centric, pet-friendly lifestyle hotel formula has been established, and there’s not much wiggle room for new brands to come in and define any new territory. Hotels like Hyatt Centric and all of the other fresh faced players are the future of hospitality, and hotel companies are naturally clamoring to grab as much of the market segment they can as quickly as possible.

From a consumer standpoint, with so much demand and supply, differentiating one brand from another is becoming less of a focus than five years ago. Many active travelers are hustling to the point where they just want to get in and get out, so a hotel needs to combine smarts and style without a lot of fuss, because today, less is definitely more. That’s becoming a primary differentiator among travelers as we move into the 2015 hotel bull market, and Hyatt jumped on it.

“We’re launching 15 hotels in just a few months so this brand is not a brand that’s just on paper,” says Rose. “It’s a brand we’ve been crafting for the last two years in partnership with our guests and our owners in many different locations, and this will be a culmination of all that intelligence.”

Greg Oates covers hospitality and tourism development. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

24 Clever Ideas Inside Virgin's New Hotel

It's the little things.

It’s the little things, and anyone who’s flown Virgin America knows it: the calming purple mood lighting, the food and drink orders you can place electronically from your seats, the entertaining safety video, the ticket stubs that are 50% smaller than the obnoxious industry norm. All of these details assemble to make Virgin America one of the best flying experiences in the U.S.

Now, Virgin Hotels are being planned for each city in Virgin America's flight plan. The first, which launched this January, is a 250-room makeover of a historic Old Dearborn Bank Building in the Chicago Loop. And it reveals that Virgin has approached lodging with the meticulous attention it paid to air travel. Charging slightly above-market rates around $209 a night (yes, downtown Chicago hotels are fairly inexpensive!), the company offers business travelers value through careful experience design, to make sure that customers come back.

Here are 24 small touches inside the walls of the first Virgin Hotel that travelers will appreciate.

The best part of the hotel room is the bed.
1. The headboard has been designed with plush, lower lumbar support, so you can work against it with a laptop.
2. This strange corner cushion is actually a makeshift bucket seat. It’s surprisingly comfortable.
3. The two bed seating options allow you to share the bed with a partner (or partners) in a super bohemian way.
4. This cushioned ottoman is an extra seat, or a luggage rack.
5. A Bluetooth soundbar solves the age-old outdated iPod dock problem.
6. A clock, hard to see here, goes dark and projects the time on the ceiling at night.

The room is designed to allow for comfortable lounging or work.
7. The television controls entertainment, but also orders room service and controls the thermostat. If you don’t want to touch the skuzzy remote, your smartphone will do.
8. This chair swivels to make it surprisingly ergonomic in this tight corner space.
9. Accompanying the chair, the cafe table also swivels, and its surface can be pulled outward in any direction.
10. A side lounge chair can be scooted forward to work at the flexible cafe table.

The bathroom and closet space are geared toward a growing segment of female business travelers.
11. Pull-out shoe racks give the vibe of the perfectly organized closet.
12. A real deal hair dryer described to be "of a decent wattage."
13. This space fits a medium- to large-sized shopping bag.
14. Plenty of towels—but you can order more through your TV/smartphone app if you’d like.

The rooms have a spa-like quality.
15. Every room has a sit down vanity area—whether that’s part of the sink, or in this case, a separate spot.
16. Ring lighting is the same light source used in professional photo shoots.
17. Inside the shower, and every shower at the hotel, nods to the ladies with a built-in bench for shaving your legs.
18. Note the spa-inspired color scheme. Virgin’s trademark red is saved as an accent color. Everything else is grey, white, or beige, played out in a variety of finishes and textures.

You'll pay $1 for a Snickers bar.
19. The room's honor bar—just like in the Virgin Hotel’s bar, restaurants, and spa—charges street pricing. That means $1 Snickers bars. $2 bottled water. It’s still profitable for Virgin—the company expects to sell more volume. But it also keeps you from feeling gouged. Furthermore, travelers can ask temptations like candy not be there, or make special requests and have them waiting.
20. The Smeg fridge is a mainstay at the Ace Hotel in New York, but Virgin Hotel is the first with the mini Smeg fridge.
21. A gray flannel accent wall is the epitome of cozy.

Hallways are designed to have domestic feel, like coming home to your cul-de-sac.
22. Lighting is brighter on room floors than it is in most hotels to alleviate anxiety solo travelers have of being caught in a dark space (they cite women, but as a guy I’ve felt this, too).
23. Ever get your "do not disturb" dongle caught in the door? Virgin uses a service light on every room instead.
24. The dog sculpture, which evokes a ceramic goose on a porch step, adds to the domestic vibe. It also marks a floor's pet-friendly rooms.

After the Storm, Here's How To Protect Your Home From Salt

By Amy Zimmer on January 28, 2015 7:45am

MANHATTAN — Leave your shoes outside the door — or at least put them on a cookie sheet to catch the runoff when you come inside from the wintry mess.

That's what experts from some of the city's top cleaning services suggest to prevent tracking in the salt, dirt and snow from outside that can wreak havoc on your floors and pose potential threats to your pets' paws and the soles of your feet.

The most commonly used ice melts are rock salt (used by city agencies on roads and sidewalks), calcium chloride (which many building owners use for their sidewalks) and urea (used by homeowners who want a pet-friendly alternative).

Even though rock salt is the least expensive, many landlords won't use it and some hardware shops refuse to stock it because it can damage concrete, stone, bricks, plants and other materials and is generally considered most toxic, especially to pets.

"Generally, buildings don't use salt on the sidewalks because it's highly corrosive," said Marina Higgins of Argo Real Estate, which owns and manages thousands of apartments across the city. "Most use calcium chloride, but what a resident tracks into the house is probably a combination of both."

Here's what you should do to protect your family and floors from de-icers and why:

1. Be mindful before you step inside

"Stomp your feet when you get off the street and take your shoes off when you enter the apartment," advised Kadi Dulude of the Wizard of Homes, which was voted the city's best cleaning service by New York magazine.

"If you really want to keep the salt out of the apartment then take the shoes off outside your apartment door and put the shoes in a baggie to bring inside."

The water from the snow could also pose problems.

"Some floors are not to have any water on them, let alone little puddles that can stay under your boots when you take them off," Dulude said. "I recommend getting a 'boot tray' where you can put your snowy, salty boots to dry without causing any damage."

If there's no mat or shoe covers available, Ashley Seigel, of the New York-based MyClean maid service, suggested using a cookie sheet to rest your shoes on.

"It's important to act fast and clean these problem areas as soon as they are affected," Seigel said.

2. Avoid letting pets or your bare feet step on salt crystals.

Many pet owners are aware of the dangers of salt when walking their dogs, which is why many dress them in booties in this weather. The crystals can stick to animals' paws. As ice begins to melt, the heat can irritate and possibly even burn them, according to the ASPCA.

It can also irritate human feet.

"If you walk on those floors barefoot then you'll get salt crystals stuck under your feet. Depending on what kind of salt was used, it may be really bad for the feet and skin," Dulude said.

3. Salt crystals and de-icing chemicals can ruin your floors.

"The main thing will be that it will act like sandpaper on floors, scratching them up," Dulude said of the affects of salt on wood flooring.

It can strip the urethane coating off wood floors, Seigel added, leaving them susceptible to damage from moisture, abrasion and dirt.

Carpeting is at risk, too.

"Carpet fibers are damaged in addition to becoming clouded and loose from the salt residue," Seigel said.

Linoleum is often fine as long as the flooring has no cracks or imperfections where the salt crystals can sneak under.

"If the salt gets under linoleum and is stepped on with hard shoes, over time you'll start seeing the tiny bumps where the hard crystals are," Dulude said.

Tile floors tend to be the most impervious, she said. They won't scratch or get damaged from salt.

The best way to clean salty carpets is by vacuuming, Dulude said. For other types of floors, wiping with a damp cloth is best. The same should be used on your shoes since they can be ruined by some types of salt.

How Animal-Friendly Is Your State? 2014 Report Gives Us Answers

Each year, as legislative sessions get under way across the country, The HSUS issues a report card concerning animal protection laws in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. In it, we examine how the states are performing on policies related to wildlife, farm animals, companion animals, puppy mills, animal cruelty and fighting, and animals in research. We take about 70 policy ideas – such as adoption of felony-level penalties for cockfighting, or humane breeding standards for dogs – as our benchmarks. Then we determine if a given state has a policy, add up the numbers, make our judgments, and rank the states from top to bottom.

How’d Your State Do?

This year, as for all six years that we’ve done this report, California tops the list for having passed the most animal protection laws, with Proposition 2 as just one of the strong measures that the state has adopted to help animals. California is followed by Oregon, Illinois (whose outgoing governor vetoed a bobcat hunting and trapping bill earlier this week), Massachusetts, and New York and Virginia (tied for fifth place), all of which have been consistently strong on animal protection laws relative to other states.

States that showed a big improvement in 2014 were West Virginia, which passed a ban on exotic animals as pets; Virginia, which phased out fox penning and began regulating pet stores with more rigor; and Minnesota, which cracked down on puppy mills and launched a program allowing for dogs used in research to be adopted instead of euthanized.

The poorest performers were South Dakota, Wyoming, North Dakota, Mississippi, and Idaho – the only state in the nation to adopt an ag-gag measure in 2014. We do recognize, however, the strides these states are making to improve their animal protection laws. Last year, for example, South Dakota became the final state to enact felony level penalties for egregious animal cruelty.

Highlights for 2014

Among other highlights in state legislation in 2014:

  • New Jersey and New York became the first states to ban the sale of ivory and rhino horns.
  • Colorado banned greyhound racing, and Arizona and Iowa also restricted racing.
  • Kentucky phased out the use of veal crates.
  • Louisiana made cockfighting a felony on the first offense.
  • Connecticut became the first state to restrict pet stores from acquiring puppies and kittens from breeders with severe Animal Welfare Act violations.

There were also key defensive actions, such as Michigan voters nullifying two pro-wolf hunting laws. The HSUS blocked ag-gag bills in 11 of 12 states that considered them.  We also fought off a “right to farm” measure in Oklahoma, but despite the efforts of our rural outreach team, a similar measure squeaked by voters in Missouri by less than half of one percent of the vote.

Setting Our Sights on Next Year

Altogether, working with animal advocates nationwide, The HSUS helped pass 137 new state and local laws to protect animals last year – the largest number ever passed in one year. A major item on our agenda this year will be to require that abusers handle the “costs of care” for the animals rescued from dogfighting, cockfighting, and other cases of cruelty – rather than placing the financial burden on animal protection groups.

Yet, with all of this lawmaking last year and in the years prior, we also inevitably face a backlash, with efforts to turn back our gains or to deny us the opportunity to document the suffering, neglect, and abuse of animals. That is the very purpose of the measures dubbed as ag-gag bills – bills that criminalize taking pictures of animals on farms or the hiring of an animal advocate as a worker at a factory farm.

Take a look to see where your state ranks, and please take action this year to lift your state in the rankings. I can assure you that the animal advocates in California and Oregon will be happy to feel your state breathing down their state’s neck because you’ve helped pass so many more laws to help animals.

Lead Image source: Matthew C Wright/Flickr

Over-the-Top Amenities: Sweating the Details

By PENELOPE GREENJAN. 28, 2015

At the Cast Iron House, a late-19th-century landmark in TriBeCa reimagined by Shigeru Ban, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect, into 13 shiny white condos, you will find another flourish designed by Mr. Ban: a Turkish-style hamam, complete with a plunge pool and a “deluge” shower. (We’ll circle back to that deluge later.)

Farther west, another century-old landmark, 443 Greenwich Street, which has been reworked by the architecture firm CetraRuddy, also counts among its abundant amenities a glistening green glass-tile hamam that Nancy Ruddy, a principal with the company who was inspired by visits to Istanbul, described as “having a primordial feeling about it.”

Uptown, the hamam at the Halcyon, a glass tower at East 51st Street, will sport tiers of heated marble. At 252 East 57th, the not-yet-built undulating glass tower designed by SOM, with interior architecture by Daniel Romualdez, who has created interiors for Aerin Lauder, Tory Burch and Mick Jagger, there is another hamamlike space — in limestone, marble and porcelain tile. Instead of a plunge pool there is an “ice room” with a machine that makes “snow” you can spread on your body, and an enormous “relaxation room” where you can rest after these circulatory jolts.

Photo
 
Amenities with a view at the Halcyon on East 51st Street include a “movement studio.” Credit Halcyon

 

“Older cultures know how this helps you,” Ms. Ruddy said. “This is a luxury you can’t have in your apartment.”

Home, it would appear, is where the hamam is. At least for the superrich.

For along with the Olympic-size pools, children’s playrooms designed by experts in early-childhood development, basketball courts, demonstration and catering kitchens, lounges or “great rooms” with fireplaces, curated libraries, guest rooms, full-size gyms, spinning rooms and yoga studios, the hamam (pronounced hah-MOM) has joined the amenity package, as the brokers say, of the luxury development market. Or “super luxury” market, which is to say buildings where the price per square foot begins at about $3,000.

No longer solely relegated to basements, these amenities (there has got to be a better word) are stretching out over tens of thousands of square feet above ground, in some cases on the prime real estate of a building’s higher floors, as is the case at 45 East 22nd, a glass wedge that will rise to nearly 800 feet. Indeed, the amenity with a view is its own proud category. At One57 — a building that broke the $100 million barrier two weeks ago — the pool not only has a view of Carnegie Hall, but past performances are piped into the water, so you hear them as you swim.

“Most pools are underground,” said Jeannie Woodbrey, the senior sales associate there. “Even the pool at 15 C.P.W. is on a lower floor.”

Ian Bruce Eichner, the developer of 45 East 22nd Street, which has five floors of amenities, including what he called the Upper Club — a demonstration kitchen, catering kitchen, living room and dining room on what will be the building’s 54th floor — likened his amenity strategy to a bank shot in pool.

“It helps us set up the kind of dollars per square foot we’d like from our buyers,” he said. “It’s kind of an equalizer. If you’re in a one-bedroom at the bottom of the building, you get the same amenities as the guy who paid $42 million for the top floor. I’m giving my prime real estate to an amenity space so I can get value from the bottom floors, too.”

Even the garages are gussied up. Not just private and mechanized, many have gated, covered driveways — or drive courts, as the one at 551 West 21st, designed by Norman Foster, is called. Porte-cochère is how the sales team at 252 East 57th describes its private entry, harking back to prewar buildings like the Apthorp. Its swirly center column is an SOM signature.

At 443 Greenwich Street, Ms. Ruddy has designed the garage to look like Grand Central Terminal, with arched ceilings with Guastavino-style tiles. Even the parking bays are tiled. For a garage, it is almost ravishing.

“This is no Icon garage,” as Richard Cantor, of Cantor-Pecorella Inc., who is handling sales there, said.

­•

In the last boom, said Jonathan Miller, the president and chief executive of Miller Samuel, a real estate appraisal and consulting firm, “the amenities seemed to be more smoke and mirrors: the valet, the concierge and the sommelier. It was more window dressing for the upfront sale. In tough times, if there’s a problem or a change in the market, these things can be cut.”

But now, he continued, “because land prices and construction prices are so high, every one of these projects needs to break a new price record, so you reverse-engineer to make the project viable. You have to put in these amenities to justify the value of these record prices. So we’ve transitioned from a development boom that was service amenity-oriented to — and maybe this is your new word — infrastructure, an asset within the building that stays with the building.”

A note about terminology. The Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group’s research department divides the luxury market into three subcategories based on price per square foot: “luxury,” which it defines as $2,300 to $3,300 (443 Greenwich); “super luxury,” from $3,300 to $5,000; and “ultra luxury,” which is $5,000 and up (One57 and 432 Park). Some developers chafe at these designations: The folks at 252 call their building “ultraluxury,” for its views, flourishes and amenities, though their prices average about $3,000 a square foot.

For his part, Mr. Miller defines the luxury threshold as starting at $1,800 a square foot, and eschews the word “ultra” in favor of “trophy,” he said, because the former term makes him think of “a bad ’70s apartment with gold-plated interiors and someone describing it as ‘classy.’ ”

It was a zoning quirk, however, that allowed Ziel Feldman, founder of HFZ Capital Group, the developer of the Halcyon, to put its amenities on the 21st and 22nd floors.

“We overlapped several zoning districts, and the easy answer is we got what’s called a ‘quality housing’ bonus, which allowed us to put them anywhere without buying air rights,” Mr. Feldman said. “It was free space.”

The hamam, he added, just fit with the theme of his building.

“Halcyon, by its nature, represents calm and serenity,” he said. “Hamams have been used for centuries as a calming tool.”

Although the Cast Iron House just happens to be across the street from Aire Ancient Baths, a spa designed like a Roman bath, Jourdan Krauss, the building’s developer, and Mr. Ban were “adamant,” Mr. Krauss said, about making their own private hamam. (Clearly, a certain version of bath culture is having a renaissance in New York City. But you have to ask yourself, how comfortable would you be getting naked with your neighbors?)

“We live in this frenetic city; it’s mayhem,” said Mr. Krauss, explaining why his team had researched ancient bath culture and rituals. “I wanted to create an oasis.”

O.K., what’s a deluge shower?

“You can imagine it as a type of a bucket and you pull a lever,” he said.

­•

There is no hamam over at the Greenwich Lane, the 10-building complex with interiors designed by Thomas O’Brien now growing from the site of St. Vincent’s hospital. There is, however, a large pool among many, many other amenities that include a children’s playroom designed by a company that has created children’s museums.

“Because the development is geographically spread out like a college campus, there was a very natural parklike element running down the middle, and then all of that real estate running under the park,” said James Lansill, senior managing director at the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, which is handling sales there. “So we could put in a swimming pool that’s bigger than normal, because it wasn’t in the bottom of a tower.”

There is a golf simulator, but no basketball court and no bowling alley.

“That just never came up,” Mr. Lansill said of the bowling alley. “We did one in Downtown by Starck” — the Philippe Starck-designed condo in the financial district that was a touchstone of the last boom — “because there was this long, crazy tunnel” that was “the exact same length as a bowling alley.”

It was, Mr. Lansill believes, the first bowling alley in a condo, an opening salvo in what would become an amenity craze.

“Then all the developers went nuts, and there was just this long list which backfired, because no one wanted to work out in those tiny gyms, and I don’t think anyone ever used those business centers,” he said. “The trend now has been to do more generously scaled and more meaningful amenities instead of just a list.”

Mr. Miller said his favorite thing to make fun of during the last boom was “the pet spa, which sounded like dogs lounging around the pool but was really a glorified slop sink in a closet in the basement somewhere.”

But this particular amenity, now called the pet wash or the dog grooming station at 252 East 57th Street, has not only survived, it has also come up in the world. At the Pierhouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Toll Brothers development designed by Jonathan Marvel that just topped out at 130 feet and is the subject of a dispute about its height, the pet wash is no slop sink. It’s a windowed lounge overlooking the park designed by Mr. Marvel, the same architect who reimagined the Studio Museum in Harlem and St. Anne’s Warehouse, the performance space, with checkerboard tiles, outdoor furniture, lockers for treats, a coffee station and two professional dog showers.

“Essentially, it’s a really nice experience for both the animal and the owners,” Mr. Marvel said of the 350-square-foot space.

What to call it?

“I think it’s got to have a more descriptive name,” he said.

How about ­ a dog hamam?

 

Correction: January 29, 2015

An earlier version of this article referred imprecisely to Thomas O’Brien’s role in the Greenwich Lane project. He designed its interiors; he was not the overall designer of the project.

 

Animal Care & Control Of NYC Pet Post: Meet Pepper, Solin and Nancy Drew

CBSNewYork & 1010WINS Help NYC Animal Shelters Promote Adoption With Weekly Pet Post January 28, 2015 9:00 AM

 

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Animal Care & Control Of NYC Pet Post: Meet Pepper, Solin and Nancy Drew

CBSNewYork & 1010WINS Help NYC Animal Shelters Promote Adoption With Weekly Pet Post
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Nancy Drew the Rabbit.  Available at AC&C's Manhattan Care Center. (Photo Credit: AC&C)

Nancy Drew the Rabbit. Available at AC&C’s Manhattan Care Center. (Photo Credit: AC&C)

 

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – CBSNewYork.com and 1010 WINS have teamed up with Animal Care & Control of New York City to let you know about some of the adoptable animals in the city shelters in need of loving homes and where AC&C’s mobile adoption unit is headed with even more great pets.

This week, we’re featuring Pepper, Solin and Nancy Drew.

Nancy Drew (A1025309-Rabbit, photo above): Nancy Drew is a bit of a mystery.  This approximately one year old rabbit was brought to AC&C after she was found as a stray in a dorm. But she’s ready for a loving home! Meet this cutie at AC&C’s Manhattan Care Center at 326 E. 11oth Street.

Solin the Cat. Available at AC&C's Staten Island Care Center.  (Photo Credit: AC&C)

Solin the Cat. Available at AC&C’s Staten Island Care Center. (Photo Credit: AC&C)

Solin (A1025253): The person who surrendered Solin at AC&C noted he’s a very social cat that gets along with children of all ages. Meet this handsome boy, who’s about 2-years-old, at AC&C’s Staten Island Care Center at 3139 Veterans Road West.

Pepper the dog available at AC&C's Brooklyn Care Center. (Photo Credit: AC&C)

Pepper the dog available at AC&C’s Brooklyn Care Center. (Photo Credit: AC&C)

Pepper (A0892272): How can you resist that smile? Pepper is a cheerful, playful, affectionate girl of about four years. An AC&C staff member says, “She is a super sweet and loving dog,” and a volunteer notes, “Her sunny, happy personality seems to be noticed by everyone.” Meet Pepper at AC&C’s Brooklyn Care Center at 2336 Linden Boulevard.

Animal Care & Control of NYC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the only open-admissions animal shelter in New York City and takes in approximately 30,000 animals every year.

AC&C’s three Care Centers in Manhattan (326 East 110th Street), Brooklyn (2336 Linden Boulevard) and Staten Island (3139 Veterans Road West) are open for adoptions 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

If you’re interested in one of the animals featured here, email AC&C’s Adoption team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the animal’s name and “A#” or head directly to the Care Center where the animal is located.

Please note, animals featured here may already be placed by the time you arrive, but there are hundreds of great cats, dogs, and rabbits looking for loving homes every day! You can view available animals online and at the Care Centers. AC&C Adoption Counselors will help you find the best match.

You can also meet your new best friend at AC&C’s Mobile Adoption Center which travels throughout the city. (Note: dates and locations are subject to change. Information will be updated as quickly as possible. Also check www.NYCACC.org)

This week’s mobile adoption events:

- Saturday, January 31, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at FENWICK KEATS Real Estate, 2244 Broadway, New York, NY 10024.

To adopt an animal, you must have a valid photo ID, be 18 years of age or older and bring proof of current address. AC&C adoptions include vaccinations, spay/neuter, a pre-registered microchip, an identification tag, a collar and a certificate for a free initial exam at a participating veterinarian.

For more information, visit www.nycacc.org/Adopt.htm.

Manhattan dog missing for 5 months captured in storm, reunited with owner

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 10:00AM

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A dog who went missing from his New York City home in August has been found and was reunited with his owner Tuesday.

The wicked snowstorm played a role in the story, too, as FDNY Lieutenant Dave Kelly first spotted the dog a few weeks ago and decided to trap him to save him from the weather conditions.

The dog, a whippet named Burt, vanished from the Manhattan home on August 20, 2014.

Kelly had reportedly seen the dog rummaging for food at night time on the FDNY Bureau of Training grounds for about three weeks. He began to feed Burt with hopes of getting close enough to grab him, but to no avail.

Then, late Monday into early Tuesday, Kelly set a trap (food and a dog cage) and captured Burt.


Following the reunion, owner Lauren Piccolo released the following statement:

Devices Keep Owners Closer to Their Pets, Monitor Health

By Adam Balkin Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 01:36 PM EST

Technology has certainly helped humans over the years. Now, there are devices that help humans help their pets do everything from exercise to making friends. Time Warner Cable News technology reporter Adam Balkin filed this report.

Thanks to technology, you can now be present for your pet even when you are physically away from them. Perfect example of that is the $200 Petcube. This box not only allows you to see and talk to your pet remotely via a computer or a mobile device, but also allows you to play with your pet when you are away.

“There is a built in laser pointer and this thing connects to your home Wi-Fi,” says Petcube’s Yaroslav Azhnyuk. “You can control it remotely from your smartphone and basically you see your living room, you see your pet, you can talk to your pet, and you can swipe your finger on top of the screen of your phone to move this laser pointer which is inside. You know cats and dogs get crazy running after a laser."

Then once you are done helping them work a few calories off, the $250 Petnet SmartFeeder helps you pack them back on. Developers say the system is designed to not only help you feed your pet remotely but also to help keep your pet eating healthier.

“We have automated schedules, we have remote feedings, we have notifications and all of those together combine to give you a really robust system to manage your pet when you’re not home as well as when you are home," says Petnet’s Dustin Morales.

Finally, there are many dog activity trackers out there but WonderWoof is a bit different in two ways. Number 1: it is designed to be stylish. Number 2: it is designed to tell you how social your dog is being.

“It tracks all of your dog’s daily activity based on their size, breed, and age to make sure they’re getting the proper amount of exercise. But the best part is you can tell if your dog is playing, sleeping, jumping, what other dogs they’ve been with today," says Betsy Fore of WonderWoof.

It will be able to tell that based on which other dogs are also wearing the $100 WonderWoof Bowtie, out this spring or also if the dog’s owner is using the free WonderWoof mobile app.

Ferrets Inch Closer To Legalization In New York City

Continuing the process that began in early 2014, a hearing was held last week that advances the possibility of ferrets being legal to own in New York City. Marylou Zarbock Posted: January 29, 2015, 4:20 p.m. EST

 

 

 

 

 

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Ferrets Inch Closer To Legalization In New York City

 

Continuing the process that began in early 2014, a hearing was held last week that advances the possibility of ferrets being legal to own in New York City.

 

Marylou Zarbock

 

Posted: January 29, 2015, 4:20 p.m. EST

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

two ferrets in hammock
© Courtesy Erin King
Ferrets, which are not rodents, have been domesticated for more than 2,000 years and are legal to own in every U.S. state except Hawaii and California. Some cities, such as New York City, ban them as pets.

 

January 21 was a big day for New York City ferrets. Ferret ownership has been banned in the five boroughs of NYC since 1999, but last week the question of whether or not ferret ownership should be legalized was considered at a hearing by the NYC Department of Health And Mental Hygiene. Three panel members heard the comments. 

 

This opportunity came about because of a young woman named Ariel Jasper who contacted the department in early 2014 to request that the ban on ferret ownership be reconsidered.

 

The end result of the hearing is that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will put together a presentation for the NYC Board of Health. The meeting for this is currently set for March, although no date and time has been finalized.

 

"I am not clear if the board will make a decision on the spot or if there will be a waiting period,” Jasper said. So, for now, all that can be done is to wait.

 

But what happened at the hearing last week?

 

"The hearing went well,” Jasper said. "We had about eight speakers.” 

 

One of those was David Gaines, director of the Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee at the American Ferret Association. Additionally, Jasper said she and two other members of the Ferret Club of NYC testified, and a resident of Queens also testified in favor of lifting the ban.

 

"We all asked for the ban to be lifted and for ferrets to be prohibited from sale in pet stores,” Jasper said. "We also had an opportunity to speak with the head of animal and pest control about ferrets and their needs, as well as what owners face in terms of veterinary costs and malpractice. It was a good hearing with some passionate speakers.”

 

Gaines noted that three other organizations were represented by: Jennifer Riley of the New York City Bar Association Animal Law Committee, Steve Gruber of the Mayor’s Alliance For NYC’s Animals and Joel Bhuiyan of NYCLASS.

 

But comments from the public weren’t limited to the speakers present. Jasper said more than 90 positive comments were made on the NYC Rules website during the public comment period. 

 

Additionally, Jasper said there were "uncounted emails, letters and faxes sent to the board. We also submitted the signatures from our online petition along with their comments.”

 

four attendees of the hearing
© Courtesy Ferret Club of NYC 
Ariel Jasper (far right) attended the hearing on January 21 in New York City, along with (left to right) Isis Vera, David Gaines and Veronica Nizama.

 

Gaines said he attended the hearing to speak in favor of ferrets being legalized. He said he was there to present facts, not be emotional. He noted that the AFA is a subject-matter expert regarding ferrets. He said that, combined, the AFA membership has centuries of experience with ferrets, so its statements about ferrets bear great weight. 

 

He submitted an 11-page document (including exhibits showing the ASPCA and HSUS recognize ferrets as companion pets) to the committee, but edited down his spoken comments to meet the required five-minute speaking time.

 

Although the representatives from the three other organizations at the hearing were not there specifically for the ferret issue, as the proposed rule also deals with other animal-related issues, all were fine with ferrets being legalized with the provision that they not be sold in pet stores. Additionally, Jennifer Riley of the NYC Bar Association also stipulated that ferrets should not be de-scented. The AFA also opposes de-scenting ferrets.

 

Only one person who spoke at the hearing was opposed to ferrets being legalized. Gaines said that this individual stated that he represented no organization and no organization represents him.

 

Jasper said that, "He spoke of ferrets in an inaccurate way and admitted he had no contact with ferrets.” 

 

For Gaines, it was all about who showed up. He was surprised that there was no media coverage of the hearing. 

 

Now that the hearing is over, the public comment section has ended. In March, the information will be presented to the NYC Board of Health at a public hearing. People can attend to watch, but there is no opportunity to speak. The date and time for this hearing is not yet set. 

 

For those who are interested, the videotape of the hearing should be uploaded to the NYC Rules website at some point in the future. Watch the NYC Rules Public Meetings Archive web page for the posting.

 

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New York's Most Misunderstood Mammal

 

New York’s Most Misunderstood Mammal

How bad science and bureaucracy bred NYC’s strange relationship with ferrets

 

4858095298 b9f2d825eb b New York’s Most Misunderstood MammalMy ex had wanted them after graduation. So I’d gotten them for her—and grown to like them, despite my reservations. I’d heard they were mean. (They’re not, she insisted.) And stinky. (Only if you don’t change their bedding, she rebutted.) By the time I discovered they weren’t allowed in New York City’s five boroughs, there was no going back.

 

“They” were ferrets. Peanut and Grizz. Roughly the size and consistency of stockings filled with sand, they had the demeanor of kittens and made the commotion of mice. Perfect for our 300 square foot Hell’s Kitchen apartment. Until the veterinarian across the street told me the bad news: domestic ferrets were—technically—illegal.

 

“But,” the vet said, “They shouldn’t be. Clinics treat them anyway.”

 

Thus began four years of paranoid New York living. My neighbor smoked a kilo of marijuana every Sunday, but I was the scared one in the building. I panicked every time a stranger knocked on the door, throwing a blanket over the cage before answering. I made sure not to make mention of the animals on Facebook. Local pet stores all stocked ferret food, and clerks winked knowingly when I bought it, but my survival instinct kept me jumping at police sirens.

 

One day, to my horror, my building superintendent spotted Grizz from the doorway. But instead of a warrant for my arrest, I got a, “Well isn’t he a cute little guy?”

 

A few days later, I played dumb and asked a cop on 50th Street and Broadway if ferrets were legal. “I think so…” he frowned. At home, I called a few pet-friendly doorman buildings, asking if they were “ferret friendly.” The answers generally amounted to, “Sure.”

 

No one seemed to care about my contraband ferrets.

 

The ferrets are gone now. Despite that, a wave of relief washed over me this summer when I heard that Mayor de Blasio and the NYC Department of Health might legalize them.

 

By this time, I had personally decided that pet ferrets were not vicious (and only somewhat stinky). They were less violent to my couch than the house cats I’d grown up with, and less injurious than my old Labrador back home in Idaho. And Peanut and Grizz were delicate enough that we banned shoes in the house for fear of accidental maimings.

 

I wondered why they were illegal in the first place.

 

“A hundred years ago New York had this big rat problem in the subways,” the teenage clerk at PetLand on 49th Street and 9th Avenue informed me. “So they released ferrets into the tunnels to eat them. Then the city was worried about ferret infestation, so they made them illegal.”

 

Another employee, Erik, had a different story. “Giuliani got it into his head that people were releasing ferrets into the streets,” he said. Then he added, definitively, “I’ve lived here my whole life, and there have only been three ferrets on the loose.”

 

“I heard that someone once dropped a ferret down Michael Wolff’s pants,” said a fellow reporter at dinner the other night. “That’s got to be part of New York City ferret lore.”

 

“Ferrets are illegal?” blurted my incredulous personal trainer the next morning. “Maybe they watched that scene in The Big Lebowski with the ferret in the tub.”

 

It became clear to me that New Yorkers and ferrets have a confused relationship. But the real story was more complicated than any theory I’d heard so far.

 

***

 

Mustela putorius furo have been domesticated for at least 2,500 years. Some experts estimate longer than cats. Early human settlements, likely in North Africa, attracted mice and rats with their food storage. Polecats—from which domestic ferrets descend—came to eat the vermin. “Those that were considered a dangerous pest themselves were killed, and the only ones that survived to produce the next generation were the most docile,” Dr. Richard Bulliet, Columbia University professor of history and animal studies, explained to me.

 

In the wild, the gentlest animals within a species don’t contribute to the next generation because they are killed by predators. However, in early civilization, “Those [laid back polecats] were not eaten by hawks, eagles, and things like that because the humans killed [their] predators,” Bulliet said. Over 20 to 30 generations, polecats became increasingly docile, their adrenal glands reducing in weight by seventy-five percent, diminishing their fight or flight instinct and allowing them to submit to humans as pets.

 

Like dogs, ferrets were employed as hunting aids—chasing rabbits out of burrows—then eventually as companions. They became popular as pets primarily in Europe. (In fact, Leonardo da Vinci painted what appears to be a white ferret in Lady with an Ermine). In the 1980s, a pet ferret fad crossed over to America, where the public routinely misidentified the animal as a rodent—as various news outlets still report—or the wild, American black-footed ferret—whose photo often appears alongside domestic European ferret headlines. Reports of minks attacking people, or feral stoat populations occasionally were misclassified as ferrets. Popular cinema typecast the ferret as a wild and crazy sidekick. But in the real world, ferrets mostly slept 18 hours a day and ate chicken pellets.

 

Forty-eight states eventually adopted ferrets as legal pets, including New York state. But New York City did not deign to jump on the bandwagon.

 

Ferrets aren’t the Big Apple’s first controversial pet. For much of its early history, pigs were NYC’s critter of choice, and wild dogs were the local nuisance. They’re often found on the streets in famous 19th century lithographs, running loose and rooting in the trash—which piled high for centuries until the city installed a sanitation code. On a given month in the 1850s, the City Inspector would report the removal of hundreds of dead dogs, cats, sheep, goats, and hogs from the streetside trash. Rules banning domestic pigs from the streets led to various skirmishes between the Irish and African-American poor and the City in what became known as “the hog riots.”

 

Such mayhem led to the official 1933 Sanitary Code, which laid out specific policy on animals that could be owned in the city at all. The NYC Department of Records has lost the document, but a 1943 Sanitary Code Appendix references the original code, where the section “Keeping of wild animals prohibited” places a ban on “tame or untame lions, bears, wolves, foxes, snakes or other animals with similar vicious propensities.”

 

In 1959 the Sanitation Code was replaced by the Health Code. The City lost that document, too. But the City does have a 1969 amendment that defines “wild animals” not by the scientific definition, but as any species that the City deems “dangerous or naturally inclined to do harm.” It mentions that some “wild” animals like birds are actually not dangerous, and some “domestic” species of dogs are “quite savage” and should be outlawed. Ferrets were not specifically named; however, it appears that the zoological family mustidulae—all of whose species are wild but ferrets—was included in the City’s assumed definition of “wild animals.”  During that period, the increasing number of NYC ferret owners lived in a gray area, claiming their animals were not indeed wild, but fearing confiscation because they were not officially on a “safe list.”

 

By the 1990s, New York State had dropped its requirement that ferret owners obtain so much as a permit for their pets. But in June 1999, the City’s Health Department released an exhaustive list of banned animals to replace the vague one on the books, declaring that illegal animals found to have bitten a New Yorker be immediately euthanized and examined—in that order. Ferrets were lumped in with their wild weasel and badger cousins, to the dismay of ferret advocates. “One does wonder what prompted this specific prohibition,” said Kenneth Cobb, Assistant Commissioner at NYC Department of Records, who could find no record of why ferrets were among the only domestic pets prohibited.

 

Pet advocates claim that the impetus was a fallacious letter sent to the Health Department by a veterinarian 250 miles away in New Hampshire. It compared ferrets to tiger cubs and asserted—with anecdotal evidence—that ferrets had a thing for chewing on babies.

 

The ferret people sued the city.

 

***

 

The late Judge Allen G. Schwartz, the federal justice appointed to the 1999 ferret rights case, was an animal lover and owner of a dog named “Winnie the Poodle,” according to his daughter, Rachel. The group of ferret owners that loitered in his courtroom were a motley mob, a woman with pink hair at the center.

 

They claimed a breach of equal rights—a notoriously hard type of case to prove, explained Rebecca Wisch, Associate Editor of the Animal Legal & Historical Center at Michigan State University. “The plaintiffs had to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the law was unconstitutional. This is an extremely high standard,” Wisch told me. “The city only needed to prove that this law protects the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens.”

 

The defense questioned the validity and interests of the plaintiffs’ two witnesses, a pediatrician and a doctor whose parents owned a large ferret breeding farm (Marshall Farms). The ferret lobby failed to successfully challenge the City’s witnesses, none of whom appear to have had scientific expertise in ferrets—except for one Dr. Charles Rupprecht, chief rabies researcher at the Centers for Disease Control who was overseeing development of a ferret rabies vaccine. Though the ferret lobbyists already had a weak legal argument (in which they would have to prove discrimination based on something as charged as race, religion, etc.), most of the discussion in court centered around whether ferrets were wild animals.

 

According to testimony by Martin Kurtz, Director of the Bureau for Veterinary Public Health Services, “Ferrets remain prone to vicious, unprovoked attacks on humans, particularly children and infants,” the court recorded. Kurtz had no expertise in this area personally. He had resigned from the board of the Center for Animal Care and Control in 1997 after having been accused of mishandling the city’s animal shelter system.

 

The main evidence cited to back up Kurtz’s assertion was a 1988 California study called Pet European Ferrets: A Hazard To Public Health, which stated that infants are “perceived by ferrets as prey.” Over a ten year period, the study showed, 62 infants and children in 18 states had been attacked unprovoked.

 

However, an examination of the study reveals flabbergastingly poor science. Authored by a bat rabies expert and a health care executive, it draws from dubious sources, including an 1837 book by a British dentist and amateur zoologist named Thomas Bell who claimed that the ferret is “excited by the smell and taste of blood.” This document, unsupported by science, became evidence in the 1988 document, which in turn became primary evidence in the 1999 court case.

 

The 62 attacks cited in the study did not provide statistical significance to draw the conclusions that the authors made, and whereas five of the attacks required reconstructive surgery—a horrible thing for a child to require—in the same period an estimated 300,000 American dog bites required such surgery. Approximately 100,000 dog attacks occurred in New York City alone during that time. (The city also recorded 10 ferret bites, more than 2,500 cat bites, 37 rabbit bites, and 52 hamster bites.)

 

A few horrific cases have been reported over the years of ferrets chewing on infants’ ears, fingers, and eyelids. Dr. Erika Matulich, a marketing professor now at University of Tampa and owner of six ferrets, claims to have researched every publicly reported incidence of a ferret attacking a child in the U.S. in order to testify for ferrets in a county in Texas in 1999. “What I found was that in every case, the ferret was in an abuse or starvation situation,” she told me. “Related to most of these cases were associated cases of child abuse as well.”

 

A recent example of this is a highly-publicized 2011 case in which a Missouri couple’s four-month-old had seven fingers chewed off by a starving baby ferret. The story recently ended with a guilty plea for endangerment in exchange for a lightened sentence for the parents, who’d faced prison time. Cell phone data revealed that, despite initially claiming to have been asleep, the parents may have left the child home alone.

 

Ferret opponents haven’t refuted Matulich’s claim, though I wasn’t able to verify it. Statistics, however, indicate that per capita, ferrets are significantly less likely to injure than dogs.

 

The World Health Organization estimates about 4.5 million dog bites occur per year in America. Between 13 and 20 dog bite deaths are reported each year, most of them children. In 2012, a golden retriever dismembered a two-month-old in South Carolina. That same year, a Jack Russell killed a newborn baby of a teenage mother in England. Last year, a pack of chihuahuas mauled a 6-year-old in Oregon. This year, a 3-year-old was killed by a neighbor’s pit bull. (The owner was a 24-year-old mother of three.) And a South Wales child had its head “eaten” by a Malamute in February. According to the nonprofit Dogsbite.org, a dog bite occurs every 75 seconds in the U.S, generating more than 1,000 ER visits per day. Cats aren’t blameless either. In fact, a grown man was airlifted to a hospital after his house cat attacked him in 2011.

 

The 1999 New York Court, however, decided that because the ferret population couldn’t be reliably estimated, ferret bite percentages could be higher than currently thought, though calculations based on the amount of ferret food sold in the U.S. indicate that ferrets are many times less likely to bite a human than a dog.

 

“I always recommend that children be supervised whenever they are playing with their pets,” Dr. Shachar Malka, Diplomate ABVP at the Humane Society of New York and one of approximately 150 exotic pet specialists of his kind in the world, told me. “But I can tell you, I have been bitten by parakeets, hamsters and hedgehogs more than I have ever been bitten by a ferret.”

 

Regardless, the court declared that ferret and dog stats were apples compared to oranges. The court further worried that pet ferrets could form feral populations in the city, or turn rabid. Two instances of feral ferret colonies in the U.S. were cited as proof. However, these colonies involved purposely introduced ferrets with the intention of breeding in the wild to kill vermin. “To my knowledge, feral population of domesticated [runaway pet] ferrets have never been documented,” Dr. Malka told me. Ferrets are sterile by the time they are sold to pet stores, he pointed out. In pets’ case, he said, “This is almost a myth that they can survive in the wild.”

 

Dr. Rupprecht of the CDC put the rabies question to rest. “We had a licensed vaccine. We showed that ferrets shed rabies virus in their saliva in a similar manner that dogs and cats do,” he told me. “It was accepted by the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control.”

 

Other court witnesses cried rabies anyway. Invalid evidence wasn’t dismissed, and the court said that since “ferret ownership is a ‘debatable’ question,” the City’s ban was not unconstitutional. The ferret lobby lost the case.

 

In the ensuing press announcement, Health Commissioner Neal L. Cohen recited another concern brought up by the California study. “In multiple dwelling residences, which are not natural habitats of ferrets, a ferret could crawl through holes in walls or travel along risers or ducts to another apartment,” he said. “The potential consequences for the neighbor of a ferret owner, particularly for an infant neighbor, could be tragic.”

 

Dr. Malka confirmed that this has never happened in New York, and no record could be found of any such occurrence in Tokyo, Toronto, and Chicago.

 

***

 

The ferret people seethed at their loss. They posted line-by-line rebuttals online. They outed the anonymous letter-writer, and, the writer told me, harassed him to the point of depression. They plagued council members and health officials with angry emails and phone calls.

 

Perhaps that’s why in 2001 the City Council passed a vote to officially overturn the ban and be done with it. However, Mayor Giuliani vetoed. He compared legalizing ferrets to legalizing tigers, and ferret advocates claim that one council member called the group, “Evil ferret lovers.”

 

Though he expressed indifference to The New York Times last summer, Giuliani was notoriously passionate about the ferret issue. A clue to why comes from his famous ferret rant in July 1999 in which he called a ferret advocate, David Guthartz, “deranged.” Sure, the mayor was being a jerk, but why did he fly so far off the handle? It appears that Guthartz had been harassing Giuliani for a while, in similar fashion to the persecution of other ferret opponents like the New Hampshire vet—even calling up in the middle of the night. Perhaps the mayor was made grouchy because of these intrusions? Or perhaps he just hated ferrets? Either way, with that rant, the NYC ferret situation transformed from a misunderstood scientific issue to an extremely personal one.

 

Recent research has refuted the arguments in that 1999 case. CDC has officially deemed ferrets rabies-safe. A 2010 California study disproved the assertions of the 1988 study. A rash of experts have spoken out in favor of ferrets. Other major cities allowed ferrets without major incident. And we’ve discovered that humans bite humans more than ferrets bite humans, and human bites become infected a nasty percentage of the time.

 

Meanwhile, ferret ownership in New York has become practically decriminalized. However, unlike opponents of other shrugged-on crimes, like marijuana possession, ferret opponents seem to not want to talk about the issue anymore. Dr. Cohen refused to speak on the record “for many reasons.” The anonymous veterinarian begged me to keep his name out of the story, saying he wishes he never wrote that letter. “If I were to re-write that letter today I would suggest licensing of ferrets rather than a ban,” he said. “There is certainly a greater amount of harm done by and to dogs.” Giuliani’s press office was eager to talk to me, until it heard that the topic was ferrets, then declined to arrange the call. Dr. Kurtz now appears to work for a dessert manufacturer in Illinois and could not be contacted. Judge Schwartz passed away, but his daughter said he was “torn up” about the case. The only witness eager to speak was Dr. Rupprecht, who happened to be the only relevant scientist in court, and despite no personal affinity to ferrets told me, “Is there anything substantive out there about why ferrets should be illegal more than dogs or cats? I don’t think so.” He continued, “If anything, there is less probability of risk in New York City as you would have in rural areas.”

 

Though I was apprehensive about a New York City pet in general, pet ferrets were a pleasant surprise. Grizz, who is now deceased, once bit a three-year-old on the foot after the three-year-old kicked him into the wall. Otherwise, they never behaved “wild”—and certainly not as wild as the skittish goats back home at my parents house, or the neighbor’s hyperactive dog who kills their chickens. Neither Grizz nor Peanut, who now lives in New Mexico, ever crawled through any holes.

 

The NYC Board of Health is holding a public hearing on ferrets on January 21, and plans to vote on the proposal soon after. My paranoia will persist til at least then, though it’s now overshadowed by the fear of one day finding myself holding an armful of ferrets and yelling at civil servants, wondering how I got to this point.

But in the meantime, if NYPD reads this story and comes for my arrest, please tell them to stop by my stoned neighbor’s apartment, too.

This Toothless Pooch Is Taking The Fashion Industry By Storm

This toothless dog has thousands of Instagram followers and a huge fashion campaign!

 

Dogs these days seem to be doing fairly well. In fact, they seem to be doing even better than most humans.

Success stories of pampered pets frequently surface on the Internet, enlightening us common folks with the lavish lives these animals live. These pets are not only given the status of a celebrity, they sometimes have their own advice columns and clothing lines, too. Some of them even make special appearances in music videos and enjoy luxuries that average people can only dream of.

This Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, however, leaves all her counterparts in her tail-wagging dust by landing a spot in a major fashion campaign.

Toast, the toothless pooch, has landed her first big fashion campaign with the high-end fashion house Karen Walker. She will star in the brand’s summer 2015 eyewear campaign accompanying none other than Ms. Walker herself.

“This season sees KW using a celebrity as the face of the brand for the first time,” said Walker in an Instagram post. “This gorgeous redhead’s story is a true Cinderella one. She was discovered living in cruel circumstances, rescued, and quickly rocketed to fame thanks to her wonderful looks, charming personality and inimitable sense of humor.”

This chic pooch has thousands of fans on Instagram who adore her every look and style.

Toast’s teeth were removed when she was rescued from a puppy mill in 2011 by a New York City comedian Josh Ostrovsky and his wife Katie Sturino, as her teeth were pretty rotten at that point.

Along with paying the modeling fee to Toast’s humans, Karen Walker has also made a donation to Friends of Finn – an organization that works to end inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills.

Why Some Dogs Are Riding Shotgun In Motorcycle Sidecars

Nightly News The film "Sit, Stay, Ride" tells the story of 18 motorcycle riders and their dogs, most of them rescues, and why they're "a match made in heaven."

Pet Terminal to be Built at JFK Airport

Posted: Thursday, January 22, 2015 10:30 am

Want to travel, but don’t want to leave your pets behind?

You won’t have to now that a real estate company has leased space at John F. Kennedy International Airport for the transportation of animals ranging from household dogs and cats, horses, livestock and birds.

The animal-friendly terminal will be known as the Ark at JFK and will be developed by real estate company Racebrook Capital.

“We developed The Ark concept to address the unmet needs for the import and export of companion, sporting and agricultural animals,” the Ark at JFK Founder and Racebrook Chairman John Cuticelli Jr. said in a joint statement with officials participating in the development of the project.

The $48-million, 178,000-square-foot facility will be operated by ARK Development, LLC, a subsidiary of Racebrook Capital. The company has agreed to a 30-year lease with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the space.

Build NYC, one of the city’s bond issuers, will sell bonds underwritten by Goldman Sachs to help finance the project.

“The Air Cargo industry at JFK is an important component of New York City’s greater economy, directly responsible for over 17,000 jobs, and The ARK at JFK will help bolster JFK’s competitive advantage as an international air cargo gateway, a major New York City Economic Development Corporation priority,” Jeffrey Lee, executive director of Build NYC, said.

It will be built at the airport’s Building 78, a vacant cargo facility, and will be divided into three sections: a cargo wing, a central administrative building equipped with a 24-hour veterinary hospital and the main facility used for pet boarding, animal import and export and livestock handling.

The terminal is expected to generate 180 jobs and $108 million in profits for the Port Authority over the course of the 30-year lease, Port Authority officials said.

“ARK’s investment of $48 million into JFK will transform an airport structure that has been vacant for nearly 10 years into a world-class specialty cargo facility,” Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said.

The facility is being built by a team of architects specializing in animal care and will provide special care for the animals being transported.

A 20,000-square-foot facility will be set up for the care of cats and dogs, which includes overnight accommodations and grooming and will be operated by Paradise 4 Paws — a Chicago-based company that has pet-boarding facilities throughout the country.

“Paradise 4 Paws has been expanding significantly over the past year, with our most recent opening at Denver International Airport, and we are thrilled to now be able to offer our services to travelers out of JFK Airport,” Saq Nadeem, CEO of Paradise 4 Paws, said.

Veterinary services for the animals at the terminal will be provided by LifeCare Veterinary health system, which has several centers across the country.

Officials did not give a timeline for when the terminal would open.

[12 3  >>  

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