The Muppets take Manhattan

By Francis Battista

Drumroll, please!

OK, not the Muppets, but it’s a great headline!

This week, the newest Best Friends Pet Adoption Center will open in SoHo, one of New York City’s prime retail districts and a must-visit destination for visitors from across the country and around the world. SoHo is also a thriving center of social life in lower Manhattan.

This project has been a long time in the making, but thanks to a tremendous amount of commitment and effort from staff across the organization, we are ready to open this week. The New York center will hold a special place in the Best Friends-led initiative to achieve a no-kill nation by 2025.

A major component of reaching the 2025 goal is to help organize animal welfare groups around effective, targeted practices that have been proven to achieve no-kill at the community level. It’s also important for the no-kill movement to enlighten every American to the fact that nearly 5,500 animals are killed in shelters every single day. Without more awareness of the issue and support from the pet-loving public, no-kill surely will be reached one day ― but not by 2025. Best Friends is leading a coalition of organizations across the country to end the killing nationwide.

The Best Friends‒New York adoption center in SoHo will not only save lives from the New York City shelter system (on its own, a very noble goal), but the center places shelter pets alongside the most desirable retail brands in the world in one of the highest-traffic consumer destinations in the country. That’s important, because in the long run, general consumers and their valuation of shelter pets will be key to sustaining the work of the no-kill movement we are leading.

In New York City, we will grow our partnership with Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) to help complete and sustain the no-kill effort that has been led by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. Best Friends will share this adoption resource with our partner organizations that also take pets from New York’s city shelters. Half the animal space in our new operation will be given to other organizations to showcase their adoptions, and half will be for the New York shelter animals who come through Best Friends’ on-the-ground program in the country’s largest city.

But there’s more. There will be a glass-enclosed kitten nursery on display to highlight the unique needs of these most fragile and at-risk shelter animals. Every care has been taken to create a safe and healthy environment for these babies and for every pet at the center. The entire space is technically designed with the safety features of an intensive care unit. It includes rapid air exchange and positive pressure ventilation of individual spaces, along with custom-designed enclosures that are easy to clean and disinfect.

Moreover and maybe most important of all, besides being a hip, high-end pet adoption center, Best Friends’ SoHo operation is an interactive space that immerses visitors in the no-kill cause and the national movement within a complete Best Friends experience ― from our Sanctuary in Utah to our regional centers and special programs around the country.

Our mission is to end the killing of homeless pets in our nation’s shelters. We are leading a national campaign, so what better place to showcase that campaign than in one of the busiest sections of our nation’s largest city and media hub? If you didn’t catch it, check out this great piece from anthropologist Barbara J. King on the Best Friends effort to take the nation to no-kill.

Together, we will Save Them All.

Julie Castle


Best Friends Animal Society