Plans for animal shelter in Co-op City sparks debate

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CO-OP CITY -

Residents, local organizations and elected officials are at odds over plans to build a 40,000-square-foot animal shelter in Co-op City.

The proposed animal shelter, which would be located on Bartow Avenue, was the focus of a public hearing Thursday. 

Representatives from the mayor's office and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene spoke about plans to develop the facility into a veterinary clinic, animal shelter and administrative space. The location was chosen from among more than a dozen potential sites. Officials ultimately selected Co-op City due to the amount of space available.

Residents who attended the meeting voiced their disapproval. They say the facility will not work in their area, because they are not even allowed to have household pets other than service dogs.

"It will depreciate the whole entire community, because what happens is when you start letting animals come in, there's always people that don't police their animals," says Co-op City resident Jerome L. Rice. "They don't clean up after their animals, and that becomes a problem, and that's something we didn't ask for."

The plan for the proposed $27 million animal shelter is to have it fully functioning by 2024.

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