Animal Welfare and its Future in the Bronx: A Discussion with Pedro Rosario

Having dinner at La Casa del Sabor on East Tremont, the conversation turns to the state of animal rescue in the Bronx. Anyone in the animal rescue business knows that these talks usually consists of struggles, whether it is dealing with aggressive or negligent pet owners, seeing abuse, financial hardships, physical exhaustion of trapping feral animals for Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), and the lack of support received from local politicians. Being the only no-kill, non-profit animal shelter in the Bronx, Pedro Rosario, founder of New Beginning Animal Rescue, knows all too well.

“We always need funds and volunteers.” Rosario said. A long-time Bronx resident, Rosario came to New York City from the Dominican Republican at age five and has always been around animals. Starting out at the Fordham Road Animal Care & Control Receiving Center, he cleaned floors and then was transferred to the Manhattan location where he worked in the medical department. When he was placed in the Adoptions Department, he described what he witnessed, “I was exposed to all the reasons why people gave up their pets and most of it was over minor things that could easily be solved.” He has witnessed many scenes that sometimes long-term animal rescuers do not even experience, like the arrest of 80 people in one night from a rooster fighting ring by the ASPCA Law Enforcement Department.

Photo courtesy of Debbie Powers

Rosario continued working until the harsh realities and frustrations from bureaucracies of shelter life got to be too much, “Being one of the people that had to assign animals to be euthanized, I got to the point where I questioned myself on what I was doing. It took awhile but it got to me.”

This is what drove him to open his own animal shelter in the Bronx. Founded in 2011, the 5,000-square-foot shelter on Newbold Avenue has dogs and cats available for adoption. The animals that they take in are found on the street, are surrendered by owners, or are rescued from NYC Animal Care and Control centers before they are euthanized. In their years of operation, New Beginning Animal Rescue has had many fundraisers and adoption fairs but also serve the community it other ways. The shelter works with at-risk youth and people with disabilities in teaching them how to interact and care for animals. In addition to this, Rosario discussed with CEO of Devil Dogs USA, Inc., Sergeant Gonzalo Duran, the possibility of starting a Veteran’s program to focus on therapy dogs for those with disabilities. Our organizations will partner together in the up coming year to plan a fundraising event for New Beginning Animal Rescue.

Photo courtesy of Debbie Powers

One of the biggest struggles Rosario faces is having enough funding as the non-profit does not get city funding and relies on private donations. New Beginnings is hoping to find their own property so that they can still operate but without the raising costs of rent.

“The job is not difficult because I love it. Even with all the struggles, we will still continue the hard work that comes with giving homeless animals homes.”

To help keep New Beginning Animal Rescue open, donations can be made to their GoFundMe page.

If you are interested in adopting an animal and giving them a furever home, the adoption forms can be found here or visit the shelter located at, 2515 Newbold Avenue, Bronx, NY 10462 between the hours of 10am and 6pm.

Featured image courtesy of Debbie Powers

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