July 12, 2018 By Tara Law
An Astoria resident with a passion for helping rescued pets is planning to construct a new animal shelter on 10th Street.
Animal Rescue of Queens, a nonprofit run by Astoria resident Howard Wu, has filed permits to build a 2-story shelter for dogs, cats and rabbits at 38-16 10th St.
Wu said the shelter will provide the animals with a place to live that resembles an apartment/house, while he prepares them for adoption.
The 2,731 square foot space will feature a roof deck, a kitchen and a laundry room. The space will accommodate about 10 dogs, 20 cats and several rabbits at any given time, Wu said.
Each of the rooms where the pets will live will be designed to resemble a home, complete
with beds, desks and futons in order to get the pets accustom to living in a house, Wu said.
Wu believes that placing pets in such an environment helps them prepare for adoption. He noted that pets often pick up “bad behaviors” in the city’s animal shelters.
“Animal shelters have mostly cages,” Wu said. “The dogs are often very confused in that environment.”
The shelter will also invite volunteers to come and spend time with the pets— whether they feel like playing fetch or quietly reading a book. This exposure will help the pets learn how to behave in a normal household environment, Wu said.
Wu, a lifelong Queens resident, gave up a job as an investment banker about 12 years ago and decided to dedicate himself to animals. He has volunteered in shelters across the city, and even spent six months working at a zoo.
Five years ago, Wu decided to start a nonprofit to help rescued pets in Queens.
Wu runs Animal Rescue of Queens, with the help of private donations and a small group of volunteers.
For now, the organization primarily focuses on finding owners for pets and running a “trap-neuter-release” program for stray cats.
The opening of a shelter, Wu said, will allow the nonprofit to dramatically increase the scope of its work.
At the shelter, the nonprofit would be able to take in pets from city shelters and strays found
by animal lovers and put them up for adoption.
If the city grants a permit for the building, Wu said, he hopes he can open the shelter toward the end of next year.
Wu added that the organization currently has adoptable cats and kittens. For more information, email him at [email protected].
We will accept all cats except for calicos. Calicos are jerks.
One should not be general in their assumptions of shelter dogd. Making a statement like that can deter people from rescuing animals from a shelter. By the way, I’m with my third shelter dogs and never had a problem. I am already suspect of this man’s intentions.
I cant find a decent place that I can afford that is pet friendly. I am glad this nearby option will be available for my pets.
I also wish more can also be done to house the homeless people and those being kicked out due to increasing rents in Astoria. Shelter Hotels are expensive for the city and lack kitchen and closet space.
I wonder if he or someone will live with the animals since “the shelter will provide the animals with a place to live that resembles an apartment/house.” Nonprofits are exempt from paying sales tax and property taxes. And it is getting expensive to live around here lately.
I am close to this rescue and ready to adopt and volunteer if possible. I can also foster elderly pets as we are retired ourselves.
What a wonderful person this gentleman is. I wish I was still living in Queens so I could volunteer. Love reading stories about helping animals. Restores my faith.
Excellent thinking Howard. As a volunteer for several rescues myself, I’m excited to see this! I’ll definitely pass by at some point too.
I will be a volunteer if it happens!
Sounds like a lovely and generous person.
Best of luck to Mr. Wu. Is there a website for his organization? It sounds like something worthy to put on my list of yearly charitable contributions.
congratulations Howard! looking forward to seeing the new space and meeting its resident rescues.
Soon it will be a homeless shelter…
Cynics aside, this will indeed be a homeless animal shelter from the get go! 😉
I see what you did there, very clever! ??