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]