NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There's good news for low-income pet owners in New York City. The ASPCA is opening three new centers across the Big Apple to care for tens of thousands of animals. The ASPCA is also building a 50,000 sq. ft. in the Hudson Valley to rehabilitate abused dogs rescued through the nonprofit's partnership with the NYPD.
The organization's president and CEO Matt Bershadker told CBS2's Tara Jakeway the purpose of the initiative is to address two big problems for pet owners in this city.
"The first is the lack of affordable, accessible quality veterinary care, and the second is the lack of true opportunities for victims of cruelty to recover, to rehabilitate and to find loving homes," he said.
The new centers, he says, will open over the coming months in underprivileged communities in the Bronx, East New York and northern Manhattan. They'll provide lower cost pet care, like vaccines and neuter and spay surgeries.
"These are communities where animals are being relinquished into ACC, into our animal care centers, so the goal is actually to keep these animals in the homes where they are," Bershadker said.
Homes where many city residents are struggling to make their own ends meet.
"About a quarter of New Yorkers are living in poverty. So what that means is there's about 500,000 animals within New York City that are living in poverty," Bershadker said.
The ASPCA hopes the new centers will provide pets with a fighting chance at a full life with a family that can now afford pet care.
Bershadker says they also hope lowering the cost of pet care will allow more New Yorkers the opportunity to take pets into their homes.
The first center is slated to open this upcoming fall in the south Bronx.
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