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East Side, West Side

All around the town, New York official sees chances to help animals

  • Dr. Stephanie Janeczko examines a cat

    Veterinary consultant Dr. Stephanie Janeczko examines a cat at Animal Care & Control of New York City. KATTY CALDERON/ANIMAL CARE & CONTROL OF NEW YORK CITY

They call New York the city that never sleeps, and as director of operations for Animal Care & Control, Mike Pastore has to keep up with his town.

He’s been on the job for all kinds of animal calls, including cats big and small—for the Bengal tiger kept in a Harlem apartment in 2003 and for Molly the cat, who sparked an international media phenomenon in 2006 when she got lost inside a Greenwich Village building, prompting a two-week search-and-rescue effort that included a pet psychic.

A veteran of 17 years in animal welfare, Pastore says he’s grateful for a job that offers daily opportunities to save animals and to help educate people in a city as dynamic as New York. The city poses undeniable challenges—traffic, old buildings, and high-crime areas, to name a few—but Pastore sees animal welfare in Gotham moving in the right direction. Shelter intake and euthanasia rates have dropped, and people seem to be grasping the responsibilities of pet ownership, holding on to their animals rather than surrendering or abandoning them, he says.

In the edited interview that follows, Pastore—whose own pets include a dog, a cat, a snake, a gerbil, and a hamster—discusses his career with Animal Sheltering associate editor James Hettinger.

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