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Out of the Cage! The Blog of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals

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Wheels of HopeOut of the Cage! (Fall/Holiday 2007)

PETCO Foundation Funds Expansion of Mayor's Alliance Transport Fleet

A brand new minivan hit the road just before Thanksgiving, transporting dogs and cats from Animal Care & Control shelters to other Alliance Participating Organizations (APOs) that will find them new homes. The newest addition to the Mayor's Alliance Wheels of Hope fleet, which now includes three vehicles, was made possible by a grant from the PETCO Foundation.

"We are tremendously grateful to Director Paul Jolly and the PETCO Foundation for their support of this crucial Mayor's Alliance program," says Jane Hoffman, Mayor's Alliance President. "The additional transport capacity this vehicle provides will enable the Mayor's Alliance to increase the number of animals transferred from Animal Care & Control and, as a result, increase the number of lives we can save."

By year's end, the number of animals transported by the Mayor's Alliance's Wheels of Hope program is expected to reach 2,500, according to Ms. Hoffman. This number represents roughly 20 percent of the 12,000 dogs and cats transferred from AC&C to Alliance member shelters and rescue groups in 2007. The Wheels of Hope program supplements the transport capacity of the participating organizations, and directly and positively impacts the total number of dogs and cats saved in New York City.

The new Chrysler Town & Country Minivan was customized for animal transport by Mavron, the leading manufacturer of animal transport van and truck conversions. This is the first minivan ever customized for animal transport by Mavron. Lessons learned from the first Mayor's Alliance transport vehicle — a standard minivan with removable passenger seats — provided a blueprint for the new conversion. This particular model came equipped with separate compressors in the front and back, providing separate controls for heating and air conditioning, to ensure that the animals and driver are comfortable. To customize the vehicle for animal transport, the passenger seats and rugs were removed; a drain was installed in the floor to facilitate cleaning; and a sliding window was installed in the partition between the driver and the animals to provide the driver with better contact with the animals.

With the inevitable rise in the cost of fuel, the new minivan will provide greater economy that a full-sized van. Among the minivan's other positive features are a camera that allows the driver a clear view of the rear of the vehicle, especially helpful when backing up, and a GPS satellite navigation device that charts the transport's course and helps the driver navigate unfamiliar routes.

With demand for transports remaining high, often requiring road trips seven days a week, additional transport vehicles will be needed to replace the older vehicles. The Mayor's Alliance invites companies and individuals to help keep the wheels of hope turning by supporting this vital program in ways large and small. You might fund the entire purchase of a new vehicle, as the PETCO Foundation did, and have your company's logo appear on the van. Or donate toward a future purchase, or to help cover the costs of operating the Wheels of Hope program, which include fuel, maintenance, and drivers' salaries.

Again, the Mayor's Alliance wishes to thank the PETCO Foundation for its generous grant. Anyone interested in providing future support for the Wheels of Hope transport program can contact the Mayor's Alliance at