New York's Kindest: A REALTOR® is a Pooch's Best Friend

The Big Apple is a big place, and not everyone can get to a pet-adoption center. With nearly 30,000 homeless animals in NYC, the Fenwick Keats real estate firm made it easier to match pets with loving homes.

March 19, 2014

Robert Anzalone's heart breaks for every abandoned pet that comes in and out of the Animal Care & Control (AC&C) centers in New York City. For six years, Anzalone, a licensed broker and chairman and CEO of the Fenwick Keats Real Estate firm, has been volunteering with the shelters.

"I saw, first-hand, wonderful animals that had been abandoned, abused, and left on the streets of NYC," Anzalone says. They likely reminded him of his own heroic experience seven years ago, when he scooped up a white Cairn Terrier, the product of a puppy mill, from a shady pet shop that was closing that day. Anzalone named the dog Sadie, who is now Fenwick Keats' mascot.

But what Anzalone has seen at AC&C over the years is a severely underfunded operation that is in desperate need of more help getting precious pooches and cuddly kittens into warm and loving homes. According to the office of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Pets, AC&C's 2012 intake of homeless pets stood near 30,000.

"The staff and volunteers [at AC&C] did the best they could given the city budget allowance," Anzalone says. "We at Fenwick Keats see it as our responsibility as a private business to step up and not rely solely on city funding to save lives and find homes for these abandoned pets."

The firm began partnering with AC&C and hosting pet-adoption events out of AC&C's old, borrowed pet-adoption vehicle, which allows volunteers to take the animals around the city to various adoption locations.

"It was a terrific opportunity to bring the pets out of the shelters and into the hearts and minds of New Yorkers," Anzalone says. "It worked, but it just wasn't enough. We were only able to borrow the vehicle once every two or three months."

Fenwick Keats began exploring how much it would cost to design and build its own "mobile pet-adoption unit" for AC&C's exclusive weekly use, Anzalone says. It turned out that the NYC chapter of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) had funds for just such a project.


Fenwick Keats and ASPCA collaborated on the design of the vehicle, taking about a year to build it. Last month, they unveiled their creation at a mobile adoption event in Manhattan. The vehicle will be given to AC&C to use on a weekly basis, far more frequently than it was able to use its last one, which was borrowed from an animal group on Long Island.


"The new Mobile Adoption Center will enable AC&C to reach New Yorkers in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs, saving  animals' lives in the process," AC&C says in a statement. "AC&C's three full-service care centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island are open for adoptions seven days a week, but not everyone can make it to these locations to adopt. ... The Mobile Adoption Center will help AC&C work toward its goal to find placement for every single cat, dog, and rabbit that comes through its doors."

Graham Wood
Senior editor

Graham Wood is senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at