Furry Friends in Need

Towels and other items were collected and donated to local shelters.
Towels and other items were collected and donated to local shelters.

The Animal Rights Association of New Paltz (ARA) held a fundraiser to collect blankets, towels and old clothing to be donated to local animal hospitals and shelters.

Founded last semester, the ARA is a collective where members can present topics and coordinate activities to figure out how to best aid the most animals. From February 29 to March 14 the items were collected and later donated to the New Paltz Animal Hospital and the Ulster Country Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), a no-kill shelter in Kingston.

“Everyone has had an animal that has affected their life in one way or another, usually a pet that will forever hold a special place in their heart,” Kaitlin Montelione, founder of the ARA, said. “I think that animals are so important and can be healing. Animals give unconditional love and will always listen.”

Jamie Zucker, second-year elementary education major and member of the ARA, said that shelters mostly need the towels and blankets to line the animals’ plastic or metal cages.

“In some cases, I’ve seen a blanket become a sort of comfort object for the animal,” Zucker said. “It provides warmth and familiarity in a very scary and unknown world.”

Zucker said the towel drive is a vital opportunity for donations for the animal shelters, but only a part of the larger picture.

“It’s important for people to get involved because there are a huge amount of homeless animals and lack of volunteers and supplies,” Zucker said. “ARA and the towel drive are just a small part of a much bigger picture.”

Moshe Siegel, who has been a veterinary assistant for six  years, said the struggling economy doesn’t provide for a great donation climate, despite the number of stray animals in the Hudson Valley area being an epidemic.

“It’s a tough economy for humans, let alone pets; many of our clients juggle their own needs in favor of caring for their four-legged family members — not an ideal situation for anyone involved, and this doesn’t even cover the ‘homeless’ and stray animals who require care and have no guardians to look after them,” Siegel said.

Collection boxes for the drive were placed throughout the Student Union (SU) and the Jacobson Faculty Tower (JFT).