For the last six years, Animal Center of Queens in Rego Park has served as a haven for dogs and cats while they wait to be adopted.
But higher rent demands from the building’s landlord will force the center’s owner to move to a new location in Ozone Park.
Boris Milyazov, who runs the animal center at 89-10 Eliot Avenue, said that he could not the $2,500 rent the landlord wants on top of other costs, like utilities, the not-for-profit business pays for the small space it has. The current rent is $1,850. He added that another contributing factor to moving out of the building was that the basement would often flood because of a broken sewer pipe. Milyazov said that the landlord was unwilling to fix the pipe.
Milyazov said, the animal center has stayed open without a lease for the past year and he is hoping to stay open at least an additional month or two while he tries to negotiate a new lease with the landlord. Negotiations have stalled because the landlord was only willing to give him a new lease of three years, a time period that Milyazov said was too short.
Unable to negotiate a new lease contract, the center found a new location on Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park, after a four month search.
Although the $3,000 a month rent for the new building is higher than it would have been had they remained in Rego Park, Lori Carpino, the animal center’s adoption manager, said that the new space was attractive to them because it is 2,000 square feet, which is larger than their current location. Milyazov said that the new building is in much better condition than the Rego Park space and does not need any major repairs.
Carpino also said that the larger space allows them to let the animals walk around if they want to instead of staying in a cage all day, which is good when people are looking at an animal to adopt.
“It’s easier on the adopters to see the cat being itself,” Carpino said. She added that the new building has two floors and it can accommodate about 115 animals.
She said that although there was a possibility that the animal center would have to close down, she was determined to keep it open and find a new place for the animals.
“Those animals will always be my responsibility,” said Carpino, who has been at the animal center for five years. “I wasn’t just going to walk away from them.”
Carpino and Milyazov said that the move should be completed within the next three weeks.
By Luis Gronda