Rescuing animals was a family business for Sean Casey. With a mother who ran a makeshift trap-neuter-and-release program for cats and five siblings who brought home strays, Casey learned not to be afraid of claws.
“We grew up in a family of cats," said Casey, 35, who has owned and operated his own nonprofit shelter, Sean Casey Animal Rescue (SCAR), in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, for 18 years. Since opening, the no-kill shelter has saved over 8,000 animals.
Casey believes the community has played a key role in SCAR's success. "Most shelters love animals but hate people," he said, explaining that many are located in remote, non-residential areas. Cynicism and liability concerns, he said, keep those shelters away.
But he knows people are part of the solution and works closely with his local community. Casey also runs a job training and community service program to educate high school students on proper care and responsible pet ownership.
"It's karma. You do the right thing and good things happen," Casey said.