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Long Beach, TV show partner for shelter

The City of Long Beach and the stars of National Geographic Channel’s reality television series “Rescue Ink Unleashed” celebrated the reopening of the Long Beach Animal Shelter Sunday.

The crew of Rescue Ink has a $15,000 contract with the city to operate and maintain the seven-room facility on 77 Park Place for one year. The animal welfare group based in Ozone Park, Queens — made up largely of heavily tattooed motorcycle riders who have an “in-your-face” approach to stopping animal abuse — will staff the facility and work in cooperation with the city’s Animal Control office, city officials said.

“The City chose Rescue Ink to operate the shelter because of their commitment to the safety and well being of all animals, and for their support of pet adoptions,” City Manager Charles T. Theofan said in a statement, adding the group has ties to the city. One of the members has lived in Long Beach for years, said Joe Panz, founding member of Rescue Ink.

The city-owned building was recently rehabilitated through four months of planning and construction, Panz said. The shelter will be able to house about 20 animals, he said.

“We painted the shelter with flames,” said Panz, who approached the city six months ago to open the first shelter run by the group. “It looks like it is on fire.”

The city operated a shelter in the same building for almost 25 years until it was closed in 2007, when City Manager Edwin Eaton contracted the services out to the Freeport Animal Shelter at a reduced cost to the city, said Long Beach spokeswoman Mary Melia Giambalvo.

“Everybody wants to make sure this shelter facility succeeds,” said Panz, adding the all-volunteer group will work with local rescue groups and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “It takes a community to run a shelter and Long Beach is a wonderful community.”

For more information, visit or call 855-772-8465.

Above: Members of Rescue Ink, in this 2008 photo, pose with animals they rescued.


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