Pets Alive Westchester: Funding Needed to Improve Housing for Dogs

Shed

Example of the micro-kennel.
Bearlock HolmesBearlock Holmes, a Pets Alive Westchester dog available for adoption

 

Pets Alive Westchester is seeking help from the community to add some additional dog housing to the Pets Alive, Inc. facility in Middletown, NY. On September 15, 2015, Pets Alive Westchester closed their facility in Elmsford, NY due to major structural issues with the building caused by settlement, declining revenue and increasing costs. All animals that remained at the time of closure – over 60 cats and dogs – were transferred to the Pets Alive, Inc. no kill animal sanctuary in Middletown. This resulted in the dog population growing at the Middletown facility by more than 30 dogs, many of whom are legacy dogs who have been in a shelter for years with behavioral challenges.

“We are particularly challenged this year and need to provide safe, indoor housing for all our dogs,” said Dr. Joseph D’Abbraccio, Acting President and Chairman of the Board.

During the spring and summer months, the dogs live in an outside kennel area called Camp Tyler, and are moved into an indoor kennel during the fall and winter.

“Although all of the dogs can fit into the kennels at the Middletown facility safely, we put a strong focus on housing that enables the dogs to succeed in their training and rehabilitation,” said D’Abbraccio. “Quiet, comfortable environments are essential to their enrichment program and to heal from the traumatic experiences many have experienced.”

Pets Alive Westchester is therefore seeking help from the community to fund the purchase of three “micro-kennels” that will cost over $25,000 for the Middletown facility. These kennels will be custom made and are comprised of several indoor/outdoor runs each. The micro-kennels have the benefit of being quieter and less stressful for the dogs, while also providing the sanctuary with flexible housing options during the winter months when space is at a premium. A building permit from the Town of Wallkill has been secured and bids have been obtained from multiple suppliers of kennels. The customized structures will be built at a supplier’s factory and then delivered intact. Ground preparation should begin shortly.

As for the disposition of the property in Elmsford, prior to the closure of the facility, the Board and the Town of Greenburgh Administration discussed having Pets Alive Westchester turn the property over to the town. This would enable the town to gift it to another animal rescue, given a deed restriction only allowed use of the property for either municipal purposes or as an animal shelter. However, the town did not want to pursue that option. Subsequent to this decision, the Board posted an “RFP” or Request for Proposal to invite animal rescues to acquire the property. This process would ensure a qualified rescue with financial means would be able to repair the building and run it as a no kill animal rescue. An initial estimate from engineers in December 2014 reported a price tag of $1.1M to repair the building in Elmsford.

On September 21, the Town of Greenburgh Building Department issued a “No Occupancy / Use” notice, advising the Board that the Elmsford building cannot be used until further repairs are made to ensure the structural integrity of the building. On or about October 10, several rescues did respond to the RFP and submitted a proposal. The Board is still working through issues identified per the town’s notice on how the building needs to be repaired before it can once again be occupied. As soon as these issues raised by the town are resolved, which should be shortly, Pets Alive Westchester can move forward with having another animal rescue take over the facility. In the meantime, a security firm watches over the property on a daily basis, the building has been winterized as the weather now changes, and the Board met with the Attorney General’s office and began preliminary discussions on requirements needed for approval to transfer the property to another no kill animal rescue.

If you’d like to donate to help defray the cost of the micro-kennels, a fundraiser has been set up at: www.youcaring.com/Pets-Alive-help-the-dogs. A donation can also be made by mailing a check to Pets Alive Westchester, Attn: Housing, 363 Derby Road, Middletown, NY 10940. For more information, email contactus@petsalive.org.

For on-going information about the Elmsford property, to visit a special website at: www.petsalive.com/2015Change/

About Pets Alive, Inc. and Pets Alive Westchester
Pets Alive, Inc. and Pets Alive Westchester are both private, nonprofit organizations supported entirely on donations. Our mission is to improve the lives of companion animals everywhere by any means possible, including rescue, adoption, advocacy, intervention, education and collaboration.