Supporters launched a petition and released photos in an effort to draw attention to Hi-Tor Animal Care Center’s conditions prior to a Tuesday legislative committee review of the shelter. A shelter official said county budgeted funds and use of Hi-Tor’s reserve will allow the shelter to operate until July, possibly a little longer.
“Our budget for 2012 shows our reserve will run out before the end of the year,” said Roberta Bangs, president of Hi-Tor’s Board of Directors. “We can’t run without operating funds. We’ve had deficits every year for the past three years.”
The group, Help Save Hi-Tor Animal Shelter, started its petition on Friday and its web site shows almost 700 signatures. The petition is addressed to county Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef and 39 county and municipal officials. Bangs said group members plan to bring the petition to upcoming events.
She said the meeting among various branches of government is a necessity in order to address Hi Tor’s situation and years of neglect.
“It has to be the county, legislature and towns coming together,” Bangs said.
She noted that residents have stepped up and last year about $150,000 was raised. Bangs emphasized that money went toward operating expenses; a responsibility she believes belongs to the municipalities. She said donations should be used for amenities.
The legislature’s meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday and the public is invited to the meeting.
The letter from the Save Hi-Tor Shelter group titled "Why This Is Important."
Hi Tor Animal Care Center, Rockland County’s only animal shelter, is in dire financial straits. It’s been projected that if the shelter doesn’t receive additional funding from the County and the five Towns that contract with them, they will have to close their doors by July 2012. Rockland County says it is the Towns’ responsibility and the Towns say it’s the County’s responsibility to fund Hi Tor.
It is unacceptable that Hi Tor Animal Care Center operates in an antiquated, obsolete facility and receives inadequate funding to provide current standards of humane shelter care and to satisfy public expectations for the treatment of stray or homeless animals. It is up to the municipalities, Rockland County and the five Towns, to provide the necessary funds to ensure proper shelter, food, and water for the nearly 2,500 lost, surrendered and abandoned pets that enter the shelter each year.
The Hi Tor staff and Board of Directors have diligently worked to provide essential care, promote adoptions, aggressively support spay/neuter programs, promote responsible pet ownership and dramatically reduce the incidence of euthanasia. It is quickly becoming impossible to continue to provide these essential services under the existing conditions and without sufficient funding.
The Humane Society of the United States notes a national community average expenditure of $8 per resident per year for animal care and control in 2009, yet in Rockland, government funding for the shelter cumulatively amounts to about $0.64 per resident per year. In a county as affluent as Rockland, this situation is a disgrace and cannot be tolerated. I support an annual County tax of $20 per household to be utilized solely for the support of an animal care/control facility adequate to provide for the needs of the community.