A group of 40-plus protestors gathered on the corner of Main St. and New Hempstead Rd. in New City to show their support of Hi-Tor Animal Care Center.
The protest came from the “Save Hi-Tor” Facebook page, and it was the group’s first kind of public demonstration. They’ve done community outreach and fundraising events in the past. Arlene Kahn, the list administrator for the Facebook page, said they’re planning public demonstrations at town meetings around the county as well.
“We are here to tell the county legislators that we want them to fix up the Hi-Tor Shelter facility, repair it and enlarge it,” she said. “It’s in totally deplorable conditions at this (point) because they are not getting the money they need to repair it and it’s over-crowded.”
She said there’s a 2002 mandate that requires Hi-Tor to give a higher level of care to the animals of the county, but it's unfunded.
“The funds are not here for Hi-Tor to deliver that level of care that’s required,” Kahn said.
The group marched along the sidewalk holding up signs that read “Vanderhoef Give Hi-Tor Money,” “Rockland Government Time To Step Up,” “Legislators! Fund Your Mandates” and more. One dog wore a t-shirt that read “Save Hi-Tor They Saved Me.”
The group also handed out a bio on Hi-Tor that went through the shelter’s history and struggles, as well as ways to support it. Many driving by honked in support, and a few stopped at red lights even gave donations.
The protest was held late in the day so the group could then attend the Rockland County Legislature meeting right after it. At the meeting, Kahn spoke during the public comment portion.
“The size of the shelter is unacceptable,” she said. “The shelter is an embarrassment to Rockland County.”
She also asked the legislators to fund the 2002 mandate.
“This is an unfunded mandate and we believe it is your responsibility to fund this mandate,” she said.
Kahn also told them that as the owners of the facility, they are “responsible to keep a safe and secure shelter, as well as one that is adequately sized for the animals that are required to be taken in.”
Lastly, Kahn thanked Legislators Alden H. Wolfe, Toney Earl, Jay Hood, Jr. and Ed Day for their support of Hi-Tor in to recommend the county fund the rehabilitation of the building where Hi-Tor is currently located.