On September 15, 2015, Pets Alive Westchester (PAW) in Elmsford, NY, shut its doors for good after a five-year run as a no kill animal sanctuary. Structural issues with a 40,000 square foot building coupled with declining revenue and increasing operating costs forced the closure announced on July 18, 2015. Pets Alive also operates a no kill sanctuary on an 80-acre property in Middletown, NY, which is now the home of the remaining PAW animals that were not adopted before it had to close its doors. Both sanctuaries ran a “Free Love” adoption event where adoption fees were waived – but only asked for a donation of the adopter’s choosing – to encourage adoptions prior to closing.
While many animals found homes, Pets Alive in Middletown will now care for the remaining 61 cats and dogs that once lived at Pets Alive Westchester. This adds to Pets Alive’s total population, now over 300 dogs, cats and farm animals. They also took over continued care of animals in PAW’s “Forever Foster” program.
“In addition to the animals we transferred to Pets Alive Middletown, over 50 cats and dogs from PAW are being fostered by families – hopefully for life,” said Dr. Joseph D’Abbraccio, DVM, acting Board President and Chairman. “As part of the Forever Foster program, Pets Alive continues to pay for the animal’s medical needs over his or her lifetime.”
The transfer of dogs to Pets Alive Middletown began weeks ago, with staff and volunteers transporting a few dogs at a time. This helped the dogs acclimate to their new surroundings and
enabled Pets Alive staff to familiarize themselves with each dog. This was particularly critical for what PAW called the “legacy dogs”. Many of the dogs transferred to Middletown were dogs who lived at the sanctuary for years, pre-dating 2010, when Pets Alive took over the Central Westchester Humane Society (also known as Elmsford Animal Shelter). Many of the dogs from Elmsford Animal Shelter were deemed aggressive and had lived in the shelter almost their entire lives. Over the years since Pets Alive owned the facility, they invested nearly $600,000 in the building including new kennels, new air conditioning units and other needed repairs. They also invested many resources to find homes for the majority of the animals, including a team of dedicated staff and volunteers who helped to walk and socialize the dogs. Nearly 20 legacy dogs remain and have now found a home at Pets Alive Middletown, who will continue to care for these dogs and will work to get them further socialized and adopted.
“As a no kill animal sanctuary, we have an allegiance to the Pets Alive Westchester animals – and this will take continued funding,” said Melissa Johnson, Treasurer and member of the board.
As for the future of the facility, the Pets Alive board is exploring options to ensure the longevity and viability of no kill animal sanctuary in Westchester County. The board met multiple times over the past months with Paul Feiner, Town of Greenburgh Supervisor and his administration to discuss options for the property. Pets Alive was in negotiations with the town to transfer ownership of the property back to the town who originally owned the property before Elmsford Animal Shelter acquired it, but these discussions ended as the town has no interest in acquiring the property. Pets Alive is now accepting proposals for acquisition of the property by a qualified no kill animal rescue organization.
“Taking on the property is a major undertaking that requires current assets and continuous financial support,” said D’Abbraccio. “Pets Alive is committed to seeing the property be acquired by a group with long-standing ties to the community and an active 501(c)3 status.”
Any qualified animal rescue organization that is interested in submitting a proposal should reference the required criteria and submission guidelines at the following website and submit it no later than October 10, 2015: http://www.petsalive.com/2015Change/.
Donations to continue support for the Pets Alive Westchester animals can also be made online via this special website or by mailing a donation to Pets Alive, 363 Derby Road, Middletown, NY 10940. Any questions can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
About Pets Alive
Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary is a private, nonprofit organization 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. The sanctuary is located at 363 Derby Road, Middletown. Visit petsalive.org and follow them on Facebook.com/PetsAlive and Twitter.com/PetsAlive.