Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino and Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney announced today that the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter and its animal control officers earned perfect scores in two recent inspections conducted by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Division of Animal Industry. According to the service reports, the shelter’s officers, equipment, housing areas and procedures received affirmative recognition in every single category that is subject to review.
“It comes as no surprise that our animal shelter and its officers landed an excellent review,” said Santino. “The Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter is committed to providing a safe, clean and playful environment for all rescued cats and dogs, and we’re proud to receive perfect grades in both of these New York State inspections.”
Each inspection was broken down into multiple categories in which the municipal shelter and its officers received top grades in each one. In the first report, the inspection lauded the remarkable perseverance of the animal control officers. It noted the abundance of sanitary equipment for use, the proper transfer to a veterinarian or the shelter, the immediate notification to owners of identified rescues and the perfect maintenance of all records of recovered animals. Additionally, the inspection indicated that properly-timed redemption periods, where an owner can claim a lost pet, were observed before putting the rescued animals back up for adoption.
The second report, dedicated to the municipal shelter as a whole, acclaimed the shelter’s spacious housing area, impeccable sanitation, appropriate ventilation, and abundance of healthy food and water. The inspection particularly noted the cheery atmosphere of the shelter and the gently lit, comfortable temperatures of the housing areas. The inspection also verified the structurally sound foundation of the shelter and its prime setting to house an abundance of rescued animals.
Animal control officers play a key role in animal shelter operations, as they are the people who are responsible for the procurement, holding and transportation of all lost, abused and stray animals. They also maintain records of all of the animals they rescue for at least three years and properly care for them until they are safely transferred to the shelter for adoption purposes or to be reclaimed by owners. Hempstead Town animal control officers are certainly kept busy, as the inspection noted that 1,000 dogs have been rescued since their last inspection, conducted one year ago. Accordingly, almost 3 dogs per day are rescued by animal control officers.
Each officer undergoes a rigorous testing process and must have at least one year’s experience in dealing with domestic animals to be considered for employment. Once employed, the officer receives on-the-job training to safely apprehend fractious animals and gently rescue traumatized ones. As the inspection noted, the officers are also trained in rescuing animals trapped in cars and tracking packs of wild dogs, among other job skills. Hempstead Town animal control officers have also assisted police forces in responding to animal-related crimes such as gang-run dog fighting rings, petnapping and animal abuse cases.
“I am proud that the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter continues to receive top-notch marks in these thorough inspections,” stated Councilwoman King Sweeney.
Hempstead Town Animal Shelter also operates a Trap, Neuter and Return Program, a humane solution to the overpopulation problem of feral cats. The officers safely trap feral cats, transport them to the shelter to be spayed/neutered, and then, after a recovery period, return them to their original, preferred environment. The TNR Program was established in December 2010 and has already made strides in reducing stray feline overpopulation, servicing over 12,800 cats. Hempstead Town operates the most expansive TNR Program of any town on Long Island.
The shelter has recently opened a brand new cattery at the shelter, where cats waiting for adoption will have additional room to stretch in the windowed sunlight and socialize with both feline and human companions. The cattery includes cat trees, scratching posts, toys and windowsills with views of the outdoors. All of the cats have access to food, clean water and litterboxes.
“Once again, I’m impressed with Hempstead Town’s Animal Shelter and its officers as they continue to receive flawless inspection reports,” concluded Santino. “As always, we encourage our residents to adopt, not shop, when looking for a new furry friend for the family.”