Animal welfare group Pets Alive announced plans this week to restructure their organization by closing their Westchester facility located off of Warehouse Lane in Elmsford, NY and consolidating operations to their Middletown, NY location. Skyrocketing repair and maintenance costs of the structurally unsound Westchester shelter coupled with declining revenue led the group to their decision. Pets Alive Westchester was closed from mid-March through July in 2014 due to cracks in the building’s structure. Pets Alive has spent most of the last year exploring options to permanently repair the structure with multiple experts but estimates to save the building total well over a million dollars with no guarantee that the building will be safe.
“Although closing the Westchester location was a very difficult decision to make, the reality is that no amount of money is going to make this building safe in the long term,” said Erin Guilshan, Executive Director of Pets Alive Westchester. “There are issues that cannot be fixed. We have to think about what is best and safest for our organization and our animals.”
In addition to the building problems, Pets Alive is also taking into consideration the operating costs for the building, which exceeds 30,000 square feet. Much of that space goes unused but still needs to be heated, cooled and cared for.
“The Pets Alive organization believes we have a fiscal responsibility to our donors. Although the decision was difficult, we cannot continue to spend our donor’s funds on a building that cannot be properly repaired and costs a phenomenal amount just to maintain. This restructuring will allow us to focus more on our mission to save the lives of the animals that need us.” said Pets Alive Chief Financial Officer Jenessa Cutler.
Both Pets Alive locations have waived their adoption fee for the immediate future. They will be offering animals for adoption to qualified adopters for a donation of the adopter’s choosing. The facility will stay open for several more months to rehome the animals already housed in the building, although no new animals will be taken in. Any animals remaining in Westchester will be transferred to the Middletown location.
Pets Alive wishes to emphasize that absolutely no animals will be euthanized because of this transition, and all animals will be safe. Pets Alive remains extremely committed to the welfare of the animals in their care and their no kill policy, and careful consideration will be paid to their stress level and health during the transition. Enrichment programs are being developed to ensure a smooth transition for the animals. Rescue efforts for community animals will continue in the Middletown location.
Board President John Sibley says, “Pets Alive recognizes the importance of our presence in Westchester. We are committed to exploring options to maintain a future presence in Westchester County.”
At this time, Pets Alive welcomes the support of the community in the form of financial donations and volunteer help on both sites to prepare for the transition of the animals. Donations can be made at www.petsalive.org or mailed to Pets Alive, 363 Derby road, Middletown, NY 10940. Pets Alive is a registered 501c3 not-for-profit.-- Audrey Lodato Executive Director Pets Alive