| By Robert Kimmel |
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner is optimistic about keeping the Pets Alive animal shelter in operation locally, either at its present facility in Elmsford or elsewhere. Following a meeting with the board leadership of Pets Alive Thursday morning, he told The Hudson Independent that, “I would be surprised if the shelter closes.”
Pets Alive Westchester had announced it was shutting down the Elmsford location because of structural problems with its building at 100 Warehouse Lane South and high maintenance costs. It planned to close within three months and consolidate its operation at the organization’s Middletown, facility in Rockland County. Pets could be adopted at either facility during the interim period, for a donation rather than the usual fee, it publicized.
Feiner, who has been spearheading the drive to keep the no-kill shelter operating locally, said that he was “very encouraged,” as a result of the Thursday meeting with the Pets Alive Board members. “There was no controversy. We talked about working together, cooperating with different options,” he added.
Noting that the present facility does have structural problems, Feiner stated that, “I am going to do is that I am going to reach out to some developer to see if they might consider a swap. Pets Alive can use a location a little smaller than this.” He explained that the developer could take the location’s five acres in exchange for a smaller location for the shelter.
An “emergency” session open to the public Wednesday night, organized by Feiner to devise strategy to prevent the shelter’s closing, drew more than 100 people to Town Hall.
Supporters of the effort heard good news from Supervisor Feiner. He told those packed into the Town Hall meeting room, that Pets Alive could not sell the land to a commercial enterprise. Pets Alive took over the facility from the Elmsford Animal Shelter in 2010. Westchester County donated the property to the Elmsford Animal Shelter in 1985 for $10, a legal fee required to seal the property transfer.
The Supervisor disclosed that, “Greenburgh Town Councilman Francis Sheehan and Town Attorney Tim Lewis discovered a deed restriction stating that ‘the grantee, its successors and assigns shall use the said premises solely and exclusively for park, recreational, or general municipal purposes, or an animal shelter in Perpetuity.” Sheehan and Lewis attended the evening open meeting and further explained how the Town could enforce that restriction. They were also both at Thursday morning’s meeting with the Pets Alive leadership.
Following the session with the Greenburgh officials, Pets Alive issued a statement describing the meeting as “constructive” and that there would be “continued discussion” next Thursday at a meeting with Feiner. Its own board meets to review the issue early this coming week.
There was further encouragement for the Greenburgh officials at the Town Hall public meeting where several representatives of existing non-profit pet groups, and professionals stated that they would eagerly volunteer to help set up an organization aimed at keeping a no-kill shelter operational in the local Westchester area.