Pets Alive Leaving Elmsford; Land Ownership May Be Challenged
| by Robert Kimmel|
With Pets Alive in Elmsford announcing that it will close its facility in about three months, ownership of the 5 acres of land it has been using could be in dispute. The no-kill animal shelter disclosed that the cost of maintaining the shelter, along with diminishing revenue, is leaving it with no choice but to shut down and consolidate its operation at its Middletown, Rockland County location.
Pets Alive took over the facility from the long standing Elmsford Animal Shelter, which, in 2010 requested help from the organization.
Last year Pets Alive was forced to temporarily close the Elmsford location for emergency repairs when structural cracks began to appear in its 46,000 square foot building and the structure was condemned. It subsequently re-opened, but now has found, “…that the building is located on unstable fill on top of wetland, and the ground underneath the building is shifting,” according to Erin Guilshan, its Executive Director.
Guilshan went on to explain that, “Since being allowed back into the building we have looked at every possibility to stabilize the facility, but have been unable to find an option that does not involve investing far more than the aging structure is worth.”
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, however, asserted that, ” The decision of Pets Alive, which had taken over the Elmsford Animal shelter, to close down the Westchester shelter raises an important question: Who gets to keep the land?” He claims the land should not continue to be owned by Pets Alive if it leaves Elmsford. Nor should it be “…allowed to sell the land.” He noted that the “…land was donated with one purpose–to be used as a no-kill animal shelter.”
“I have asked the Greenburgh Town Attorney to review the deed to determine if the town has any rights since we were heavily involved in helping the shelter get the land donated to them,” Feiner said. He added that he would like to see the land handed over to “…animal rights advocates who can take over the responsibilities of the shelter or if they sell the land, 100% of the funds raised should be used to find another location in Westchester County.”
Pets Alive is estimating that it will take “…60 to 90 days to wind down the facility.” , Guilshan explained that it expects to have space at its Middletown, NY sanctuary for “…animals that we are not able to adopt out. Beginning immediately, both of our facilities will begin “Free Love” Name Your Own Price Adoptions to encourage adoption,” she announced. It will accept donations instead of its regular adoption fee.