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Wanted A Partner For Smithtown's Animal Shelter And Adoption Center

 By Stacey Altherr

The Town of Smithtown is looking for a partner for its Animal Shelter and Adoption Center.

A recent Request For Proposal was advertised on the town’s web site, looking for a third party to assume the “day-to-day operation” of the shelter.

A town official said the proposal was “purely exploratory,” calling it a way to lessen the cost for taxpayers and work toward getting more animals adopted from the shelter.

“One half of the town’s population is happy to spend the budget money,” said town spokesperson Nicole Garguilo, “and the other half feel we are wasting taxpayers’ dollars.”

“If there is a group that will partner with us, we can do more work getting animals adopted,” at no additional cost. 

Garguilo noted that animal groups have a wide network that would help the town in that effort.  Town shelters cannot call themselves “no-kill” but Smithtown has worked to not euthanize any healthy animals after years of protest in the way some animals were handled. “We never want to neglect the animals,” she said. “With this administration, we want to go forward.” 

No employees would lose jobs- there are about four-to-five animal control officers and four-to-five shelter attendants at any one time – and the volunteer group would help with the daily operational tasks, which are needed 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

The town would maintain the buildings, and still deal with animal control issues, such as a dog or cat hit by a car or abandoned animals.

The partnering organization must have experience with no-kill shelters.

No groups have contacted the town yet, but officials do think at least some organizations, and one in particular, will be interested. If there are no proposals by the closing date of the RFP, Sept. 27, it most likely would be extended, said Garguilo.

Interested groups can contact the town’s purchasing department.

Stacey Altherr is a former Newsday reporter now living in Sarsasota, Florida. Her beats included Smithtown, where she covered governmental affairs.  She now runs a café in Longboat Key near her home and writes freelance. Altherr has won many awards, including a 2010 Society of Silurian Award for community service journalism for a multi-part series, “Heroin Hits Main Street,” and a third-place National Headliner Award for public service for a multi-part year-long investigation on spending at fire districts on Long Island.

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