Hi Tor Animal Care Center, Rockland County’s only animal shelter, is in dire financial straits. It’s been projected that if the shelter doesn’t receive additional funding from the County and the five Towns that contract with them, they will have to close their doors by July 2012. Rockland County says it is the Towns’ responsibility and the Towns say it’s the County’s responsibility to fund Hi Tor.
It is unacceptable that Hi Tor Animal Care Center operates in an antiquated, obsolete facility and receives inadequate funding to provide current standards of humane shelter care and to satisfy public expectations for the treatment of stray or homeless animals. It is up to the municipalities, Rockland County and the five Towns, to provide the necessary funds to ensure proper shelter, food, and water for the nearly 2,500 lost, surrendered and abandoned pets that enter the shelter each year.
The Hi Tor staff and Board of Directors have diligently worked to provide essential care, promote adoptions, aggressively support spay/neuter programs, promote responsible pet ownership and dramatically reduce the incidence of euthanasia. It is quickly becoming impossible to continue to provide these essential services under the existing conditions and without sufficient funding.
The Humane Society of the United States notes a national community average expenditure of $8 per resident per year for animal care and control in 2009, yet in Rockland, government funding for the shelter cumulatively amounts to about $0.64 per resident per year. In a county as affluent as Rockland, this situation is a disgrace and cannot be tolerated. I support an annual County tax of $20 per household to be utilized solely for the support of an animal care/control facility adequate to provide for the needs of the community.