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Town, North Fork Animal Welfare League Talk Privatizing Animal Shelter

'Good faith negotiations' ongoing, Councilman Jim Wooten said.

After a public outcry in recent weeks over lack of staff and concerns over conditions at the Riverhead animal shelter, privatization of the facility could be coming soon.

Riverhead Town Councilman Jim Wooten said he and Town Supervisor Sean Walter met Friday with representatives of the North Fork Animal Welfare League to talk about potential collaboration. 

"We met to discuss possibly moving in the right direction of privatizing the shelter. There are good faith negotiations going on," Wooten said. "I hope to see that it comes through."

In recent weeks, Wooten has suggested privatizing the shelter could be the solution to staffing and other concerns. 

The shelter was short-staffed after an animal control officer was mauled by a pit bull; the board voted to hire three-part time kennel attendants and Wooten said further options included hiring a director or privatizing.

Animal advocate Vince Taldone said privatization would be a win-win. "The NFAWL has done a wonderful job at the Southold Town shelter," Taldone said. "The dogs there are in good hands with volunteers and staff who care deeply about them. I am hopeful that a deal can be struck so that the NFAWL can take over management of the Riverhead shelter. I want the dogs in my town to be treated as decently as those those in Southold."

As a Riverhead shelter volunteer, Taldone said he hopes to provide whatever assistance he can to make things better for the town's dogs.

"They deserve no less humane treatment than those at the Southold facility receive," he said.

A call the the NFAWL for comment was not immediately returned.

North Fork Bob December 17, 2012 at 03:11 AM
The deplorable conditions these poor animals have endured are because of the Town Board.The Riverhead shelter spends less than any other on the East End. If you were on the Town Board and ventured into that sty of an Animal Shelter wouldn't you prioritize changes? Go ahead and vote this bunch back in.We need some more abuse.Disgusting
forward thinking December 17, 2012 at 02:18 PM
the whole key is in the structure - if its state of the art etc... you have happier vol.'s and more of them - southold spent much and have gained more with their structure - find designer and hire them .... i think they were local ...
Emily Moon December 17, 2012 at 09:44 PM
The bull once again is coming in the form of the PIT BULL. My Husband and I went to this psycho shelter. It was so weird. One man was there. He told us not to bother going in to look at the dogs; unless we wanted a PIT BULL. He told us there were five PIT BULLS in there; so don't bother. Then he walked back into another building separate from the Pits. We just said, "let's get out of here." These dogs need to be humanly euthanized. The structure closed for dogs. It could serve as housing for people that lost their home during Sandy. *Just saying* All they have are PIT BULLS. I'm sure the one that MAULED the Animal Control Officer was euthanized!

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