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.