Recently, I read Dr. Burt Saunders’ letter and was saddened by his vicious attack on the Hudson Valley Humane Society (formerly the Rockland County SPCA). A private letter has been sent to him; this correspondence is to our community to whom we serve.
The HVHS is a full-service animal welfare organization founded in 1891. We are a private non-profit. We are not funded by any municipality, nor under contract with any municipality for animal control or relinquishment. That means your tax dollars do not go to the HVHS, not one penny. We are a quiet organization and much of what we do goes without fanfare; it is time to start boasting, perhaps this way a broader and accurate knowledge of the HVHS will be commonplace.
The HVHS focuses on our mission’s core: humane law enforcement (“HLE”) and caring for abandoned and unwanted animals.
Our HLE consists of 4 NYS Peace Officers with full police powers sanctioned to investigate and prosecute crimes against animals, both domestic and wildlife. HLE is headed by Marc Kissel a well-established, respected attorney and member of the HVHS for more than 20 years. Our field effort is led by Rich Raheb, the single most successful animal welfare officer in the State. Rich was a regular feature on the award-winning show Animal Precinct. HLE is the foundation for all SPCA’s.
We “shelter” or “house” animals that HVHS either seizes through HLE, or accepts via owner surrender, or stray, injured, abandoned, etc. The HVHS provides all necessary veterinary care and seeks adoptive homes for permanent placement. HVHS puts no time limit on an animal; they are permanent members of the HVHS family. HVHS has no adoption fee we feel that is akin to selling animals. Instead we ask adopters to make a donation they feel is warranted.
The HVHS calls home a nearly 5-acre parcel of land known as Pomona Park; it includes a boarding kennel, a farmhouse and barn. We bought the property 9 years ago. It is the last parcel zoned for animal welfare in Rockland. HVHS sold its property in Spring Valley, and utilized the revenue to relocate.
The HVHS is open and on-call 365 days of the year, 24/7. We take no holidays and all of this is done by dedicated volunteers. Let me underscore that the HVHS is the single greatest asset to this community at no cost to the taxpayer. The HVHS goes out in the middle of the night to help animals hit by cars or lost, we rescue wildlife that would otherwise be left to die, we assist in finding lost animals, we respond to injured animals, we facilitate adoptions, we rescue animals slated for euthanasia, we operate a Pet Food Pantry* which keeps families from surrendering their pet due to economics.
The HVHS developed creative revenue streams to pay expenses (i.e., our Thrift Store and leasing a portion of our property for a veterinary hospital. None of this is prevented by our non-profit tax status.
The HVHS has a group of active volunteers who feed, clean, walk, bottle-feed, bathe, care and love our animals. These people give generously of their free time and are inspirational.
Our future includes a new Adoption Center. Upon its completion our kennel will be torn down and rebuilt for multi use including a permanent low-cost spay/neuter clinic for cats and dogs. The next phase includes plans for our barn, a doggie park and other wonderful things on HVHS land.
Anyone wishing to know more about the HVHS is welcome to call 354-3124. I invite Dr. Saunders to spend a week working volunteer side-by-side with me, only then could he learn enough to speak about this organization of which I am extremely proud. In fact, anyone in the community wishing to do volunteer service is welcome. It’s good for our animals and good for the soul.
Ann Marie Gaudio
& Humane Law Enforcement Agent #113
* Pet Food Pantry is open alternating Saturdays from 9:30-10:30am and has been in existence for 2 ½ years providing food for more than 230 pets.