Huntington Town is trying a new approach to care for homeless and abused dogs. Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) announced last week the launch of Give a Dog a Dream, a not-for-profit foundation the town formed to raise money for dogs in Huntington’s municipal animal shelter.
“For some time, people have asked how they can help improve the lives of dogs entrusted to our animal shelter’s care,” Petrone said in a statement. The foundation is a new “vehicle through which residents can help provide the extras and specialized care beyond the basics [that] public funding provides.”
Residents are encouraged to donate money, food, beds or other supplies.
Gerald Mosca, the head of the Huntington Animal Shelter, said the town has worked to change the image of the dog refuge.
“What we wanted to do when I took over in 2010 was change the perception of municipal shelters,” that they’re a place where dogs go to die, Mosca said. “That was not what we wanted to portray, and it’s obviously not what we wanted to do.”
The shelter housed nearly 80 dogs when he took over, he said, and now, many adoptions later, they’re down to seven. He credited his dedicated volunteer staff for training the dogs and preparing them to be adopted.
Michael Costa, the assistant executive director of Give a Dog a Dream, stressed the importance of helping the municipal shelter not only be a “no-kill” shelter, but also to give the dogs living there a good quality of life.
“You end up with a dog that sits in a kennel for four, five years,” Costa said. “In most shelters they’re only getting out for maybe 15 to 20 minutes a day if they’re lucky. They’re confined to three-foot by five-foot kennels most of that time. It’s not adequate care. It’s not adequate compassion. These dogs physically may be fine, though mentally they tend to suffer. By working within the community and pushing the way we’ve pushed to get these dogs where they need to be — in homes — we help to make sure they get the care that they really need.”
To kick off the foundation, Huntington Honda hosted a special adoption event on Saturday. Members of the community passed through from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. to meet the seven dogs currently being cared for at the town shelter.
“These dogs are all well prepared to go into every house,” Mosca said. “Most of these dogs are very well behaved.”
Huntington Honda’s Marketing Director Jeffrey Hindla talked about the business’ commitment to be part of the community.
“We can really make these dogs’ lives better,” Hindla said Saturday. “We’re super excited to be working with the Town of Huntington and I can’t wait to do more with them.”
Give a Dog a Dream is planning to host more adoption events in the near future. To donate to the foundation or to learn more, visit www.giveadogadream.org.