Kent Animal Shelter breaks ground for new kennel

Kent Animal Shelter breaks ground for new kennel

By Heidi Sutton

Twenty years in the making, Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton is finally breaking ground on a new dog kennel and isolation facility on the 2.8-acre campus at 2259 River Road. The announcement was made at a press conference attended by local officials and Kent’s board of directors, staff and volunteers on May 24. A few adoptable dogs made an appearance as well.

The current dog kennel, which was built in 1968, will be demolished and replaced with a 3000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility with additional kennel space, more dog runs, puppy facilities, and meet-and-greet rooms. A former caretaker’s cottage on the property will be replaced with a dedicated isolation and quarantine facility for sick animals that arrive at the shelter. The project is expected to cost around 4.3 million. 

“I am so excited today because we have been waiting to do this about 20 years now and there have been many roadblocks along the way,” said Kent Animal Shelter’s Executive Director Pam Green. “I am grateful to everyone that came along with us [including] the board of directors. It’s been a long time. Our goals and our mission are the same — to rescue as many animals as possible, bring them here, give them medical attention, vaccines, surgery, whatever they need to bring them to their permanent homes. That hasn’t changed since the founders in 1968 and it remains the same today.”

Green went on to thank Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine and New York State Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio for being so supportive of the project.

“It is a great day because Kent Animal Shelter does so much to help animals that are homeless find their forever home,” said Suffolk County Executive Romaine during the event. Romaine adopted his dog Lucky from the no-kill shelter several years ago. “He is my pride and joy,” he said.

Giglio praised County Executive Romaine for getting the project “over the finish line.”

“When he was the Town of Brookhaven Supervisor and sitting on the Pine Barrens Commission he realized the importance of this great project. He has always been a supporter of Kent Animal Shelter, also of the environment, myself included, which is why when I heard they were so close to getting the permits and getting across the finish line I had some grant funding that was presented in my lap.” 

Giglio then presented a check for $75,000 to the board of directors for a new Innovative/Alternative (I/A) septic system to change the sanitary system over which is a requirement for Suffolk County given the shelter’s location in the Pine Barrens. “And I know the county is working on more funding for this great project,” she said.

“We will look to make sure that Kent has the funding they need to move forward on this project. They do a great job,” added Suffolk County Executive Romaine.

Joann Waski of the Riverhead Town Council and former Planning Board member also attended the event. “On behalf of the Town of Riverhead we’re so happy that we were able to move this project forward and we hope that a lot of the animals get adopted. You have a great program going on here,” she said.

“I want to also thank all the volunteers for everything that they do to make this place so special for all of these animals that are sometimes forgotten. May they find nice homes and may people enjoy their visit to  Kent Animal Shelter and find a pleasant environment just like the one that they will create when they adopt [pets] and bring them home,” said Giglio.

The project, which is being handled by J. Petrocelli Contracting, Inc. in Ronkonkoma, is expected to be completed in approximately six to eight months. In the interim, all of the adoptable dogs have been transferred to Bide-A-Wee at 118 Old Country Road in Westhampton Beach while the cat shelter will remain in Calverton. Hours for both locations are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

For more information, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

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