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Kent Animal Shelter

By Heidi Sutton

Amid mandatory evacuation orders in the Carolinas and Virginia in advance of Hurricane Florence, many fleeing residents left their pets behind to fend for themselves. For those pets lucky enough to be rescued, they were brought to area shelters already full to capacity. When news spread the animals would start being
euthanized if no one adopted them, Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton quickly joined other outreach groups to make a difference.

Working in conjunction with Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, the shelter took in 12 dogs two weeks ago. “We then sent our own truck down to South Carolina and when they came back last Monday night they had 17 more,” said Pamela Green, Kent’s executive director.

The most recent group of dogs came from South Carolina’s Marlboro and Horry counties, two of the hardest hit areas devastated by flooding. “Those counties were still pretty much under water as recent as last Tuesday so those dogs were from people who lost their homes and relinquished the animals,” Green said. “The people probably don’t have places to live themselves at this point.” 

The new arrivals range in age from 9 weeks to 4 years and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The executive director said there are hound mixes “which are common in the South” as well as Labrador mixes and a few Chihuahuas. While many have already been adopted, all the dogs will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped before going to their new homes.

Shelters in areas ravaged by Hurricane Florence announced earlier this week that they are temporarily halting the transport of animals to give residents more time to reclaim their dogs. For the staff at Kent, however, this is only a short reprieve as they are expecting 10 dogs to arrive Sunday from a Missouri puppy mill.

According to Green, the shelter is always looking for foster homes. “Sometimes the animals we get in are a bit traumatized. In the case of the hurricane, they’ve already been exposed to some trauma so then they are transported a very long way and by the time they get here they’re pretty scared or nervous,” she said, adding, “Those animals usually come around more quickly in a foster home.”

Financial donations and supplies such as canned cat and dog food, paper towels, bleach, cat litter, treats, towels and blankets are also appreciated.

Kent Animal Shelter celebrates its golden anniversary this year. The private not-for-profit, located along the Peconic River, opened its doors in 1968. It rescues and finds homes for over 700 dogs and cats each year. “We had almost 100 adoptions this July alone,” said Green proudly, who has been at the helm of the no-kill facility for over 30 years. 

Several events have been planned to commemorate the anniversary including the upcoming Wines and Canines Run/Walk fundraiser at the Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard in Calverton Oct. 7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person at www.kentanimalshelter.com. 

For Green, working at the shelter is a labor of love filled with rewards and happy endings. “I’ve been doing this for 33 years and I still come to the same office because I feel that we are really making a difference here. Maybe we’re not going to save all the animals, but just saving the ones that we can get to changes their lives and changes the lives of people too,” she said. “I still get so much joy out of seeing an animal leave the shelter and go to a new home. It’s the greatest thing – it makes my day.”

Honey

MEET HONEY!

Honey is an adorable 2-year-old Catahoula mix currently waiting at Kent Animal Shelter for a new home. She was rescued in Texas where she faced an uncertain fate. All she needs now is a loving family to make her one of their own. Is that you? Honey comes spayed, microchipped and as up to date as possible on vaccines.

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. For more information on Honey and other adoptable pets at Kent, visit www.kentanimalshelter.com or call 631-727-5731.

Update: Honey has been adopted!

Photo courtesy of Kent Animal Shelter

MEET CARLOS!

Carlos

This handsome boy is Carlos! A one-year-old Chihuahua mix who looks a bit like a baby deer with his long legs, Carlos is very sweet, affectionate and playful and is patiently waiting at Kent Animal Shelter for that perfect someone with a nice warm lap for him to curl up on. Could that be with you? Carlos comes neutered, microchipped and is up to date on all his vaccines. 

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. For more information on Carlos and other adoptable pets at Kent, visit www.kentanimalshelter.com or call 631-727-5731. 

Update: Carlos has been adopted!

Snowy. Photo courtesy of Kent Animal Shelter

MEET SNOWY!

This week’s shelter pet is Snowy, a 7-year-old, white domestic long-haired cat waiting for a new home at Kent Animal Shelter. His owners were allergic and couldn’t keep him anymore. Snowy is active, playful, affectionate and friendly to everyone he meets. Won’t you open your heart to this handsome guy? He comes neutered, microchipped and up to date on all his vaccines.

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. For more information on Snowy and other adoptable pets at Kent, visit www.kentanimalshelter.com or call 631-727-5731.

Update: Snowy has been adopted!

Sammy. Photo courtesy of Kent Animal Shelter

MEET SAMMY! This is Sammy, a 4-year-old foxhound currently waiting at Kent Animal Shelter for his forever home. Sammy is a happy guy and would make an awesome family dog. Weighing in at 87 pounds, he used to be a hunting dog. He wouldn’t stay with the pack during the hunt so he was turned in for adoption. He is neutered, microchipped, up to date on all his vaccines and ready to be a part of your family.

Kent Animal Shelter, located at 2259 River Road in Calverton, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. For more information on Sammy and other adoptable pets at Kent, visit www.kentanimalshelter.com or call 631-727-5731.

Update: Sammy has been adopted!

Goldie
Goldie

MEET GOLDIE! Celebrate the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Dog and adopt Goldie today. She may bring you luck! Isn’t she adorable? Just look at those hazel eyes and pink nose? And you can’t even see her tail because she’s wagging it so fast! Goldie is a supersweet, 1-year-old golden retriever mix who loves everyone she meets! Rescued from a high kill shelter in Texas where she was scheduled to be euthanized, this sweetheart is now safe at Kent Animal Shelter.

Goldie would make an awesome family dog as she is great with kids and seems to like other dogs as well! Won’t you drop by and say hello? Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. For more information on Goldie and other adoptable pets at Kent, visit www.kentanimalshelter.com or call 631-727-5731.

UPDATE: Goldie has been adopted!

MEET BLOSSOM! This beautiful girl is Blossom, a 1½-year-old, domestic short hair tabby cat. Blossom was abandoned on the steps of Kent Animal Shelter’s clinic recently, along with her four kittens. All of the babies have been adopted into loving homes. Now it’s Blossom’s turn! This sweetheart would do best in a quiet home and needs to be the only cat. She is spayed, up to date with her vaccines, microchipped and has tested negative for feline AIDS and leukemia. Adoption fees are waived for all cats during the month of December! Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. For more information on Blossom and other adoptable pets at Kent, visit www.kentanimalshelter.com or call 631-727-5731.

Pam Green, executive director of Kent Animal Shelter. Photo from Kent Animal Shelter

By Heidi Sutton

Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton has been a haven for shelter pets for almost half a century. In 2016, under the helm of Executive Director Pam Green, the shelter placed a record-breaking 1,016 animals in new homes and recently received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. The Stony Brook resident recently took some time out of her busy schedule to talk about the shelter that has been her passion for 32 years.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, I have only a few pets. One small dog that accompanies me to work every day, Frodo; he is a puppy mill rescue that came to Kent in 2012; two cats, Wilson and Nellie, that were the offspring of a feral cat; and I added an equine to the mix in 2009, Ascot.

Pam Green

Did you have any pets growing up?

Yes, I came from a family of animal lovers, most notably my mother and father who had great love and compassion for all animals. We were always bringing some critter into our home including dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, a duck named Sam, a pony named Inca and a horse named Willy. If it needed a home, our doors were always open.

Did you always know that you wanted to work with animals?

Yes, as a young high school student my intention was to pursue a career in animal welfare, perhaps veterinary medicine.

How did you arrive at Kent?

I arrived at the Kent Animal Shelter in 1985. My intention was to continue my postgraduate education at the University of Kentucky. That did not seem to be in the cards as I responded to an advertisement for an executive director at the Kent Animal Shelter, a little-known animal shelter located on the east end of Long Island.

The organization was in dire straits financially at the time. There were very few animals, the spay/neuter clinic was closed and there were only two employees. I was introduced and interviewed by a volunteer board of directors, 13 members. In retrospect I believe they had their sights set on a candidate who they felt had the potential to lead and the background knowledge to help the shelter emerge from a critical situation. I decided to make re-opening the spay/neuter clinic a priority and went forth with that effort.

There was only a small list of donors actually hand written in a book, and so I began to write letters telling of the shelter’s plight and asking them to help. Donations slowly began to come in, and the list began to grow. We started taking animals from local municipal shelters that in those days also had a fairly high rate of euthanasia. The clinic didn’t take very long to get back into the full swing of things.

Today the shelter is financially secure and rescues animals from crisis situations across the country and sometimes internationally as well. The mission is the same as it was in 1968; however, the depth and breadth of the operation has grown enormously over the years. It still remains a smaller, personal organization. However, in 2009 it was honored as Shelter of the Year by North Shore Animal League and Purina for its innovative approach to adoption, rescue and population control.

Tell us about Kent’s spay/neuter clinic.

Last year 3,928 animals were spayed or neutered. The clinic is low cost to enable everyone to have their pets sterilized. Many pet owners cannot afford the service, and their pets are left to add to the overpopulation of homeless animals. Kent throughout the year receives grants from foundations such as PetSmart Charities and Pet Peeves Inc. and the ASPCA. These grants allow the clinic to perform these surgical procedures for just a $20 co-pay or in some cases not fee at all to the pet owner. The clinic, with the help of an ASPCA grant, is embarking on a campaign to help pet owners on public assistance or suffering from disabilities or financial hardship to have their pet spayed or neutered also for a minimal co-pay. Pet owners that would like to get more information can call the clinic at 631-727-5731, ext. 2.

I understand you took in homeless animals from Hurricane Harvey?

The shelter has taken in many rescues from Texas and the Carolinas previous to Hurricane Harvey. Unfortunately, the shelters there have high kill rates and are lacking in aggressive spay/neuter programs. However, the storms presenting this year are wreaking havoc in many places, notably Houston. The shelter was prepared to accept 15 animals from Austin Pets Alive, an organization working with animals displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Only six animals arrived on the recent transport, but more are scheduled to come in the ensuing weeks.

Why should people adopt a shelter pet rather than buy a dog from a pet store or breeder?

Potential adopters should elect first to adopt, not shop. Pet stores obtain their animals from puppy mills located in many places in the U.S., most notably Missouri. The public is often unaware of that fact and are finding that when they purchase a pet from a pet store, they are setting themselves up for getting a pet with congenital defects such as heart murmurs and/or diseases that present after the purchase. There are reputable breeders, however; those breeders do not sell their puppies to retail pet shops. There are many rescue organizations and shelters that have beautiful pets that have been vetted and neutered.

Tell us about your upcoming fundraiser.

On Sunday, Oct. 1 we will be holding our 5th annual Wines & Canines Run/Walk fundraiser. It is widely successful and takes place at Baiting Hollow Vineyard and Horse Rescue on Sound Avenue. This year, the proceeds will go to finance expenses incurred due to intake of rescued animals from hurricane ravaged states. The shelter also hosts a comedy night at the Hotel Indigo in Riverhead every year in the spring.

What’s next on the agenda?

We have hopefully found a perfect location for the construction of new kennel facility along with exercise pens, interaction rooms to acquaint potential adopters with a new pet, grooming room, storage etc. Over the next year, the board of directors and myself will be in negotiations with the Town of Riverhead to secure the needed permits. It is my goal to finalize everything and go forward in the planning and construction of the new building next year, which is a huge milestone for this organization, the 50th anniversary of helping homeless animals! The present facility will be kept intact minus the antiquated kennel building. That will also allow the shelter to restore the beautiful riverfront behind the kennel to its original state.

How can the public help?

Donations of blankets, towels, newspapers and money are all needed along with volunteers. There is an Amazon Wish List on Kent’s website, www.kentanimalshelter.com. We encourage anyone who wants to donate to take a look at the list and choose any items that they would like to send or bring to the shelter.

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Photo courtesy of Kent Animal Shelter

MEET ZAP! Zap is a 1-year-old terrier mix who recently came from the Bahamas where dogs (known as potcakes) don’t have a very good life. That’s all behind him now, and he’s ready to settle in with a forever family! A smart, well-behaved guy, he walks nicely on a leash and sits on command for treats. You’re sure to love him! Zap comes neutered, microchipped and up to date on all his vaccines. Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. For more information on Zap and other adoptable pets at Kent, please call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

Update: Zap has been adopted!

Buttercup

MEET BUTTERCUP! This little sweetie is Buttercup! At just 1 year old , she is very affectionate, loves to play and relishes attention. Buttercup would just love to come home with you! So hurry down and meet her today — we’re sure you’ll fall in love! This friendly feline comes spayed, microchipped and up to date on all her vaccines. Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. For more information on Buttercup and other adoptable pets at Kent, please call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.