The average salary for a veterinarian in the state of NY is $60,000. The Town of Hempstead, NY has 29 full time employees at its animal shelter. Nine of them made over $100,000 last year. None of them is a vet. In fact, the shelter doesn’t have a vet on staff.
Some of you may remember the Hempstead shelter from this post in November 2010. Three volunteers who blew the whistle on cruelty and neglect at the shelter were summarily banned. And the town supervisor and board promised they would investigate and police themselves. The three volunteers have since filed a lawsuit.
The Hempstead shelter has an annual budget of $7.1 million dollars. About half of that goes to pay the staff. The shelter took in 3498 animals last year. Digest that math.
Unless these animals are being pampered in some kind of doggie and kitty spa, having their toenails painted with 14 karat gold polish and eating grass fed beef from a private farm maintained exclusively to raise food animals to feed the shelter’s pets, there’s something funky going on here.
At a public board meeting on January 25, emotions ran high. People were upset about the lack of reform at the shelter. If you can stomach sanctimonious BS, you can read the town supervisor’s responses in this article. (Take your blood pressure meds first. Maybe take extra.)
This editorial describes a government employee meeting supporters of shelter reform at the town board meeting:
[At the board meeting], I met a group of people that I can only call “angels.” One after another, these selfless people spoke of incidents of animal cruelty and neglect and how animals that they loved were saved by two women who were banned from the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter.
Dianne Madden from East Meadow and Lucille DeFina from Merrick are volunteers who help find home for dogs and cats that are caged at the shelter. What struck me about these women is their compassion for the animals. They are truly guardian angels that spend their lives rescuing our town’s unwanted and abused animals. And spending a morning listening to case after case of medical neglect and abuse, I was outraged that these women were not allowed to continue their extraordinary acts of kindness.
Before meeting these people, I had no idea that sick animals were left unattended; that necessary medical procedures were not being done and that animals were euthanized for having a cold or a skin rash. District attorney Kathleen Rice is still investigating the animal shelter.
The problem with the Town of Hempstead is that there is no oversight.
That about says it.
$7.1 million dollars to spend saving 3500 pets a year. And yet the shelter staff allegedly allows them to suffer without care and kills them if they have a cold or a skin condition. These people must be laughing all the way to the bank.