County Executive Ed Day Friday announced that Rockland has signed a letter of intent with Hi Tor Animal Care Center, Inc. to construct a new shelter in Pomona. The comprehensive management agreement will significantly enhance services and care for dogs and cats that come into the County’s shelter, managed and operated by the nonprofit corporation. As a result of the LOI, Hi Tor will design and build a new facility on the County-owned land, on which the shelter has been operating continuously since 1973.

“Despite the County’s fragile financial situation, we are committed to significantly improving the way animals are cared for while they await adoption,” said County Executive Day. “This agreement will increase the number of animals adopted by Rockland County residents and improve shelter conditions for the hundreds of dogs and cats.”

Ongoing conversations between the Day Administration and community animal organizations culminated in today’s agreement, which focuses on how to best care for the County’s animals, continue to increase adoption rates and reduce euthanasia rates – all in the most fiscally responsible way possible.  With the LOI, the County – without contribution of any taxpayer funds – would accept the donation of the new shelter from Hi Tor.

The project envisions the demolition of the existing shelter on Firemen’s Memorial Drive to create a parking lot for the new facility on the same property.  Any new construction, including its design and building of the structure, would be funded entirely by non-County entities.  Hi Tor would be required to provide a bond for the entire cost of construction prior to breaking ground.  In addition, Hi Tor must have all plans and contracts approved by the County. The County will also be consulted in design and pre-build phases of the project.

Said Day, “We look forward to continuing our work with Hi Tor President Lizanne Fiorentino and her Board of Directors to increase adoptions, save more lives and prevent animal suffering.”

In return for the completed construction of the new facility, the County would agree to enter into a long-term management agreement with Hi Tor. This agreement will incorporate Chapter 212 of the Laws of Rockland County (Resolution No. 319-02) dealing with Animal Control Organizations and the Establishment of Rules and Regulations for Any Animal Control or Care Organization that receives County funds and/or utilizes County facilities. The approval for the shelter construction is subject to legislative approval.

“We are thrilled about this agreement,” said Hi Tor President Lizanne Fiorentino. “This letter of intent is a critical first step in the journey that allows us to continue fulfilling our mission of delivering the highest standard of care possible while promoting responsible pet ownership through education. With a new state of the art facility, we can help ensure that adoptable animals are sheltered in comfort, safety and security, that they have a place to exercise and experience joy, and that they can know the love of our community while we seek to find their forever homes.”

The County of Rockland has traditionally provided funding to and made County facilities available to Hi Tor for animal control and care.  Hi Tor is the only animal care and control shelter in Rockland, taking in approximately 2,500 animals each year.

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