Rockland Green has terminated its short-term contract with Hi -Tor Animal Care Center, Inc., as of September 21, 2023. The move comes in the wake of accusations that shelter staff did not properly respond to an outbreak of the Feline panleukopenia virus, which new management claims resulted in the death of 35 cats.
Rockland Green, a waste management authority that had its charter amended by the County Legislature this year to allow the organization to run the shelter, has now executed a short-term contract agreement with animal care consultants, “Four Legs Good”, to care for all the animals. Michael Sanducci, the new manager of the facility, claimed that the move was necessary as Hi-Tor had left the animals in it’s care “in a condition constituting animal abuse,” according to a statement provided to News 12 Westchester. Sanducci had previously worked as the shelters manager until 2018, before leaving the position after a falling out with the Hi-Tor’s board over management of the facility.
Hi-Tor’s former leadership has disputed the accusations put forward by Rockland Green, co-president Gary Kogut stating “Our reputation has been damaged by everything that’s been said about what we did or didn’t do and that’s a great concern to us.”
In May of this year, consultants from the New York State Animal Protection Federation toured the facility and stated that “Hi Tor is the worst example of animal sheltering that the consultants have ever seen.”
On July 15, in a letter written by Catskill Veterinary Services, a local veterinarian that had toured the facility stated that an outbreak of Feline panleukopenia virus had thus far affected nine cats and that facility did not have the medication necessary to treat them at the time, nor had they established a quarantine zone.
Hi Tor’s leadership has contoured these claims, stating that the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets did an inspection with very different results.
“They reviewed us just a month ago,” said Gary Kogut, the board’s co-president. “And we passed with 100% on every criteria.”
In a statement provided to Rockland Bussiness Journal, Rick Tannenbaum, former Executive Director of the facility, stated that Rockland Green had violated their contract with Hi-Tor, which required Rockland Green to provide 30 days notice before changing mangament , and additional 30 day grace period to allow Hi-Tor staff to address any complaints. Tannenbaum, who was terminated from the position in September of this year, further asserted that “interviews with the staff will universally reveal that the shelter was running perhaps as best as it ever had, probably better under my management.”
Hi-Tor’s former and current management will both be present to argue their case at next week’s board meeting