04/06/13 10:00am
04/06/2013 10:00 AM
Riverhead MOve the Animal Shelter

DENISE LUCAS COURTESY PHOTO |  Riverhead Move the Animal Shelter founder Denise Lucas at last year’s ‘Hogs and Hot Rods’ fundraising event.

Members of the Riverhead Move the Animal Shelter nonprofit group are hosting their second annual Hogs and Hot Rods Rock the Shelter fundraiser in downtown Riverhead Sunday.

Event organizer and RMTAS founder Denise Lucas is expecting more than 1,000 attendees to the family-friendly event, which will feature live music from three bands, a motorcycle and car show and more than 40 vendors along the Peconic riverfront.

The nonprofit’s mission is to raise the funds necessary to move the town’s antiquated Youngs Avenue dog shelter, which is near the town landfill, to a new or rebuilt building at a new location.

Ms. Lucas founded RMTAS a year and a half ago after discovering the need for a new municipal shelter in Riverhead.  The organization’s fundraising efforts also led to the opening of the town’s first dog park at the Enterprise Park at Calverton last February.

A second dog park is scheduled to open at Stotzky Park later this month, Ms. Lucas said Friday.

The Henry Pfeifer Community Center is Calverton is being scouted as the new location of the town animal shelter, which is now operated by a nonprofit rescue group North Fork Animal Welfare League.

Ms. Lucas estimates the cost of obtaining and then renovating the building will be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Overwhelming support from local businesses and residents is helping RMTAS reach its goal, she noted.

East Wind Caterers, the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center in Riverhead, Cliff’s Rendezvous and Binkis Property Management donated prizes for Sunday’s event.

Local bands Gene Casey & the Lone Sharks, Miles to Dayton and WhoareThoseGuys will be performing for free to support the cause.

Live music will begin at noon at Riverhead’s downtown Riverfront where attendees can purchase raffle tickets for $5.

T-shirts and snacks will also be available for purchase. All of the proceeds will benefit the ongoing fundraising efforts for the new shelter.

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03/01/13 3:55pm
03/01/2013 3:55 PM
NFAWL at Town  HSelter

TIM GANNON PHOTO | NFAWL staffers (from left) kennel attendant Tammy Henderson, executive director Gillian Wood Pultz, animal control officer Alisha Posteraro, and (kneeling) kennel attendant Ariel Reichel with Sonja.

The North Fork Animal Welfare League formally took over operations of Riverhead Town’s animal shelter Friday morning.

The nonprofit organization has been running Southold Town’s shelter since 1980, and Riverhead officials and animal lovers had been trying to get the group to take over Riverhead’s troubled shelter for years.

The town signed a three-year contract with NFAWL in December for $223,135 for the first year, with 2 percent bumps for each of the next two years.

“I am excited about the new venture,” said the group’s executive director, Gillian Wood Pultz, during an interview Friday morning at the shelter. “There’s a lot of places we can go here and lot of improvements we can make. Southold is almost done. We have the new shelter, we have all our programs set up. It’s like starting anew here.”

NFAWL not only will take over the operation of the town shelter, it also will take over the animal control function from the town, as it does in Southold Town.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter welcomed NFAWL aboard at Thursday’s public Town Board work session, saying, “We’re going to do what we can to help you. I’m sure it will go seamlessly.”

In Riverhead, NFAWL has Ms. Pultz, who is an animal control officer herself, along with three other staff members: animal control officer Alisha Posteraro, kennel attendant Tammy Henderson and kennel attendant Ariel Reichel, who will be certified as an animal control officer soon.

Ms. Reichel had worked for the town as a kennel attendant and is now employed by NFAWL.

The two full-time employees that had been working for the town at the shelter are being moved to other positions, officials said.

Riverhead Town’s shelter has had a rocky relationship with animal lovers and volunteers over the years.

Many volunteers have claimed the town was restricting them from helping at the shelter, and the town largest non-police employee union, the Civil Service Employees Association, had even challenged some volunteer efforts in years past on the grounds that the volunteers were taking union jobs.

The CSEA had filed a grievance over the town’s contract with NFAWL, too, but Mr. Walter said this week the issue has been resolved, as those worker will still work for the town in other capacities.

The NFAWL employees are not in the union, and Ms. Pultz says she welcomes volunteers.

“I have a whole file ‘this big’ of blank volunteer applications,” Ms. Pultz. “Anyone can come in to fill out an application and they are going to be considered just like everybody else.

If it’s determined the town had a good reason for not letting someone volunteer, that person might not be allowed to volunteer for NFAWL either.

But, Ms. Pultz added, “We’re starting over with a clean slate.”

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