05/07/14 5:30pm
05/07/2014 5:30 PM
Eileen Kreiling, manager of the North Fork Animal Welfare League's Riverhead shelter, with 4-year-old pitbull Benny, who has been at the shelter since February. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Eileen Kreiling, manager of the North Fork Animal Welfare League’s Riverhead shelter, with 4-year-old pitbull Benny, who has been at the shelter since February. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

In a divided vote Tuesday, the Riverhead Town Board scheduled June 3 hearings for two proposals connected with moving the nonprofit North Fork Animal Welfare League, which operates the town animal shelter, to the property holding the Henry Pfeifer Community Center in Calverton, a town-owned building that underwent a nearly half-million-dollar renovation about a decade go and has been underutilized ever since.

“It was a monumental day in Riverhead for the animals,” said Denise Lucas, head of Riverhead Move the Animal Shelter, another nonprofit that has held more than 40 fundraisers in the past two years to offset the cost of finding a new town animal shelter.

The vote took place in a room filled with supporters. And while none of them spoke, they burst into applause after a deciding third vote in favor of the hearings was tallied. Ms. Lucas said more than 30 “animal people” attended.

The 3-2 vote — with Supervisor Sean Walter and councilmen Jim Wooten and John Dunleavy in favor and council members Jodi Giglio and George Gabrielsen opposed — technically concerned only two issues: scheduling public hearings on the transfer of the Pfeifer building to the town from the community development agency and signing a no-rent land lease allowing NFAWL to build a new kennel on the town land and use the building as a shelter.

However, the 3-2 split could foretell how board members will vote next month on moving the shelter to the Pfeifer building.

“The [current animal shelter] on Youngs Avenue is inadequate and poorly located,” Mr. Wooten said.

Mr. Gabrielsen disagreed, saying that the Pfeifer building “is a hostile environment for dogs” and adding that it’s in an industrial park next to railroad tracks. He’d prefer that the town sell or lease the property, and use the proceeds in the town’s recreation department.

“We’ve got close to 1,000 kids in lacrosse, football and soccer that need more room … versus 18 dogs in the shelter. Pick your priority,” Mr. Gabrielsen has said in recent weeks.

05/02/14 4:18pm
05/02/2014 4:18 PM
The Riverhead Town Animal Shelter. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The Riverhead Town Animal Shelter. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

It looks like the dogs at North Fork Animal Welfare League could be in for a treat.

Three town board members have said they are in favor of a plan that will move the nonprofit from the town’s shelter on Youngs Avenue to the Henry Pfeifer Community Center building in Calverton, and will vote next week on scheduling two public hearings needed to move the plan forward. (more…)

04/07/14 3:09pm
04/07/2014 3:09 PM
Jimmy Punda of North Shirley aboard his 1971 VW trike custom-built "toy." (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Jimmy Punda of North Shirley aboard his 1971 VW trike custom-built “toy.” (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

For the third year in a row, Riverhead Move the Animal Shelter rolled out motorcycles and classic cars in town to raise funds for a new animal shelter.

After being held downtown by the Peconic River last year and at Calverton Links the previous year, Hogs & Hot Rods Rock the Shelter fundraiser was held in the Splish Splash parking lot in Calverton Sunday afternoon.

Sponsored by Splish Splash to benefit the nonprofit started by Denise Lucas, the festival featured a car and motorcycle show, vendors, and live music.

Ms. Lucas started her effort to move the Riverhead Town Animal Shelter in September 2011.

Check out photos from the event below:

08/10/13 5:00pm
08/10/2013 5:00 PM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Neil MacDonald of Riverhead proposes to his girlfriend Camela Dwyer Saturday at the opening of the ‘Duke’ Dog Park at Stotzky Park.

While Saturday’s dedication ceremony for the new dog park was a big day for Move the Animal Shelter leader Denise Lucas, it might have been a bigger day for her brother, Neil MacDonald.

He proposed — dressed in a dog costume — to his girlfriend, Camela Dwyer, who was dressed in a cat costume.

She said yes.

A kneeling Mr. MacDonald then put the ring on her finger.

“This just goes to show that dogs and cats can get along,” Councilman James Wooten said.

Mr. MacDonald, from Riverhead, met Ms. Dwyer, who is from Tampa, Fla. on a cruise, he said. He was supposed to go with his parents, but they canceled when his step-father got ill, and he went alone.

He and Ms. Dwyer often volunteer at Move the Animal Shelter events, they said.

“We help Denise as much as we can,” Mr. MacDonald said. “Through our entire dating, a lot of our time is spend with fund raising.”

“We’re happy to share our special day with Denise’s,” Ms. Dwyer said.


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.