Calverton animal shelter evacuated after staffer brings in mortar shell

This photo of a purported 40 mm mortar shell had police evacuate Kent Animal Shelter Monday afternoon. (Credit: Courtesy photo)

A Calverton animal shelter was briefly evacuated Monday afternoon after an employee unwittingly brought a mortar shell he discovered while clamming over the weekend into the office. 

Pam Green, executive director of Kent Animal Shelter, said the staffer discovered the metal object while in the water, brought it home and cleaned it up. He came in Monday and showed it to the staff when one employee took a picture of the shell and texted it to her boyfriend, a National Guardsman, Ms. Green said.

The boyfriend told them to call the police: the metal object was a 40 millimeter unexploded mortar shell.

Riverhead Police Captain Richard Smith said the department arrived on the scene about 1 p.m. and cleared the building. Ms. Green rushed back from a meeting to find the building had already been evacuated; the animals were forced to remain in their kennels while emergency services removed the shell.

Ms. Green said she rushed in to get her dog, who was left behind in the office with the mortar shell.

“I wasn’t leaving without my dog,” she said.

Suffolk County Police Emergency Services took the shell to its facility in Westhampton to be disposed of, Captain Smith said. He added that it’s not unusual for residents to discover old ammunition.

“It’s happened in the past where people are digging in their yard, or doing some excavation and they come across something like this,” he said.

No one was arrested in the incident, and police had cleared the scene by 3:30 p.m.

“Thankfully no one was hurt,” Ms. Green said. “I need a new kennel but that’s not exactly the way I want to get it!”

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