Four-legged survivors of Hurricane Dorian have arrived at Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton.
It’s been a long journey for Louise, Jilly Bear, Dahee and Faye, who arrived at the shelter last week from the Bahamas with 16 other dogs that were taken in by the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons and Nassau County-based Jake’s Rescue Ranch.
Kent executive director Pamela Green said Tuesday that the rescue was a coordinated effort between organizations, including Guardians of Rescue, which helped get the dogs to Florida. From there, they were flown to Westhampton by pilot Jonathan Plesset of the Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Group.
Since 2013, the group has flown more than 11,000 animals out of dangerous situations, Ms. Green said. Many dogs rescued from the Bahamas, she explained, are strays or have no identification.
“We take animals in from everywhere,” Ms. Green said, noting that cats and dogs are often taken in from high-kill shelters as well as taken out of crisis situations that arise, such as floods and hurricanes. “A life is a life; it’s all the same to me.”
Adoptions are pending for two of the Bahamian dogs; the other two are being treated for heartworm and will be eligible for adoption in a few weeks, she said.
The new arrivals come just in time for the shelter’s upcoming “No Place Like Home” fundraiser and 50th anniversary celebration on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Stonewalls Restaurant at The Woods at Cherry Creek Golf Course.
The event’s Wizard of Oz theme takes on two meanings. “There’s no place like home for a homeless animal,” Ms. Green said. But it also rings true for the organization itself, which had once sought to vacate the River Road property to build a new kennel.
According to Ms. Green, that plan encountered several zoning setbacks and now, the shelter is planning to stay.
“We’d like to get approvals to build on the same footprint,” Ms. Green said. “However, it would be a totally different design to accommodate more animals.”
The existing dog kennel was built in 1968, she said, and is inefficient to heat and cool. It can currently hold approximately 25 dogs, but ideally they’d be able to house up to 40.
Plans for the new facility include state-of-the-art drainage, soundproofing and better ventilation.
Other on-site buildings that house cats and an animal clinic could also be renovated under the proposal, which Ms. Green estimated would cost $1.5 million to complete.
The latest site plan and schematic of the project will be unveiled during the fundraiser, Ms. Green said.
“It will help to expand our capacity to carry out the mission here, which is to quite simply help homeless animals,” she said.
The shelter facilitates approximately 700 adoptions each year.
“We’re hoping that people that want to support the shelter will come out to the event and celebrate with us,” Ms. Green said, adding that all proceeds will benefit the shelter’s 2019 rescue fund.
Those who are unable to attend the event but want to help are encouraged to donate food and supplies or volunteer their time at the shelter. “We need people to come and walk dogs, socialize with the cats,” Ms. Green said.
Tickets for the fundraiser are $75 per person and include appetizers, a buffet dinner, live music and dancing, a huge chinese auction, raffles and Wizard of Oz-themed fun.
Tickets are available online at kentanimalshelter.com or by calling the shelter at 631-727-5731.
Photo caption: Faye is one of the four dogs from the Bahamas. (Credit: Tara Smith)