Hempstead Animal Shelter Shuts Out Volunteers
LISA EVERS Published : Tuesday, 09 Nov 2010

Former Town Animal Shelter Rescuers Sue Hempstead
Three women banned as rescue workers file lawsuit against town officials in hopes of being allowed back into Wantagh facility.

By Andrew Coen, December 9, 2010

L.I. Volunteers Accuse Shelter Of Animal Abuse

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — The Nassau County district attorney has launched a criminal probe into how the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter runs its operation.

However, after three volunteers claimed that they witnessed workers beating some animals and leaving others to die in their cages, Town Supervisor Kate Murray said the probe may have to be expanded to investigate these allegations.

“We will take the appropriate steps if necessary,” Murray said. “We’re going to be doing a top to bottom investigation, we take it very seriously.”

Diane Madden says she and two other volunteers are now banned from the shelter. Madden claims dogs and cats have been killed indiscriminately by town workers.

“There was a dog that an employee was very angered over,” Diane Madden told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera. “She bleached the puppy. The puppy died.”

“My intention is to not abandon these animals,” Madden said. “I can’t get inside the building but I really hope for their sake that help is on the way.”


Criminal Probe, Abuse Allegations Swirl Around Animal Shelter

By Greg Cergol, NEWS Channel 4 New York


The allegations of abuse reduced women to tears.

"If these animals could speak, they would beg for help," said one animal advocate who spoke before Hempstead's town board Tuesday.

At issue were conditions inside Hempstead's town-run animal shelter in Wantagh. A parade of animal lovers, advocates and rescue volunteers called life in the shelter "deplorable and despicable.""I've seen dogs abused. I've seen dogs kicked into kennels," said Joy Morezzi, a self-described animal lover who claimed to visit the shelter each week.

There were claims of dogs hung by leashes; emaciated, sick dogs laying in their own blood and feces; even allegations of euthanasia without cause.

"I knew of dogs killed for simply being afraid," said one-time volunteer Diane Madden.

Throughout the hours of testimony, audience members gasped and dabbed tears from their eyes.

The allegations came as supporters demanded that Hempstead's town board reinstate Madden and two other rescue volunteers who have been banned from the shelter, without explanation.

When asked why they were being kept out, Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray revealed that the shelter is under investigation by the Nassau District Attorney's office. 

Murray, however, refused to say whether the banned volunteers were the focus of the probe.  All she would confirm is that the investigation is administrative in nature and not the result of abuse allegations.

"Quite frankly, this is the first I've heard of these (abuse) allegations," Murray told reporters.  "I am in the shelter quite often and have never seen anything like that. But we take the allegations seriously and will investigate them."

The Nassau County DA's office confirmed the investigation but refused further comment.

"There's nothing we have done that would warrant investigation," said banned volunteer Frances Lucivero.

Speaker after speaker hailed the three volunteers for their efforts in adopting out dogs and cats from the shelter. 

When asked why they didn't come forward with the abuse allegations before this hearing, the volunteers and rescue workers said they feared retribution from shelter workers. 

"We just wanted to stay inside and keep helping the animals," said Madden.

"We take the allegations on face value," said Supervisor Murray, who refused to speculate on whether the allegations were motivated by the effort to reinstate the volunteers.

DA probes abuse claims at Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter
NEWS 12 Long Island

(11/09/10) HEMPSTEAD - Activists held a rally today at Hempstead Town Hall protesting a major shakeup at the town's animal shelter amid allegations of abuse and neglect.

Workers say the county has banned three volunteers from the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter in Wantagh, pending an ongoing investigation by the Nassau County district attorney. They also say two administrators have been transferred.

The volunteers acted as "liaisons," getting dogs and cats out of the town shelter and into no-kill shelters, according to workers.

Diane Madden, one of the banned volunteers, said there had been instances of abuse at the shelter, including a dog being bleached to death by a disgruntled kennel worker.

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray told News 12 Long Island the investigation involves how the shelter is being run on the administrative level.

The shelter's annual budget is more than $7 million and critics say the money isn't going toward animal care, but rather toward the workers' salaries.

"The staff is not there because they care for the animals," says Linda Klampfl, of the Almost Home Animal Rescue. "They are there for the salaries."