Hope for Hempstead Shelter encourages the public to accept Kate Murray’s invitation to visit the Animal Shelter and, “…take a look for yourself, see what you see..,” because what you will see is very different from what Supervisor Murray described during last week’s News 12 Long Island Town Supervisor Election Debate.

Kate Murray says, “…you may see one of our full-time veterinarians taking good care of our dogs and cats.” The truth is in cases like #2243, a young mother dog who sat neglected and hemorrhaging for eight days after delivering her pups. Neither the Shelter nor its veterinarian made any effort to help this savable dog. No effort on Petfinder, no photo or rescue outreach; her preventable death was finally disguised as “unadoptable,” the new, creative terminology used by the Shelter to kill animals quickly.

Murray also states the Shelter passed three surprise, independent inspections by the State Department of Agriculture and Markets. The reality is that the Department of Agriculture and Markets’ inspection only offers a satisfactory or unsatisfactory grade for appropriate record-keeping and whether or not food and water are available to the animals. These parameters do not a humane shelter make. The Department does not seek to identify or address any issues of animal health, behavior, overall well-being or employee qualifications. If an independent agency were to rate TOHAS on any of the aforementioned items, the Shelter would fail.

During the Debate, the candidates were asked if the Shelter’s issues were due to mismanagement by the Town. Murray denied mismanagement and attempted to deflect the truth by saying former, independent Shelter volunteers, Lucille DeFina and Diane Madden had a “grudge” against and were suing the Town.

“The Shelter is mistreating and killing our Community’s animals and robbing the taxpayer of more than $7 Million to do it,” said Diane Madden, a volunteer rescuer who was banned in October 2010 for exposing abuse, neglect and mismanagement at TOHAS. “Our lawsuit, filed two months after the rescue ban, addresses the Shelter and Town’s infringement on our First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech. The only ‘grudge’ is that TOHAS is killing adoptable animals and disguising it. The Public is the only voice for these helpless animals and that voice will not be silenced until TOHAS is completely overhauled into a No-Kill, humane animal care facility,” said Madden.

Gary Port is the Democratic candidate running for Hempstead Town Supervisor. During the debate, Port stated, “The problem with the Animal Shelter is that it is not about the animals. The problem with the Animal Shelter is that it is an employment agency for Republican functionaries.” Port also pointed out that when Murray took office in 2003, the Shelter budget was $3.5 Million and now it is more than $7 Million, more than six times the budget of any other Shelter of comparable size on Long Island, and in major cities across the country including Boston and Chicago .

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