On Saturday, September 28, Calverton-based Kent Animal Shelter is toasting to its 50th anniversary during a “No Place Like Home” soiree at Stonewall’s Restaurant in Riverhead.
We caught up with Executive Director Pamela A. Green to learn more about the celebration:
How long have you been with the Shelter?
PG: Since 1985.
Could you speak a bit about the role that the Shelter has had within the community?
PG: The Shelter has played a vital role in the community because for many years, we were really the only private shelter out in this neck of the woods. Now, of course, there’s North Fork Animal Welfare League. But, we’ve done so much work in this community with helping homeless animals, because the only other shelter really was Riverhead Animal Shelter, and they didn’t have very much capacity at all.
Since I’ve been here in 1985, we’ve done so much with not only taking in homeless animals and getting them adopted, but also spay/neuter. We have done over 3,500 animals a year, spay/neuter, so that’s been really important to help control that situation.
What impact has Kent had over the past 50 years in regards to how many animals that it has saved?
PG: In general, I’m going to say that between 600 and 700 go through these doors every year. We’ve grown so much over the years, we used to be very local, and we still are, as far as serving East End communities, but we pretty much serve all of Long Island. And we also work a lot to help out with animals in crisis situations all across the U.S. from high kill shelters and most recently, with Hurricane Dorian, receiving some of those dogs from the Bahamas. We try to help wherever we can. It doesn’t necessarily have to be local.
And why was it important for the Shelter to have that national reach, or even international reach, when a natural disaster or dire situation strikes?
PG: Because in those situations, it takes a village. You need so many players, for instance, the Bahamas dogs, there are at least six or seven entities that played a part in getting those dogs up here. Of course, there’s other rescues and organizations that are also pitching in, in different areas. But for the ones that were brought up here, and came into Westhampton airport, it takes a lot of players. There’s a lot of links along the way, not just one organization can do everything. So we coordinated with Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons to receive some of the dogs, and they coordinated with getting the animals up from Florida. Then there was a pilot, who does this type of flying in animals, in and out of crisis situations, that flew a cargo plane up here. There’s a lot of different entities that are important. In those situations, you’re talking about thousands of animals. It’s important for everybody to really chip in when they can, and they do, it’s not just one organization.
How many animals currently await their forever home at Kent?
PG: There’s 75 to 100 animals here at any one time. We don’t have a huge capacity, especially in the kennel. The maximum is probably 25. That’s why the current plan is to rebuild on the same footprint here, creating more efficient buildings, at least for the kennel, a building with more capacity to take more animals.
You’re going to unveil the newest site plans and schematics at the party, but would you be able to share a sneak peek?
PG: We’ve been working with an architectural firm that has designed over 500 animal shelters in the U.S. They came up with some beautiful design schematics to really accommodate our vision of what we felt we wanted to accomplish with the amount of space that we have. The plan then is the schematics are quite impressive, and, the next step is to get approvals from the various agencies, which have been our roadblocks over the years. We’ve always tried to look for property elsewhere, because this is a problematic location, because of Pine Barrens and whatnot, but it seems in the past, with our communications with them that they’ve been amenable to reconstructing on the same footprint. So, there are ways that can be designed to accommodate that, which is what’s been done in the new design.
Tell us about Kent’s “No Place Like Home” 50th anniversary party?
PG: The theme came about because it’s kind of twofold, because for a homeless animal, there is no place like home. But for us, this has been the home of the shelter. With the plans that we have in mind, it’s kind of fitting to say, ‘Well, here we are, this is what we want to build on our own home property.’ That’s where that whole theme came from.
What will the evening feature?
PG: It’s at Stonewall’s, which is an excellent restaurant. There is a dinner, a buffet dinner, and we have live music from a band called Desperado. We have a huge auction, Chinese auction. Then, we have a small art show. If people are interested, they can even purchase small prints of original art. We have another company coming in that is doing a silent auction. They have some interesting things, designer items, that we’re hoping people will be interested in.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
PG: We’re just hoping people come out – friends, supporters, really anyone that wants to help out with homeless animals. Just come on out and by coming there, they’ll have a wonderful evening, and part of their donation will go to help the animals.
Tickets to Kent’s “No Place Like Home” Party are $75. The festivities will take place from 6 to 10 p.m.
Stonewall’s Restaurant at Cherry Creek Woods Golf Course is located at 967 Reeves Avenue in Riverhead. For more information, visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.