Since 1973 Hi-Tor has served the community of Rockland County as an animal shelter. Since 2003 it has been the sole shelter for Rockland County's homeless animals. For several years now the fiscal calamity that our county coffers face has had severe effects on the animal shelter as funding has been slashed and the 5 towns are hard pressed to provide more funding now. This past summer the Shelter faced the possibility of closing until funds were raised by the public to keep it going a while longer.
The Shelter, located in Pomona on Fireman's Memorial Drive, is no longer a viable facility. The shelter has 30 kennels and on any given day 50-60 dogs. The Cattery is also overflowing with multiple cats sharing cages creating an overcrowded situation.
Hi-Tor is designated a low kill shelter. This means that they must accept all animals brought to them by any resident of Rockland County. Hi-Tor will only euthanize animals if they are unadoptable, too ill for adoption or too wild or vicious.
A no kill shelter will always have the ability to turn away an animal if they don't want to take it in. Sometimes they may have too many of a particular breed or type and not want any more on premises. This is how a no kill shelter operates. Hi-Tor chose the low kill route so as to take in all the animals needing care.
There are some animals at Hi-Tor that have been there for quite some time. Not that they are unadoptable, just that their forever family has not yet found them. Recently Hi-Tor took in a 12 year old dog with one eye and almost blind in the other. The owner had gone into a nursing home and was no longer able to care for their pet. Someone did adopt this dog and it will happily live its life out with love and care.
The current arm of Hi-Tor, known as Rebuild Hi-Tor, is headed by New City resident Don Franchino. With a huge number of concerned volunteers Franchino is developing an organization that will raise over $750,000 to build a completely new shelter on the site where the current shelter is.
Negotiations with the County are still underway as this is written but the hope is to get a lease for up to 10 acres on the current site. The old building will be replaced with a modern, state of the art, animal shelter with 100 kennels. The old building will be renovated by students from BOCES to be a backup in case of emergencies such as our recent one with Hurricane Sandy. Animals displaced by a disaster would be able to be accommodated in the old building while the new building would be the day-to-day operation.
Many efforts are underway to raise funds and it will all come from a grass roots effort involving hundreds of volunteers and the entire community of Rockland County.
Currently the rebuildhitor.org website is the main means for the organization to get information out. The website offers lots of information. How to help, different means of donations, upcoming fundraising events and all that pertains to Rebuild Hi-Tor.
Several events are coming up with Rebuild joining forces with local business. A recent 3 Miler raised $8100.00 and recent activities with Caeser's Grill in Garnerville and 16 Handles in New City also generated funding. In December The Turn in Suffern at 2 Campbell Road will donate 10% of all revenue on Dec. 1 to Rebuild and on Dec. 5 Cinco de Mayo in Valley Cottage will do likewise. The Dog House in Nanuet will donate 10% of sales generated between Dec.2-8. This fundraiser requires people to have a coupon, which will record their purchases.
We know that there are many, many charities out there and we have many needs for the people of our community. It is just that the Hi-Tor group wants people to know that our animals need help too.
Re-Build Hi-Tor volunteers have placed donation bins throughout the County in many of the businesses and shops that people frequent daily. These business locations are listed on the Rebuildhitor.org website to promote the businesses that are willing to give up counter space for these canisters. Volunteers collect the money and deposit a check for their amounts to the Rebuild Hi-Tor account
People can continue to receive information or make donation through the rebuildhitor.org and through the Rebuild Hi-Tor Facebook page. This grass roots effort plans to have a new shelter in place, large enough to handle the volume of homeless animals in Rockland, within 1 year. Rebuild Hi-Tor is counting on all the residents of Rockland County to take part in this massive endeavor.