Surrounded by supporters and community leaders, The Humane Society of Westchester today broke ground on a new, modern shelter and launched a capital campaign to fund the improvements.
The shelter at 70 Portman Road in New Rochelle is poised to undergo a $4 million renovation which will include a host of improvements aimed at creating a warmer and more practical space and increasing the number of pet adoptions.
Over its 108-year history, the Humane Society has grown beyond New Rochelle to provide animal adoption and rescue services for 20 communities throughout Westchester County. The Humane Society’s Pet Adoption Center is well known as a happy and friendly place to adopt and provides a learning experience for students from all over Westchester who visit and volunteer.
John Feldtmose, President of the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of Westchester, said the new shelter is part of a long-range plan to increase the numbers of adoptions, offer additional services to municipalities and better care for animals.
“Our staff, volunteers and our animals deserve a modern-day shelter with bright and functional spaces that welcomes the public,” said Feldtmose. “This new shelter will allow the Humane Society of Westchester to better serve our communities and the animals we all so dearly love. I want to thank the many generous donors who have made today possible and urge those who would like to contribute to visit our website at the Humane Society of Westchester.org to learn more about our capital campaign.”
In 2015, the organization changed its name from the New Rochelle Humane Society to the Westchester Humane Society to better reflect the large number of communities it serves. The next step was to launch a capital campaign to raise funds to modernize the shelter. Thus far, the Humane Society has raised about $3 million of the $4 million needed to complete the work which will include:
- A new, larger entryway and lobby with vaulted ceiling to bring in natural light;
- Additional “get acquainted” rooms where pets can meet potential adoptive families;
- Conference rooms to expand education and training programs for shelter animals, staff, alumni and volunteers;
- A park-like outdoor entryway with a fountain and seating;
- An indoor/outdoor dog run off the main lobby to showcase adoptable dogs.
- An open cat room in the center of the lobby, where adoptable cats roam freely and climb vertically. Glass top walls with high windows will allow natural light and allow fresh air and cross ventilation.
- A reconfigured work space and expanded veterinary area with an in-house x-ray, allowing for faster treatment and cost savings;
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said that the shelter provided a vital resource to many communities throughout Westchester. Bramson attended the groundbreaking along with other elected officials including Westchester County Executive George Latimer, State Senator Shelley B. Mayer, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Assemblyman Steve Otis and Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont.
“We are fortunate to have the Humane Society of Westchester here in New Rochelle,’’ said Bramson. “The work they do caring for abandoned, lost and injured animals throughout Westchester, is invaluable. This new shelter will allow them to expand the already great work they are doing and provide a more pleasant and efficient space for the animals, staff and volunteers. I congratulate them and hope you will all support their efforts.”
Latimer said: “The Humane Society does great work and we are proud to have them here in Westchester County. They provide both a shelter but, more importantly, a living environment that is safe and allows these animals to be cared for before they can find a forever home. We welcome their efforts in our backyard.”
Mayer said: said, “Congratulations to the Humane Society of Westchester (HSW), Shelter Manager Dana Rocco, its Board of Directors and staff on the groundbreaking ceremony for renovations and expansion. The $4 million project will allow HSW to expand education and training programs, facilitate pet adoptions, and enhance the pet areas and staff work-space. I am proud that during the past legislative session we adopted several bills to strengthen HSW’s mission to protect the safety and health of pets. This year, we banned the declawing of cats, enhanced fire and health protections in pet stores, and increased penalties for animal cruelty and abuse, among other protections. I look forward to working with HSW on its expansion project and to assist with getting pets into homes where they bring so many of us joy and companionship.”
The Humane Society of Westchester at New Rochelle is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing individual loving care for lost, abandoned, injured, and mistreated animals. The shelter provides safe haven for more than 500 dogs and 750 cats a year and serves Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Eastchester, Elmsford, Greenburgh, Harrison, Hartsdale, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington, Larchmont, Town of Mamaroneck, Mamaroneck Village, New Rochelle, Pelham, Pelham Manor, Port Chester, Rye, Rye Brook, Scarsdale and Tarrytown.
For additional information, on the capital campaign visit humanesocietyofwestchester.org/campaign or contact Lee Anne Veley at (914) 632-2925.