FORMER HI TOR VOLUNTEER SEES ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

To the Editor,

I am skeptical of Rockland County’s Letter of Intent (LOI) with Hi Tor Animal Care Center (HTACC) for construction of a new shelter building. There are two issues, first, with the land that is being offered by the county, and second, the elephant in the room, HTACC’s current, past and likely future financial status.

The land that the county is offering does not likely allow for future expansion and due to being situated in wetlands, exposes animals to potentially dangerous insects. That’s not to mention the ongoing and detrimental effects of regular fireworks at Boulder Stadium.

The LOI puts all expenses and responsibilities on the shelter and board of directors, who barely meet their expenses now. Appeals are made constantly to the public for basic needs such as food, cat litter and blankets. Bonds will be needed to cover expenses, and given HTACC’s erratic financial history, who will carry the bond, and what will happen if they default? What will be the effect on the animals during construction? What difficulty will the staff endure during construction or the visiting public and volunteers?

HTACC’s financial status is far from robust, and this plan doesn’t address the stability needed to sustain a new shelter. When the shelter reverts to county ownership, no future grants from the private sector for expansion, renovation will be available. So, moving forward, how will HTACC pay their recurring operational expenses as well as satisfy the bond?

This land offer is a band aid that will require frequent patching and result in the continued financial instability of HTACC.

Sincerely,

Former Hi Tor fundraiser and volunteer

Amy Wertheim
Pearl River