Pets Alive Westchester To Close Doors



“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

For several months last year Pets Alive Westchester was closed due to structural deficiencies in the building. The short version is that the building is located on unstable fill on top of wetland, and the ground underneath the building is shifting. Since being allowed back into the building we have looked at every possibility to stabilize the facility, but have been unable to find an option that does not involve investing far more than the aging structure is worth. Additionally the facility is very large, too large for the community it serves, and that size comes with significant operational expense such as five-figure heating bills in the winter. In an environment of declining revenue the Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to close Pets Alive Westchester.

This decision was not made lightly and we know it has very serious consequences. We have spent over a year looking at all of the possibilities, debating, and seeking the input and counsel of experts and have come to the conclusion that this step is necessary for long-term organizational health.

This will not be a fast process; we have left time for an orderly transition. We anticipate taking 60-90 days to wind down the facility. We have an 80-acre sanctuary located in Middletown, NY that has space for the animals that we are not able to adopt out during this transition period. Beginning immediately, both of our facilities will begin “Free Love” Name Your Own Price Adoptions to encourage adoption (with, of course, our same extensive screening as always), and you’ll see some aggressive promotion of animals who have been at Westchester for a long time. We will slowly transfer the remaining animals to our Middletown facility as space opens up. I want to be clear that there will be absolutely no euthanasia due to this move whatsoever – our commitment to our No Kill principles remains steadfast, and as always our policy remains that there is to be no euthanasia for any reason other than the presence of suffering in the face of untreatable illness or injury. We are the same organization that evacuated this building on 24 hours notice last year and found safe harbor for hundreds of animals; we can absolutely do this. Every animal on the property will be provided for.

We recognize the value that this facility has to Westchester County and it is our hope that, post-reorganization, we may return to the area – though not to this building – to serve Westchester County once again.

In the next few days we will publish a dedicated website that will keep everyone informed on the status of the transition and contain a FAQ section to keep the community informed. We want to ensure that our supporters are involved as much as possible and we anticipate involving our dedicated volunteers in these animal transfers to ensure that they are as seamless as possible. Other than that, the most helpful thing to be done at this time is to encourage adoption and to continue to support us through your donations since these animals will still need to be cared for at our Middletown facility..

Thank you all for your support – and if you have questions, please feel free to email us at This will not be easy for any of us. It is incredibly personally painful for me to spearhead the closing of the facility where I was a onetime employee and remain a dedicated volunteer, and I know to even consider the thought is painful to many of you as well. We have every confidence that this will strengthen our operations for the long term and reinforce our commitment to sanctuary, harnessing the opportunity in this difficulty.

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75 Responses to Pets Alive Westchester To Close Doors

  1. linda palenik says:

    what will happen to all the Animals? I just got me little dog from there, I feel so bad pets s, alive do good thing my heart is sad!!!

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Thanks you for your concern. We will slowly start to transfer animals to our sanctuary in Middletown, NY. We are also running an adoption campaign over the next few months to adopt out as many as possible to qualified adopters. Any animals that are not adopted at the end of the transition period will be transferred to Middletown where they will be cared for and will continue to be available for adoption.

    • linda palenik says:

      hope you will be able to open some place. the animals need people like you all that cares

  2. Diane says:

    As a volunteer and supporter there, this makes me so sad. Living in Queens, Middletown is just too far to go to on a regular basis. I really hope PAW can return to Westchester (or the Bronx) someday.

  3. Jen faga says:

    Why not ask animal rescue fund of Hamptons to lend youths adoption van or to take pets!

  4. Allie Cashel says:

    What will be the status of the Forever Fostered animals? Will their medical care and such will be taken over by Middletown?

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Allie, Yes, Middletown will be responsible for the Forever Fostered animal care – and they will take in and continue to care for any animal that is not adopted out by the time we have to close our doors. Thank you for your inquiry and for your support.

  5. Truly heartbreaking to hear.

  6. Cher says:

    My heart is sick. Right now we are fostering Rusty on a weekend sleepover. To hlp him become more adoptable. I will, as always, spread the word about all the forest dogs and cats you have. I’m praying for us too.

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Cher, thank you for giving Rusty a sleepover opportunity and for spreading the word. That can certainly help Rusty and all the other animals get adopted.

  7. Judy says:

    I’m so sorry…you will be missed

  8. Cynthia Farrell says:

    So sorry to hear of this! Maybe another site location option in the near future? Hopewll jct and Lagrangeville have some very large vacant buldings that may be an option for you. There is always the former Fishkill Mall that remains an eye sore on Rt9 maybe renovating that into a sanctuary would be an option. I know many of us would contribute as much as we can afford to help you all reach that possible goal. Maybe a gofundme page?
    I also plan on doing a food for pets fundraiser at work and in my local area to help get food and toys for the animals that you and your staff take in. God bless you all for your dedication and selfless acts of saving so many lives of our furry friends! Please feel free to email me if I can do anything more to help

  9. Kathy Hackmyer says:

    We are so disheartened to hear this news. While we no longer live in Westchester we have followed PAW through FB & have supported you & your mission to the best of our ability. We send prayers for all of you & the animals. And would like to suggest you immediately set up a Go Fund Me (or other donation site) to begin raising funds for a new facility within Westchester – a safer, more reasonably sized and a building that won’t require such high cost for up-keep. Rest assured that all your friends & fans will aggressively support & promote such an undertaking!! Good luck & God bless to you all.

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Kathy, thank you for that suggestion as we explore options for the future – and for your continued support. That’s very important to us right now.

  10. Deborah Marie says:

    So sorry to hear this, you guys are the absolute best. Thank you for a job well done.

  11. Joanne says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I hope that in the near future you’re able to find someplace smaller with lower overhead that’s closer to where you are now. The lower Hudson Valley needs you.

  12. adele says:

    I have gotten three dogs form you over the years. Very sad. I hope you opeN another facility in Westchester. We need you.

  13. Theresa Garraffa says:

    So sorry to hear this news! Too sad! I make monthly contributions, do I need to change the mailing address for future donations?

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Theresa, if you send a check, you can continue to send a check for the next 60-90 days or change it to Pets Alive, 363 Derby Road, Middletown, NY 10940. If you donate online, we will retain our existing account. Thank you for your continued support.

  14. mary says:

    Doesn’t that famous musician Rob Thomas own Pets Alive?

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Mary, no, Rob Thomas does NOT currently own Pets Alive and never did. He used to be on the board but earlier this year, he left the board. He and his wife have a foundation, Sidewalk Angels, that has donated to Pets Alive but he does not own it. Pets Alive is a non-profit organization.

    • Andrew says:

      He was a board member as was his wife and her Mom.
      Unfortunately they are no longer with the Middletown Board.

  15. TERESA CARELLA says:


  16. Scott says:

    This is sad news..shame on Westchester county for not safely relocating your location…the county wastes money like crazy and not to assist the countless animals is very shameful…i doubt other counties would ever consider the closing of such a wonderful organization.youll be missed for sure.and thanks for years of dedicated work with the animals.

  17. Move here to Dutchess County, plenty of options well below Westchester costs I’m sure….!!!! I sent an e-mail last night regarding Forever Fostering Kane & so hopefully I can do my part!!

  18. Jackie says:

    This is so sad and terrible for the community. My family was honored to be a part of that 24 evacuate clean up day, pure community love! It is a horrible and tragic loss for Westchester animals, I shudder to think where they will end up now. Thank you for all you have done and I would love to help you unpack again here…. Hope they all get adopted and not transplanted again. Best wishes

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Jackie, thank you for your support and all the work you and your family did last year during the evacuation. We hope that through our latest adoption campaign (adoption fees waived but instead, just ask for a donation) that many can find loving homes. However, for those that are not able to be adopted by the time we actually close, they will be transferred to our sanctuary in Middletown, NY. Our Middletown sanctuary has been in existence for many years and was established by our founder, Sara Whalen. It is a loving sanctuary as well and the animals will be very safe there. You can read out that site at their website: Thank you again.

  19. Joy Becker says:

    Hi to All. I just want to thank John Sibley for pulling my beloved , now angel Suki, and my Mitzi from Manhattan ACC. Thank you to Erin for the lovely blog titled “Heaven Can Wait” about Mitzi’s story. The experiences that I have had with everyone affiliated with PAWS will be cherished forever. Thank you all! Sincerely, Joy Becker

  20. Vicki says:

    I have been a volunteer at PAW since February. How long can I continue to volunteer? I love the dogs at PAW and enjoy walking and playing with them.

  21. Shawna says:

    This is very sad. So many animals have found wonderful homes because of paw. I sincerely hope you will return to westchester

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Thank you Shawna. We will be exploring other options in the Westchester area; we understand the importance of our presence to this community and vice versa.

  22. Dianne says:

    This is heartbreaking news. So sad, I hope you will find another place to do your outstanding work for all the needy animals.

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Hi Dianne, thank you for your concerns. We will be exploring other options in the Westchester area so please do stay tuned for our future plans. And thank you for your support.

  23. Barbara santarelli says:

    It is sinful that with the amount of wealth and fact that Westchester is home to many celebrities, none of them have interest or concern for these animals and saving the building and home to these animals.
    I feel especially sad about Joey, the dog Church Street school used as the face of a fundraiser . I hate to think that Joey will have this additional sadness in his life. The kids ask about him daily… I know they will be heartbtoken. He was loved and cared for by staff and volunteers. What will happen to him now?

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Hello Barbara, thank you for your concerns. If Joey is not adopted, he and the other animals will be transferred to our sanctuary in Middletown. There are loving staff and volunteers at that location and I’m sure that Joey will be well taken care of until he finds his forever home.

  24. Msureen says:

    Do you have any king charles

  25. Pamela Young says:

    So very sorry to hear this sad news. I hope Pets Alive will be able to continue their vital work in this geographic area at some point. Please do keep your supporters informed and updated and let us know what we can do to help.

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Hello Pamela, thank you so much for your concern. We will certainly be keeping everyone up to date with our transition plans; shortly, we’ll be putting up a special website that will provide this information that will include how the public can help as well as what our plans are for the future. We will be exploring various options for the Westchester County area as we know how important this community is for us – and vice versa.

  26. Anastasia says:

    Do you have any orange kittens?

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Hi Anestasia, we have a very tiny bottle baby one (days old) that will not be available for adoption for another 8 weeks and an orange and white one that is about 8 week old. They are located in our Middletown location. You can see all our cats at that location here:

      As for our Westchester location, I will check for you and get back to you.

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Hi Anastasia, in addition to the orange kittens I mentioned are available at Pets Alive in Middletown, we do have a few in Elmsford, but it will be a few weeks before they’re big enough for adoption. I suggest you stop by and submit an application (or submit it online) so when one becomes available, your application will at least have been screened.

  27. Linda Kirshenbaum says:

    I became aware of your pending move to Middletown just this morning. It must be stressful for all of you, sweet animals included.
    My familiarity is with Austin Pets Alive in Texas.
    My two grand doggies are rescues from there, happy and thriving with love and caring.
    I wish you well, this is such a vital and important part of our large New York community.

  28. Wasn’t the building donated to the original Elmsford Animal Shelter? I don’t believe PAM or PAW holds the deed to the building. The point of the donation was to make sure that this area of Westchester operated a No-kill shelter or that the sale of the property/structure would allow a no-kill organization to secure a new location.. Legacy dogs should not have to leave the home that they have known. There is more to this story……

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Kristen, we (Pets Alive Westchester) do indeed hold the deed to the property. Secondly, we do have a very capable staff at Middletown, where the legacy dogs will be moved to if they are not adopted by the time we must close Pets Alive Westchester. We had some long-term, hard-to-adopt dogs at Middletown that recently have been adopted thanks to our continual work with them, implementing play groups, fostering the dogs, and other techniques to help their adoptability. Our goal has been at Pets Alive Westchester to get these dogs adopted, and this goal will continue once the dogs get to Middletown. I invite you to come for a visit to Middletown to see the work we do there. Lastly, the board will be assessing other options in the Westchester area as was stated in the announcement. Thank you for your concerns.

      • Kristen c says:

        Hi, I was just at the Middletown location in search to adopt a young dog. I was told of the adoption fees but not about the promotion going on. What is exactly considered a , “qualified adopter?”

        • Audrey Lodato says:

          Hi Kristen, We did just start the adoption special. A qualified adopter just means that the adopter will have to go through our normal adoption approval process, so that we are sure the animal is going to a safe home.

  29. nyclori says:

    What other locations have been considered in Westchester?

  30. Linnea Hoy says:

    So sad, such a beautiful building. Most “shelters” are antiquated. But, cost is always an issue. Good luck with your future endeavors.

  31. Marna says:

    It is heartbreaking, I hope that the core dogs finally get adopted and a new place in Westchester becomes available. Thank you for the wonderful job that you have done.

  32. Michelle says:

    Any possibility that we can see the engineer’s report stating that the building is not safe to be occupied?

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Michelle, we got a quote from a contractor to repair the building; it doesn’t say it’s not safe to be in the building (at the time they did the quote in December 2014). We would not have re-entered the building last year if people or animals were in imminent danger. The issue is that the building continues to degrade and it means continual repairs to ensure it remains safe, e.g., we had to spent $50K earlier this year shoring up the loading dock by putting in a beam as that part of the building was in very rough shape.

      • Deborah Paul says:

        I thought the cat house at the Middletown location was not secure. In fact I believe that Rob Thomas’ foundation gave money at the FurBall 2 years ago to rebuild it. If Middletown has not rebuilt it, I would imagine it costs money to repair it to a safe structure.

        • Mary Ann Bopp says:

          Deborah, thank you for your concern about the cat house. Over the past year, we’ve made repairs to the building to ensure it’s safety including adding fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, replacing beams in the basement, replacing the well pump which was broken, and most recently replacing the volunteer bathroom floor. These services were in some cases provided at a discount or in the case of the bathroom floor, were completed by volunteers.

  33. Kim Smith says:

    I’m really impressed with what your doing . I wish I could take some of these dogs at least one ; in 2009 I had a house full 3 girl’s each with a cat 2 rotties we had since birth , a pit terrier very trained ; not fond of men at all protecting all the women he lived with soon on February 15 2009 I had a truck wreck; leaving my life3 changed forever, I was very lost I didn’t have a life anymore I had to learn how to walk again; I wasn’t able to go to my youngest ball games . soon after that my rottie died of old age ; her sister had passed on a couple years earlier; pudgy; she laid by my side until it was all over. still brings tears, then I hadn’t gotten my daughters pit neutered lack of car and money ; I’m unable to work still; he got his self free from a runner and took off we started looking , the next day we found the man that sent him to he pound padro was man aggressive plus they had a wolf dog they didn’t want to get caught with, we went straight to the pound they had killed him they day he was brought him in men were handling him they didn’t try the two numbers on his collar the vets and mine ; my daughter was devastated she couldn’t even get his collar; they burn everything that’s what they told her she was 14 she had trained padro to do everything she would practice batting padro would chase down the balls and bring them back to her, they were a great match , my social worker had a pit with papers that someone in her family had moved off and left to die; she ask me if I wanted her well it was to early for sam so marley wound up being mostly mine we would take 2 mile walks a day she was 1 with a lot of energy she really needed sam; my doctor said she was good for me and the walking for my depression and had papers mad for m that made Marley my support dog it’s now 2014 I’m having to move into a gov. hud apartment I thought with the papers they had to let her stay with me ; they said no; the most loyal dog and very friendly she would take up with any one I offend wondered if we needed protection could or would she do it, she played with everyone even maintenance men and would never bark . anyway while I was waiting on this apartment she was tied to a lead chain on the porch sun bathing she loved that ; I was checking every 3 min my 1 yr old grandson was at the door also trying to get her ; they loved each other. I went out of the room for no more than 3/4 min;s when I returned she was gone someone had come and taken her we looked in all our hiding spots pee pee spots up and down the roads media pound with pictures . animal shelter, we didn’t find her any where. point being it’s been 10 months and i’m lonely by my self I would take any of the big dogs like scrappy or others that might be better with my gradson but I’m only allowed a small dog 30 pounds or less or a medium dog closer to 40lbs than 60 because of my back one who don’t shed is required plus my grandsons allergies. I have no idea what to look for would you help me with some advice and I’ll continue to look at your beautiful large dogs I’ve always had but not allowed to now . I don’t want any mean ankle bitters . I was told a poodle mix like a wheaten terrier poodle mix would be good but I think that’s still going to be to large. I like black dogs, they scare people off,

    thank you for reading
    these long life events
    truly Kim Smith

    • Mary Ann Bopp says:

      Hello Kim. Thank you for sharing the many events of your recent life. You certainly have been through a tremendous amount of things that have impacted your life in the last few years. But it sounds like the animals in your life have truly been your saviors. We still have many dogs available for adoption at both our Elmsford and Middletown locations. We’re open 10-4 each day and later on Friday/Saturday. You may have already seen our websites with our adoptable dogs but I’ll include them here anyway in case you have not. Here’s our Westchester dogs: and here are our Middletown dogs:
      I suggest you stop by for a visit so our adoption counselors can talk with you and help you determine which dog might be a nice fit for your situation. We’re having a “Free Love” adoption event where our adoption fees for all our animals at both locations are being waived, although we ask for a donation based on what you can afford. I hope we see you soon! Thank you for your interest and we wish you the best.

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