December 18, 2015. The Pets Alive Westchester board just announced their intent to give their former animal sanctuary property located 100 Warehouse Road South in Elmsford, NY back to the Town of Greenburgh for the purpose of the town working with another rescue to help them continue operation as an animal shelter.
On September 15, 2015, Pets Alive Westchester closed their facility in Elmsford, NY due to major structural issues with the building caused by settlement, declining revenue and increasing costs. All animals that remained at the time of closure – over 60 cats and dogs – were transferred to the Pets Alive, Inc. no kill animal sanctuary in Middletown, NY. Prior to the closure of the facility, the board and the Town of Greenburgh administration discussed having Pets Alive Westchester turn the property over to the town. This would enable the town to gift it to another animal rescue, given a deed restriction only allowed use of the property for either municipal purposes or as an animal shelter. However, in August, 2015, the Town told the Pets Alive Westchester board they did not want to pursue that option. Subsequent to this decision, the Board posted an “RFP” or Request for Proposal to invite animal rescues to acquire the property. This process would ensure a qualified rescue with financial means would be able to repair the building and run it as a no kill animal rescue. An initial estimate from engineers in December 2014 reported a price tag of $1.1M to repair the building in Elmsford.
On or about October 10, 2015, several animal rescue organizations submitted a proposal. Since that time, the Pets Alive Westchester board was working closely with one very established animal shelter that met the criteria in the RFP. The shelter expressed extreme interest in the property and had successfully managed another no kill shelter for many years. They spent about six weeks reviewing extensive engineer reports and evaluating what would be required to make the building safe and habitable moving forward. On December 9, 2015, the interested organization’s board notified Pets Alive Westchester board that due to the conditions of the building and construction required to meet acceptable standards, they decided they were not in a position to take on this task. This resulted in withdrawal of their proposal.
“Given this decision, we have notified the Town of Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner, Town Attorney Timothy Lewis, and Town Board of Directors that we want to turn the property over to the Town,” said Dr. Joseph D’Abbraccio, Acting President and Chairman of the Board. “The Town knows its constituency and could more easily work with another animal rescue organization to get the appropriate building permits and meet the other needs to restart operations as an animal shelter.”
In recent weeks, local community members have communicated with both the Town of Greenburgh administration and Pets Alive Westchester board members expressing an interest in having the property revert back to the Town so that the Town can work with another animal rescue organization to reopen the shelter. On November 20, Town of Greenburgh Building Inspector John Lucido told the public on a WVOX RADIO 1460 AM radio talk show hosted by Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, that while parts of the building need major repair, which will be costly, another animal rescue organization could use part of the building under the guidance of a professional engineer. This would include use of the dog kennels. Lucido mentioned that even though the kennels could be occupied, the front part of the building by the loading dock had bad structural damage. Therefore, the entire front portion of the building – the lobby, the rooms where the cats were housed, and the upstairs quarters – per the engineer on record, should be walled-off and all utilities would need to be relocated to a safe part of the facility and away from the loading dock area. If another shelter were to reoccupy the part of the building deemed safe, it would require a building permit to install a trailer or other temporary structure to use as temporary office space for animal adoptions while fundraising could take place to repair the building.
A legal agreement would need to be drafted, at which point, Pets Alive Westchester would file an petition with the New York State Attorney General’s office to get approval to dispose of property. Upon approval, a deed transfer to the Town of Greenburgh could take place.
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The Board of Directors of Pets Alive Westchester