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Hempstead Town animal rescuer Diane Madden will join forces with former Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, a Democrat who is challenging Republican County Executive Edward Mangano this fall, at the Eisenhower Park Dog Run Saturday 12 p.m. in a “Campaign for Animal Welfare.”
Madden, a registered Conservative running on the Democratic line for Hempstead Town Board, is one of three volunteers who say they were banned from the Republican-controlled town’s animal shelter in 2010 for alleging abuse and mistreatment at the Wantagh facility.
Shortly after they were banned, a two-decades old video surfaced on the Internet in which an unidentified Hempstead shelter employee can be heard saying, “Kill the kitty! Kill the kitty!” after a kitten is pulled from a cage.
The volunteers’ ouster prompted a flurry of demonstrations outside the shelter, which has since undergone a management shake-up. In January, the three accepted $150,000 to settle their lawsuit alleging the town had violated their First Amendment rights and defamed them. Town officials say they did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement.
The notice for the Saturday event urges animal lovers to “stop by to support the campaign for the humane treatment of our voiceless animals.”
Hempstead Town Democratic Chairman William Biamonte, who also is Nassau’s Democratic Elections Commissioner, said he didn’t see any problem in holding a political event at a county park since other candidates have appeared there.
He noted that the campaign for Adam Haber, a Roslyn businessman running a primary against Suozzi for the Democratic nomination, emailed invitations to "Picnic with Adam" in Eisenhower Park on Aug. 10.
" I would hope they have become a little more understanding and compassionate toward animals and animal lovers," Biamonte said. "Hopefully, their "Kill the kitty" days are behind them."
County Attorney John Ciampoli said he is researching the issue. "My position is as long as the rules allow it and as long as everybody follows the rules, I'll be fine with it....We're checking exactly what can be done and what can't be done."
Ciampoli added, "We’re doing a raffle here in the office and the loser gets to go dressed as a fireplug."