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Rottweiler Bruno is last dog left at emergency Sandy shelter
Arrangements are complete for the last of the pets housed at Nassau County's emergency pet shelter, a former Garden City Navy hangar that accommodated owners unable to return home with their pets after superstorm Sandy.
"Every animal is spoken for," Pet Safe Coalition vice president Beverly Poppell, who helped manage the site run by Nassau's Office of Emergency Management, said this week.
Volunteers scrambled in recent weeks to unite animals with owners -- or to set up adoptions. Shelter officials said interest had waned recently, given the profile of the remaining pets: mostly older, feline, with special needs. But many owners simply could not be reached.
Pet owners had until Monday to decide whether they wanted to claim their animals. Failing a response, the county's Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals would assume ownership and arrange for permanent adoptions. SPCA spokesman Gary Rogers said letters were sent to six unresponsive pet owners saying the SPCA now owns their animals.
A dozen cats and dogs were unaccounted for as the deadline neared, but more than 100 callers responding to a Newsday story Monday offered to adopt. About five will take home animals. And, Poppell said, "We have backups."
Workers are trying to find a permanent home for a Rottweiler who needs an "experienced dog handler," Rogers said. A rescue center will take the dog for at least one week, he said.
Some volunteers -- many have clocked 14-hour days for months, a few reside there -- adopted animals for themselves. Rogers said the shelter will close on Saturday.
"It's nice to know there's going to be a specific end date," Poppell said. "So we can plan the rest of our lives."