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Nassau judge blocks county comptroller’s bid to audit animal shelter

An undated Google view of the Hempstead Town

An undated Google view of the Hempstead Town animal shelter on Beltagh Ave. in Wantagh. Credit: Google

A Nassau County State Supreme Court judge has issued an injunction to block the Nassau County comptroller from investigating the Hempstead Town animal shelter.

Judge Roy Mahon issued the temporary restraining order Wednesday against Comptroller George Maragos taking any action toward the animal shelter after the town objected that he was not authorized to investigate how the shelter operates.

Mahon did not give any explanation in his order, but set a March 13 court date for arguments to allow or block Maragos’ audit of shelter operations.

Maragos, who is running in the Democratic primary for Nassau County Executive, said he was launching an investigation after complaints by shelter workers and animal welfare advocates that animals were being mistreated and not given adequate care.

The town filed for the injunction after arguing Maragos did not have the authority to investigate the day to day practices of the shelter, only the financial operations in his role as county comptroller.

Town officials declined to comment, citing pending litigation. Supervisor Anthony Santino previously defended the town shelter’s inspections by the state and said the shelter had one of the lowest euthanasia rates on Long Island.

Maragos has said he wanted to do a three-month audit and is authorized as comptroller to complete performance reviews of the shelter.

He said in a statement Friday that temporary restraining orders are routinely granted pending a hearing.

“The Town has again used court proceedings to delay an audit of its animal shelter by requesting a Temporary Restraining Order,” Maragos said. “We are confident that the Comptroller’s authority to audit will be ultimately upheld.”

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