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Huntington Town cat shelter operator has nonprofit status reinstated

The League for Animal Protection has been operating

The League for Animal Protection has been operating Huntington Town's Grateful Paw Cat Shelter in East Northport, seen on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

The League for Animal Protection of Huntington Inc., the operator of a cat shelter on town property, has had its nonprofit status reinstated, the group’s president said.

In May, town officials said it would not renew the League’s longtime contract because of the group’s failure to file Internal Revenue Service paperwork, which led to the suspension of its nonprofit status.

The IRS revoked the League’s nonprofit designation in 2015 for failure to file the required forms that not-for-profits submit instead of tax returns.

For the tax years beginning in 2011, the League also failed to file the federal Form 990 or a required form with the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau, town officials said in May.

League officials never informed town officials about the revocation, officials had said.

“The nonprofit status was reinstated retroactively, so in essence there was no lapse in coverage,” said the group’s president and treasurer Deborah Larkin, adding that she was notified of the change when the IRS contacted her in July.

The League has been the operator of the town’s Grateful Paw Cat Shelter in East Northport since 1982.

Town Supervisor Frank P. Petrone said that while it was “good news” the League’s status has been reinstated, he still plans to proceed with a request for proposals (RFP) to find a shelter operator for when the League’s agreement with the town ends Nov. 30.

“We went out for an RFP, we had submissions and then we pulled it back,” Petrone said. “We have an obligation to go forward again with that. If LAP comes in, nobody is objecting to them, if they are going to offer services equivalent to what the other RFPs are offering, no one is objecting to them.”

Petrone said an RFP offers the opportunity to have a new, longer contract and not just an extension of the previous contract.

The League’s contract ended Dec. 31, 2016, but the group continued operating the shelter without a contract while town officials worked on an extension agreement.

In March it came to the attention of town officials that the League had had its nonprofit status revoked.

In April, town officials told the League they would not be extending its agreement, gave the group 90 days to vacate the premises and then put out an RFP. After some public outcry, the board decided in June to give the League until Nov. 30 to sort out its issues with the IRS.

Town officials said they expect to reissue an RFP in the fall.

“We’ve never had to respond to an RFP,” Larkin said. “But we will do whatever we have to do.”

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