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Huntington shelter dogs will be moving to new $7M doghouse

Buckley, a soon-to-be adoptable dog, tours the site

Buckley, a soon-to-be adoptable dog, tours the site of Huntington's long proposed and newly approved dog shelter with Michael Costa, Animal Control supervisor, on Friday. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Huntington’s dogs will be moving from one doghouse to another.

The Huntington board voted to bond $6 million to help pay for a long-proposed dog shelter in Halesite on Creek Road. The estimated maximum cost of the shelter is $7 million.

"This cost-efficient state-of-the-art animal shelter facility will complement our shelter staff's great record of behavioral rehabilitation, training, and adoption of our furry friends," Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said.

Last year, the town was awarded a $500,000 New York State Companion Animal Capital Fund Grant program through the state’s Department of Agriculture and Markets for the shelter after a previous application had been denied, Lupinacci said.

By entering into a formal intermunicipal agreement with the town’s four villages, Asharoken, Huntington Bay, Lloyd Harbor and Northport, helped the subsequent winning application, Lupinacci said.

In addition to the state funds, $500,000 from bonds issued in 2014 will fund the shelter.

The current shelter, on Deposit Road, is essentially "sinking," Lupinacci said. The town cat shelter, in a separate building on the property, will remain.

Town Board member Gene Cook was the only vote against the measure, which was approved 4-1. Although he is self-described dog person, Cook said, given the current economic times and the COVID-19 pandemic, the money would be better spent upgrading the current facility.

"It’s over the top and not what we need right now in our government," Cook said. "Our dogs are taken care of very well and we have a phenomenal staff that does that."

Plans for the state of the art, ADA-accessible facility includes 50 double-stall kennels with slide gates to house up to 100 dogs. The stalls will house 72 in the adoption area and 28 in the isolation area for dogs with rehabilitation needs. The facility also will have a multipurpose training room, outdoor dog run, specialized HVAC system with multiple-stage filtration to provide for isolation of various areas, a medical room, canine bathing area, specially designed lighting enabling higher illumination for cleaning of kennels, and energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems.

Jerry Mosca, director of the animal shelter, said he and his staff had hoped for a new shelter for a long time that could also be of benefit to the community beyond animal surrender and adoption.

"We wanted this to be a community center type of facility where we can offer training, maybe have the DEC [Department of Environmental Conservation] come in and talk about raccoons or other things like the deer problems," he said. "A place that could be a gathering space for residents as well as a dog shelter."

Lupinacci said the bond would be sought in the fall.

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