Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy will help the SPCA stay open by making it easier to find a new insurance policy.

Levy has agreed to indemnify, or financially protect, investigators with the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The nonprofit is about to lose its insurance.

Levy spokesman Dan Aug said Tuesday that the county will move ahead with indemnifying the 29 law enforcement officers from legal claims.

Levy and county legislators had previously balked at indemnifying the entire organization, because of concerns about excessive risk.

SPCA officials said that without insurance, the agency would have to close or cut operations.

SPCA chief and board president Roy Gross said he welcomed the county's move. Gross said it should make it easier to find insurance for administrative and other employees not involved in law-enforcement duties.

Gross said the SPCA, which investigates about 2,500 animal abuse cases a year, has received notice that its insurance will not be renewed when it expires on April 19.

Tuesday, Aug said indemnifying only the law enforcement workers would make it unlikely that other volunteer organizations would ask the county to to do the same for them.

But Legis. Ricardo Montano (D-Brentwood) said the indemnification arrangement would "put the taxpayer on the hook" for any future legal claims.

Neither the SPCA's insurer nor Gross would say why the policy is not being renewed. But county Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore) said an insurance broker had told him that a pending lawsuit is making it difficult for the SPCA to find another insurer.

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