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Report recommends extensive renovations for Smithtown's animal shelter

Two dogs ready for adoption spend the afternoon

Two dogs ready for adoption spend the afternoon in the dog kennel at the Town of Smithtown Animal Shelter in Smithtown on May 21, 2015. Credit: Heather Walsh

The Smithtown Animal Shelter is suitable for an on-site renovation with an approximate construction cost of $2.3 million to $2.4 million, according to a needs assessment received by town board members last week.

The report by Design Learned Inc., an animal care facility engineering company based in Norwich, Connecticut, found that flooring, finishes, caging, building and noise control systems are dated and should be replaced. The firm recommended that the town develop a master plan to reconsider the shelter layout before investing in a renovation.

Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said in an interview Tuesday that he supported an overhaul. "Remember, I was the one who proposed a new shelter," he said. "I'm very supportive of the whole rehabilitation, and we've already bonded the money in the capital budget."

Among some recommendations in the 28-page reportobtained by Newsday: creating meeting space for potential adoptions, installing ceiling and wall materials to resist moisture and sound, increasing lighting and replacing dog runs, cages and the fire alarm system with an early detection feature.

The original 1,165-square-foot portion of the shelter was built circa 1963. The report showed that a 5,720-square-foot addition was constructed in 1974. In 2006, a 452-square-foot cat room was added.

Councilwoman Lynne C. Nowick, the shelter liaison, said she was interested in many suggestions, such as putting cats and dogs on separate HVAC systems with dehumidification and ionization to combat odor and disease. The shelter houses about 15 dogs and 80 cats, Nowick has said.

"We need to make sure that our animal shelter fits the needs of all of our animals and it needs to be user-friendly," Nowick said. "What we're trying to accomplish in the shelter is 100 percent adoption. . . . But how can we accomplish that if we don't have a shelter that allows potential adoptees to have the appropriate area to interact with their future pets?"

The report also cited a lack of storage and isolation area for cats, inadequate draining systems in the dog areas and odors in nearly every location, based on field visits by the consultant on April 6 and May 13.

A storm-water collection system on the east side of the building was found to mix storm water and animal waste in the same system, in violation of state building codes, the report showed.

When asked about the finding, Nowick said, "My intention is to talk to the appropriate person and find out what we can do about it."


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