Smithtown Animal Shelter director Sue Hansen was arrested at her Rocky Point home Friday morning by police officers from Suffolk County’s Fourth Precinct and charged with criminal trespass third degree, a misdemeanor, a spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney’s office said.
Hansen, 61, was suspended from her job in early February and escorted out of the shelter by officers of the town’s Public Safety Department, who told her not to return until the end of her 30-day suspension, town officials have said.
“She allegedly entered the animal shelter to attend a volunteer orientation” on Feb. 18, district attorney’s spokesman Robert Clifford wrote in an email.
Hansen could not be reached Friday. Town Environment and Waterways Department chief Russell Barnett, who also heads the Smithtown Administrators Guild, the union representing Hansen and about 30 town department heads and supervisors, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Town officials have refused to comment on the reason for Hansen’s suspension, citing New York State laws about employee privacy, but the Town Board this week extended her suspension for up to a month, without pay, pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.
Hansen was hired to lead the shelter in 2015. She pushed to renovate or rebuild the facility, parts of which have been in use since 1963, and the town’s capital plan includes $2.4 million for that work. Under her leadership shelter hours were extended to allow prospective adoptive families more time to visit the dogs, cats and birds living there.
The charge of criminal trespass third degree is punishable with probation, or up to three months in jail and fines.