For Brookhaven Animal Shelter Supervisor Dori Scofield, the town budget process is far from the cat's meow.
Citing "budget constraints" that she said hinder her ability to do her job, Scofield plans to resign Friday, after two years on the job.
"The budget has kept me limited as to what I can do. If I had more staff, I could continue to save more lives," Scofield said.
She also announced the shelter will close on Wednesdays, effective this Wednesday, a move she predicted will slow pet adoptions, as the shelter had been open daily.
In a statement, acting town supervisor Kathleen Walsh praised Scofield's contributions: "Every Town department is struggling with proposed budget cuts . . . Dori has done an outstanding job . . . and I respect her decision to move on. She will be missed, but we have already started the process of finding a new director and hope to have one in place very soon."
Scofield, whose annual salary is $91,600, plans to focus on Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue and Adoption Center, which she has operated in Port Jefferson since 2000. "I'm moving on to build a bigger and better shelter where I can do my own thing . . . I want to help the animals in Brookhaven. These animals are my priorities."
The Brookhaven shelter, which cares for about 200 dogs and 100 cats, had 45 employees -- half of which were part-time, Scofield said. The shelter is down to about 40 employees but does not have town approval to fill the positions, she said.
The Brookhaven Town board has until Nov. 20 to approve a budget for 2013. The proposed $247 million budget is $13 million less than last year. Scofield said it costs $1.6 million annually to run the shelter, and her budget would be cut by $100,000. "The town is trying and has supported my efforts, but I don't know how it's going to go with the financial constraints," she said. "I gave the town 1,000 percent of me."
Scofield said focusing on her center will allow her to continue outreach programs such as providing dog houses in low-income areas, issuing neuter certificates, microchipping and dog grooming.
"The problem is, I feel I can best serve the Town of Brookhaven and the dogs if I return to the private sector," she said.