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Huntington animal shelter tries to recover from Sandy

The roof of one of the main dog

The roof of one of the main dog kennels at Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center of Huntington suffered severe damage after a large tree fell on the building just hours into superstorm Sandy. The kennel was home to 12 dogs at the time that are now displaced around the shelter until their home is repaired. (Nov. 18, 2012) Credit: Amanda Douville

It was only a few hours into superstorm Sandy when volunteers at Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center in Huntington heard the crash. A large oak tree had snapped in the middle and fell directly on the roof of one of the dog kennels at the shelter. Within seconds, volunteers rushed the animals out of the kennel to safety.

The 12 dogs that were in the kennel at the time are now in different places around the shelter, such as offices, until the building gets repaired.

Another tree also came down afterward, landing directly on the patio area of the cattery, an enclosed space surrounded by screens where more than 400 cats get the chance for some fresh air.

Next to the cattery is an outdoor dog-play area, where the roof and surrounding structure was completely blown off. In the 6 acres that surround Little Shelter, 18 trees in all came down, compromising not only buildings but the memorial garden and many parts of the surrounding fence that allow the dogs to roam freely.

“Every day we find out the extent of the damage is worse and worse,” said Little Shelter executive director David Ceely, 43, of Lake Ronkonkoma. “Every day that goes by dogs are dying and we’re not able to help them since we need to fix the kennel first. We want to get back out there.”

Normally, Little Shelter requires $2 million dollars every year to run the facility. As of Sunday, Ceely said that the damages could cost as much as $500,000 but that number keeps rising. Like many animal shelters, Little Shelter relies entirely on donations in order to operate and is asking the community now more than ever to reach out.

One local dog store is doing just that. On Sunday, Just Dogs! Gourmet of East Northport hosted a doggy-day spa event. Joanne Mizvesky, of Joanne’s Pampered Paws: Dog Grooming and Boarding in Northport came to the store to provide massages, basic grooming and nail clipping for donations. At the end of the day, the event raised $73 to donate to Little Shelter in hopes of helping them get back on their feet.

“I’ve been in the neighborhood all my life, I even got a few animals from there [Little Shelter],” said Mizvesky, 50, of Huntington. “It’s all about giving back to the community, especially from one animal lover to another.”

Above: The roof of one of the main dog kennels at Little Shelter Animal Rescue and Adoption Center of Huntington suffered severe damage after a large tree fell on the building just hours into superstorm Sandy. The kennel was home to 12 dogs at the time that are now displaced around the shelter until their home is repaired. (Nov. 18, 2012)

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