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Town of Hempstead OKs animal shelter consultant, despite objections

This American Staffordshire terrier was waiting to be

This American Staffordshire terrier was waiting to be adopted from the Town of Hempstead Animal shelter in Wantagh on Jan. 26, 2011. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The Hempstead Town Board has approved a $90,000 contract for an animal enrichment consultant for the town’s animal shelter — but animal advocates objected to the price tag.

The board unanimously voted at its Tuesday night meeting to hire Laura Garber of Hoboken, N.J.-based Woofgang Llc as the animal enrichment consultant with a one-year contract not to exceed $90,000. The agreement begins March 4.

Garber, who will be paid $54 an hour, will conduct dog evaluations, animal behavior modification, staff training and coordination with cooperating rescue groups. She will visit the animal shelter no more than 32 hours a week, town officials said.

“That’s $30,000 less a year for the animals,” said animal rescuer and town critic Diane Madden, adding an animal behaviorist normally gets paid $50,000 to $60,000 a year. “This is the waste of taxpayers’ money we’ve been talking about.”

In response, Supervisor Kate Murray said contractors don’t receive pension or health benefits, so the compensation is fair.


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